Tim Chadwick is a Dublin-based singer and songwriter. Here, he speaks with masc about his craft and the feelings behind them. Tim's new song, Weakness is out tomorrow.
Hello, Tim! How are you doing today? Hi, Stephen! I’m great, thanks. I’m about to head into a songwriting session and what better way to start the day than meeting someone new and having a good auld chat – it’s looking to be a good Saturday.
What are you working on at the moment? After my last release in 2017, I decided that I wanted time out to write, learn and figure out what my sound was. Music can take a lot of time to get out there in the world. So, when it came to those four songs being released, I was different person as to when they were written – which is actually lovely because they are like a little stamp in time for me. You always leave your best work behind you so as of now I am in the studio recording a year's worth of experimenting.
What themes do you address in your music? What experiences are your songs rooted in? I write from an autobiographical stand point, so I write about my friendships, love, hard times, good times and everything in between those. I take a lot of time in between feeling something and writing about it. I tend to live with the experience for a while and then let it all fall out. Take Never Wanted You, for example. I wrote that months after my very first experience with “heartbreak” [so dramatic]. I felt the so-called heartbreak then mulled it over and was like, “wait a minute… that wasn’t love, that was me looking to be loved”. Those are two very different things. Anxiety is also a somewhat long-term friend of mine now and making music has always been my escape from it. When you put those two together, you’re going to come out with something inherently personal.
Tell me about the video for Never Wanted You. It makes a powerful case for inclusivity. If I do say so myself, I’m in love with that video. It was shot by the amazing guys at Bold Puppy and Erik Cavanaugh is the flawless dancer. Look him up [no, do] – his attitude, talent and spirit is unlike anyone else I’ve met. He flew all the way from The States to be in the video and I am forever grateful. This video could have easily been an “unrequited love story” and I’m so glad it wasn’t. Everyone is free to take away what they want from the video, but what it shows me is that, sometimes we can lose sight of why we do what we do and who we are because we are constantly looking for the acceptance of others. Love is something that should never be chased. Ever. Erik and myself also talked about how sad it is that people are brought up to believe that they can’t achieve what they want because of how they look, how they dress, etc. Erik jumped and kicked higher than any one else I have ever seen. His drive was next to none. Nothing held him back. To me, that is what is inspiring. This is what people’s focus should be on. Every day.
In a similar way, the video for Dreamer seems to focus on the search for one’s authentic self. How much of that is born from your own experience? I wrote Dreamer after a conversation with my parents about wanting to follow music full-time. There was a time where they didn’t understand just how much I needed this but [they] are beyond supportive and are fully on board now. The video represents rebellion in the most innocent, purest and simplest forms. The same way writing the song did. I still laugh about the conversation I had with the folks. They gave me one year after college to “make it” and told me to go off and write a song about it. So I did. Who knows if I’ll “make it”? As a matter of fact, that’s not even the goal. I am doing what I feel I need to do to be happy.
In what way does your identity as a gay man shape what you do and how you do it? Identifying as a gay man, like many others I’m certain, has been a journey. I remember thinking, sadly not too far in the past, that being gay would mean that I wouldn’t be able to be successful. It kind of even breaks my heart just thinking that again. As I begin to learn more about the world, I realise that whoever you identify as should never define you. If anything, being gay has made me more driven to succeed. Not so that I can feel like “I showed them” but because I want men to be able to empathise and be compassionate with other men. Something I feel our day to day lives needs more of.
I want men to also say, "yes, I’ve been in love or hurt before" and not say sorry for it. I want men to be unafraid to be vulnerable and sensitive around other men. That’s what I needed to hear in music when I was younger, so that’s what I’m trying to do. I remember sitting at my piano a few years ago and I thought to myself, “you just wrote a song about a boy, check you out!”. I was both proud and terrified. It was a while until I told anyone the story behind my songs, but I knew and that’s what mattered. They were my first shaky steps into accepting who I was.