“Easy” is the latest single from indie pop singer/songwriter Chelsea Lankes. The song was released Friday and was included on Spotify’s New Music Friday playlist, where we discovered it and immediately included it to our weekly #TGINMF playlist.
Easy is a new sound for Lankes, best known for her 2016 self-titled EP which includes high-tempo pop songs “Secret” and “Bullet”, both of which have over 4.5 million streams on Spotify. Easy is a slower song relatively speaking, full of syncopation and bordering on tropical. I’d describe the song as “boppy”, and unquestionably happy. The song’s lyrics are simple, but not in a way that shows a lack of thought about the wording. Rather, the message is simple and clear: the song about her newest love (and now-husband Julian) was written using language that was meant to be as easy as the love itself. The song is genuinely happy, and easy to listen to at any time.
“Easy when you hold me
Easy how you know me
I don’t know what you did, but you did
And you make it feel easy”
We were lucky enough to catch Chelsea for a few quick minutes on Friday to talk about the single and what’s been keeping her busy lately.
This interview has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.
Where did your inspiration for “Easy” come from?
CL: I have a team of people that I’ve worked with for years on most of my releases. I was on a trip in LA and we sat down to write after not having seen each other for almost a year. I just got into the relationship which I’m in now – I’m now married, that happened about three months ago.
There’s always some conflict in songwriting in my opinion. It’s really easy to write songs that are about heartbreak, or that have some element of tension. It’s rare that I listen to a song now that is a totally happy-go-lucky, true pop song. There’s maybe indie/alternative, like Portugal. The Man – that song makes you feel so happy. I honestly don’t know what they’re saying in the lyrics, but it’s such a happy song, but not cheesy.
With pop music, you think back to Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody”, and I think there’s a lot of classic pop that nails it. But recently there’s just a lot of sad, emotional artists, and it’s just easier to rely on this well of struggles or whatever you’re feeling that day, instead of trying to come from a really positive place that still feels genuine.
I just wasn’t feeling that way at all, I was on cloud nine, I had just fallen in love. I [wrote the song] at the very beginning phases of mine and Julian’s relationship. So just in essence it’s about that, and I feel like it really captured that feeling in a pretty simple and succinct way. At least that was the goal. It came from a really genuine and sincere place, and it still feels really authentic to me. I don’t really write songs like that often, so it was a really good exercise to write a happy song that’s not cheesy. This song is truly a happy, joyful song. Maybe there’s more of that in me somewhere.
Have you been busy today with the new release?
CL: I’ve been on my phone all day, keeping an eye on responses and writing people back. I was pleasantly surprised that I made it on to New Music Friday, so that was pretty exciting. I submitted the song for playlists, but you just never know. I released a song back in November that got some love organically having been on peoples’ Release Radars, but it’s so competitive now, and a ton of really good music was released today. At midnight when everybody’s releases hit, I thought “there’s no way im getting on there because there’s just too much good music”. I was just really excited.
Chelsea mentioned that this wasn’t the first time she’s been featured on New Music Friday, though:
CL: When I released my EP, which would have been almost two years ago now, the peeps at Spotify really got behind it and put my picture on the cover of New Music Friday. And it’s funny because it was about four months before Spotify really took off to what it is now. So kind of big deal, but kind of no-one really got it quite yet. It’s a little crazy, I think it’s a good thing it happened when it did, because I don’t know if that would’ve been the case had it been released any time later. Spotify has changed a lot, but they still really support independent artists, which I think is super important.
Was there anything on this New Music Friday that you’ve really been listening to?
CL: I really like the second Julia Michaels song on the 50 shades of grey soundtrack. “Are You”. I also loved “Heaven”. Chelsea Cutler’s new song “You’re Not Missing Me” (which is on our #TGINMF playlist) was another I really liked. I also wrote a song recently for Carly Paige, “Drive Slow“. It’s really awesome and she’s a fantastic writer and artist, so I was super excited to see her on there. And then another girl from Nashville, Anna Mae, I really liked her song “Single-Minded” too.
You live in Nashville now but are an indie pop artist. What is that scene like in Nashville?
CL: It’s kind of an underground pop scene at the moment. A lot of people are either going back and forth from L.A., or some L.A. people are moving to Nashville because they’re realizing there’s more of a pop scene, and it’s much more sustainable to live here. Prescription Songs (@RXSongs on Twitter), a publishing company in LA, just set up an office here. It’s exciting a lot of Nashville natives, writers and producers – there is a lot of effort being put into making more pop music come from Nashville. It’s still growing. I don’t know if it’s ever going to be as competitive as LA, but I hope to be someone who helps it to be something that competes in the pop world.
What have you been listening to lately that’s got you excited?
CL: Lately I’ve been listening to Anderson Paak. Music around his genre that is breaking some boundaries, is really soulful, it’s so cool. Music like that, and Solange. SZA’s new album is great too. That’s a genre that I feel like I’ve only scratched the surface on so I would love to have more at my fingertips.
I’ve been really wanting to know more about the urban hip hop world, because I didn’t grow up listening to it that much. I would like to know all the really dope hip-hop artists that are a little underground right now, and are making things that are really intelligent and poetic. I find that music so interesting and want to know more about it.
What does the rest of 2018 look like for Chelsea Lankes? What’s in the works?
CL: I don’t know exactly what 2018 looks like yet. I think it’s just going to be singles for now. I’m in a place where as an artist, I’ve been writing a ton but it’s been more for other projects and artists, or TV/Film work. I will say, all of the songs I’m writing, I love, so if something really fits and doesn’t get used by the other artists, or it just sits there, I hate the idea of songs I love dying on the vine, living in this purgatory of someone’s inbox. I just want to release stuff like that if it’s never going to be released by someone else. So I definitely know I’ll be releasing more singles, but maybe there is an EP in six months or so. Getting people to commit to the time it takes to create something really good – that’s always the struggle.