Featured Photo Credit: Jimmy Fontaine
While growing up in Denton, TX, Livingston struggled to fit in. He turned to music as a source of escape and connection.
Now 18, Livingston is a self-taught singer, songwriter, and producer that is creating a community for his listeners and over 400K followers on TikTok. His debut EP Lighthouse features his unique blend of “orchestral cinematic pop” that transports listeners to carnivals, beaches and other cinematic worlds.
We chatted with Livingston about his debut EP Lighthouse, the importance of music in his life and more.
Excerpt from the podcast:
How does it feel to have your debut EP Lighthouse out in the world?
So good! I can’t describe it. It’s like when you’re out in the winter cold and you have 5 jackets on and you’re bundled up. You can come inside and take the jackets off and it’s just a warm cabin. That music is between two and a half to a year and a half old now. I was already itching to get it out because, it’s not like I’m tired of it, but I’ve heard it a lot and it’s done what it’s going to do for my life, emotionally. The only hope now is if it can hopefully do that for someone else or other groups of people. Thankfully, from what I’ve seen, the best part of that release has been the hundreds and hundreds of DMs that I’ve gotten saying what the project means to them and what their favorite song is and how it’s impacted their lives in ways that I couldn’t have expected. I’m so grateful for it to get the chance to do that even after I’ve already moved out of the season of those songs emotionally impacting my life. It’s a huge relief to get that project out.
It’s great to hear and see how your music is resonating with people. Your song “Fairytale” is already at over a million streams. What was the inspiration behind that track?
That song is kind of a culmination of a ton of different things for me. First it was this feeling of – you know I think back to when I was younger before I really found a passion in music or videography and I would just dive into and live in these video game worlds and in these book worlds and these movie worlds. I would distract myself with this idealism of what the “perfect” life or the” perfect” hero would look like. Then I would zap out of that existence when I had to go to the real world, which at the time was middle school, which is still not that real but it means something when you’re in middle school. I was wondering why I wasn’t finding lasting fulfillment from these ideals that I was setting for myself.I kind of just woke up one day and I was like I can either live in the real world, deal with this the right way and find passion and run towards it or I can keep living in Drake land and distracting myself from whatever it is I’m too scared to face. It was about that moment. The second part of it was the whole orchestral thing. I’ve always been inspired by movie scores. I love composers like John Powell the guy who does all the Dreamworks movies and Hans Zimmer and Alan Sylvestri and these heroes of mine. Then third it was kind of an homage to one of my personal heroes, Jon Bellion who loves this otherworldly, Pixar, art stuff. [The song is] my kind of pitch to one day meet him and work with him. It’s all these different things intertwining, but that song really meant a lot to me at the time and still means a lot to me now because of what it derived from and the experience in my life that kind of created it.
Your songs tell such vivid stories. Why is it important to you to tell a story in your music?
Because I think that you can either have three minutes and 30 seconds be three minutes and 30 seconds and you can be a 15 second viral clip on an application where people are dancing to you or you can actually change somebody’s life. The former will often make far more money and get you in the spotlight much faster, but I don’t really value that as much as impacting someone through my music. I think choosing the latter option where you’re telling a story and it may not be as face value pop, bright lights, attractive, whatever it is. Yes, that’s at the expense of being at the top of biggest pop whatever in your first year of making music, but what it garners is a much deeper respect of yourself when you’re a writer and I’m a writer and a producer. I want to be able to look back at stuff that I’m writing when I’m 16, 17, 18 and respect it in 20 years, even if I’ve grown past whatever production nuances or lack thereof that I was going after. I at least can say that I was writing something that was real to me. If my grandkids’ grandkids are to hear this in 20 years, or whatever, are they going to be like that’s fun or are they going to be like that’s applicable to my life and I want to add this to my playlist. That’s the big driver. If you have the ability to be a voice for the people who are disenfranchised and who fly under the radar and who don’t have a place and you don’t take it, it’s a massive loss. It’s just the best thing you can do, I think, as a songwriter to tell stories that mean something to you and are relevant to other people.
You can listen to more of the podcast here.