EXCLUSIVE: A Q&A with Chad Courtney on Musical Evolution and Emotional Expression

Embarking on a melodic journey that spans from the innocent hums of childhood to the resonating chords of adulthood, Chad Courtney epitomizes the transformative power of music. From his earliest renditions of High School Musical tunes in preschool to his current status as a seasoned musician, Chad’s unwavering passion for melody has sculpted him into an artist whose compositions resonate not just in sound but in soul. As we delve into his world, we uncover the intricate layers of his musical style, his lyrical introspection, and the profound connection he forges with his audience. Read below as we unravel the story behind Chad Courtney’s captivating journey through the realms of warm cathartic pop and heartfelt expression.

Your musical journey began with singing tunes from High School Musical in preschool and mastering the guitar in middle school. How have these early experiences shaped your musical style and approach to songwriting?

Growing up, I was always surrounded by music and just always singing. And at the time it wasn’t “typical” for a boy to sing for some reason and that just led to a lot of tough times in school which kind of helped me in the long run to have thick skin and keep my head up. Those experiences then led to songwriting and I found a way to say how I felt through something I love so much. 

You describe your sound as “warm cathartic pop.” Can you delve deeper into what that means to you and how you incorporate it into your music?

I love to create music that’s both comforting and cathartic. So, I try to write as honestly as I can and when the production is raw and warm, it’s a beautiful way to resonate with something and that’s what the artists I look up to do for me.

Your new track, “Rubber Knees Since August,” seems to encapsulate your signature style. Can you share with us the inspiration behind this song and what listeners can expect from it?

So, Rubber Knees Since August is about reminiscing on this great and healthy relationship and how meeting them was just so memorable and thinking back on it just brings so much joy. What kind of inspired it were these new artists that I’ve been introduced to and how vulnerable they get in their music and when I was going through this experience and I was just like “Alright, let’s dive into this right now”.

Drawing influence from iconic figures like Michael Jackson and Alanis Morissette, how do these inspirations manifest in your music, both sonically and thematically?

I don’t know, of course these artists are on a whole different level of talent, I mean they are literal gifts to this world, but they’re just not afraid to literally say anything in their music and that was my whole take away from their artistry. 

Songwriting is often described as a window to the soul. How do you approach the process of writing lyrics and crafting melodies to convey your emotions effectively?

So, writing a song is always so different for me. Sometimes I have an interesting title that I come up with and create a story based off of it or start with some guitar chords and just start singing basically gibberish in my voice memos along with a melody and then get the lyrics going. I love diving into subjects that made me feel like I was the only person on this planet who felt this emotion and no one would understand because the truth is, there are thousands of people out here going through the same exact thing and can relate. Love, loneliness, grieving a past relationship, family and friend dynamics. That’s what I think is so beautiful about listening to lyrics. Lizzy McAlpine, Ryan Beatty, Michael Jackson, to me these are the people who inspire my songwriting today.

You’ve mentioned Lizzy McAlpine and Ryan Beatty as inspirations for your intimate songwriting style. How have their music and storytelling influenced your own artistic expression?

Both of their recent projects were just so raw and pretty, lyrically and production wise, and really caught my attention. I was just used to that mainstream repetitive pop structure, which I love, and they really demonstrate a different and beautiful way of making music. So they really inspire me to kind of mix what I’m used to and with really detailed and meaningful lyrics.

Reflecting on your artistic journey, how do you perceive your growth from your early compositions to the more sophisticated pieces you create now?

When I look back at the songs I was writing in like 2017, I’m just like “Woah.. those songs make no sense whatsoever”. It’s funny though to listen to my old work when I was around 15 and hearing my prepubescent voice singing about heartbreak, but now I feel way more confident as an individual and as an artist. I really just want to take risks and not feel held back to make any kind of artistic moves.

Live performances seem to hold a special place in your heart, especially memorable ones like at Petco Park. Can you tell us about your experiences performing live and how they contribute to your growth as an artist?

I think live performances are a great way to get personal with your audience and make that connection with them in reality. When I perform, it’s weird, I get so nervous beforehand and freak out, but then I get up on stage and it totally switches and becomes like excitement. Which I guess can go hand in hand, you know?

Your career is marked by resilience and authenticity. How do you navigate skepticism from peers and stay true to your artistic vision amidst challenges?

Of course, It’s hard not to think about how people perceive you so that’s definitely an occurrence for me. I really just try my best to stick to my gut and almost just laugh off the things that people say sometimes because it can get in the way. So having that outlook on it, I’m able to keep to my visions and artistry.

If you could set up a fan in a setting for them to listen to your music, what setting would that be and why? 

Oh wow, honestly, like an old recording studio where I would have recorded the music would be such a cool environment. If we’re able to have all the instruments that were used on the tracks and showcase the history behind each song and kind of experience it again with the listener, I feel like that would be perfect.

What is one quote you’ve heard in life that resonates with you that you’d want to ECHO out to readers? 

My friend told me this once and he said “Comparison is the thief of joy”. That just resonated with me and made me want to stick with what I know and just do exactly what I love and not worry about what others are thinking or doing and comparing myself 24/7.