Denver singer-songwriter Joel Ansett recently stepped back onto the music scene with a new single entitled “Ease.” Going beyond the lines of genre to blend folk, pop, and R&B, “Ease” possesses a calm musicality that is the perfect backdrop to the lyrics that express his gratitude for friends that keep him steady.
A song for all of the over-analyzers and the friends who keep them sane, Ansett remarks, “This song is a shoutout to all the folks who help my brain stop running around so much. My people-pleasing tendencies can wear me out and I’m increasingly thankful for friends who have a calming presence and who can help me be my actual self.”
We sat down with Ansett to get the inside scoop on the creation of the song, see how the pandemic has played a role in his music this year, and learn what’s next for this emerging artist.
How do you describe your music to someone who has never heard it before?
Joel Ansett: “I usually say folk-pop-R&B, or something about thoughtful songs.”
Your new single “Ease” was just released… tell us your inspiration behind the song.
“Yes, this one was just about getting stuck in my own head and getting tossed around by what other people think. I’m a people-pleaser and it wears me out so I definitely need a steadying influence around.”
What is the importance of this song being released in the midst of the current tumultuous times?
“There’s no major thematic connection to the current season, other than believing artists should keep creating, regardless of circumstance. I guess there is a connection to my frustration with the way news networks make money off of encouraging panic and polarization, thus turning well-meaning people into zealous political pawns. Maybe that’s part of the ‘too many voices, lights and loud noises’ I was singing about. The news is very anti-ease. I’m not saying some things aren’t panic and passion worthy, and I know some things require urgent action; but every single story should not have some drastic take that demonizes anyone who thinks differently. Both sides do that. They spin the stories like crazy and the consequence has become national nausea. I have needed to pull away from that world and educate myself in ways that actually bear good fruit. Act local. Overconsumption of news does not equal ‘Ease.’”
What’s your favourite lyrical line in “Ease” and why?
“‘I should get some rest but I don’t know how’ is my favourite line right now. Not totally sure why.”
You are based in Denver, Colorado. What’s your favourite aspect of the music scene there?
“I love the camaraderie here. Most songwriters seem to know each other and have each other’s backs. We’re here on this island of a western city trying to make sense of our own existence and there’s a tangible ‘we’re in this together’ sentiment that is refreshing.”
Of all the music you’ve released, what has been your favourite song? Why?
“It’s always changing actually. Usually, the latest thing I have released is my favourite (laughs). If I have to pick one it would be the song ‘Through.’”
How have the events of this year (COVID-19 in particular) affected you as an artist?
“No shows, which obviously hurts. Way more time to write, though; which has been wonderful.”
How have you overcome it?
“I don’t feel like I have overcome it. (laughs) One day at a time is all I can say.”
What do you think will be different about the music industry next year?
“Everyone is going to need to tour to start recovering all the lost income, so I think we’re going to experience a venue shortage. I think we’ll see a lot more house concerts and unconventional concert locations. Might even turn into a good thing. I think LOTS of music will come out as everyone has been locked up with their instruments and their thoughts.”
What can fans expect next?
“I have four new songs all ready for release. Those will come out one at a time over the coming months. I also have a strong start on writing album three. Best stuff yet and I’m excited to start getting it out there.”