Chiiild Looks Within to Craft “The Album of My Dreams”

- By Kyle Mullin

WHEN CHIIILD RELEASED HIS 2021 DEBUT ALBUM, Hope for Sale, he put positivity first. Now, however, things are a little more complicate­d.

“I wanted to represent all my feelings, instead of just love, or just the optimistic version,” says the Montreal psych-soul musician born Yonatan Ayal, who got his start co-writing for artists like Usher and Jennifer Lopez. “Sometimes you might kind of feel like quitting, or that maybe you’re meant to just support other people’s ambitions. I tried to go over all those human emotions.”

Among the key tracks on sophomore album

Better Luck in the Next Life: “(Running Out of) Hallelujah­s,” on which the singer, eclectic instrument­alist and studio dynamo embodies despair over Incubus-esque trip-hop scratches and a booming vocal sample evoking Moby’s

Play — both touchstone­s of his youth. Then, there’s midway track “Surfing the Silver Linings,” on which Chiiild sounds less interested in looking on the bright side than delivering a deadpan warning when he sings, “Don’t fuck with my bliss.”

Much has been rightfully made of Ayal’s trek to L. A., and how he went from sleeping in his car to co-writing and co-producing for household names before breaking through with Hope for Sale. Despite his uplifting recollecti­ons of that rocky time, he thought back on the culture vulture managers and publicists who made big promises as his career gained momentum for

Better Luck in the Next Life. “They tried to sell me a dream,” Chiiild reflects. “On this record,

I touch on all that glitters not being gold. Like: ‘Don’t mess with my innocence.’”

He therefore calls Better Luck a more oneway “testimonia­l” record compared to Hope for Sale. For Better Luck, he tried to time travel back to adolescenc­e in his parents’ Montreal basement, when he made beats for rappers in his neighbourh­ood and the “only goal was to create something that had us excited. I basically need to get back to that basement, emotionall­y.”

While he cited Bon Iver, Coldplay and fellow R&B hotshot Lucky Daye as influences on prior releases, Chiiild had the pleasure of working with Daye on Better Luck’s single “Good for Now.” He drew on the tones of Moby and indie rockers Cigarettes After Sex to make the song “a little grunge, and be understate­d and chill. I got to nerd out with automated reverb delays, and also have an R&B presence there.” Creating that springboar­d for Daye thrilled Chiiild, because he considers the New Orleanian to be “one of the greatest voices of our generation. Putting someone with such a defined R&B vocal on that type of music, which probably wouldn’t fit in any other context, was a big ambition of mine.”

Listeners can continue to expect such eclectic and emotional leaps and bounds from Chiiild. As he puts it: “I keep trying to refine my identity in music. And the best way for me to do that is to keep looking within. My previous music was about trying to find my place in the world. Now, I’ve created the album of my dreams.”


Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada