A year ago, Reno McCarthy was at school, struggling with anxiety. Today he’s 100% dedicated to the one thing that helps him deal with the issue: music.
Reno McCarthy’s previous video – Man of the City – was released more than five months ago. It was directed by Émile Vallée, son of director Jean-Marc Vallée. The production was funded by a Kickstarter campaign that raised $1154. The latest, Reasons, is entirely McCarthy’s creation.
“I’m fully dedicating myself to my career and I’m happier than I’ve ever been,” says McCarthy.
McCarthy was studying jazz and classical composition at the Cégep Saint-Laurent. He had to complete his last exams in a “solitary booth,” unable to cope with the classroom atmosphere.
The young musician describes himself as an “anxiety-prone person.” His last years of education were rough and he “barely made it through.”
Reasons is inspired by the “sparse production” of songs with indie and R&B, a style that rapper The Weeknd has helped popularized according to McCarthy.
The Weeknd has spoken openly about his own anxiety problems. Two of his songs, The Hills and Can’t Feel My Face, have topped the Billboard Hot 100 rankings.
McCarthy’s new song is “made to be really soothing” and intends to capture that very mood “more than anything else.” It took McCarthy a little more than two days to write the song. He was working on another song and this one “popped [into] his head.”
The song, McCarthy adds, also “stems from a business-y concern.” McCarthy wants to test out his product and “play around with different sounds.” His incipient career and his followers allow him to experiment new sounds. He realizes he has a lot of freedom. He uses the latter “to try different things and release music without fearing alienating from his fan base.”
Montreal is hard to place to have a breakthrough as a pop artist, thinks McCarthy, because it favours indie and alternative bands and singers. One of McCarthy’s goals in 2016 is “to go explore Los Angeles,” a place he defines as “the pop music dominion.”
“It’s hard to get a following doing pop. It’s a genre that pretty much only works on a big scale, and it’s hard to be credible as a pop musician if you’re virtually unknown,” adds McCarthy.
The move would hypothetically mean moving on his own but these are things McCarthy doesn’t think about. He doesn’t “have the time or brain space to focus on negative thoughts,” he says.
From his room, he works on songs and various other aspects of his musical career such as social media (“When people ask me what I do for a living, I say ‘I tweet!’. Yeah it’s a joke, but it’s not far from the truth”), interacting with fans on Youtube (“it’s pretty cool […] I’ve built some relationships with people who like my stuff”) and through his website which will be updated in the next few weeks.
McCarthy also wants to get an agent, “maybe get signed to a non-fraudulent deal,” record a proper album, get a gig at a cool festival and have a bigger radio presence.
“If there’s a time to go for it and focus on the present, it’s right now. I’m fully dedicating myself to my career and I’m happier than I’ve ever been.”
Reno McCarthy will be appearing at MTL Uncovered on April 9 at Theatre Paradoxe (5959 Monk Blvd). Show 6 p.m. $15. Tickets HERE.