The last time I talked to Connor Kelly, he had just released his debut album “Informal Conversations”, a twelve track indie rock release that amassed a couple hundred thousand streams in only a year. Where has be been since then, you might ask?
Oh, just dancing on countertops, attempting party tricks.
The second Kelly’s head collided with the ceiling, his knee smashing into his mouth, the successful singer-songwriter knew he was just as fragile as anyone else who attempts such asinine and entertaining feats. After being rushed to the emergency room and sedated faster than you could say “Hawaii Mustang”, Kelly’s teeth were miraculously pushed back into their former places with no root damage, and the broken bone in the top of his mouth was left to heal.
Highly medicated and lethargic, Kelly tried to explain his upcoming projects to me over the phone, his voice only spiking when telling me that he saw an Amazon Alexa in the ER and asked it to play “Comfortably Numb” before falling into the claws of the laughing gas.
“Silver Lining”, Kelly’s newest release, is a stand alone single that sounds unlike anything on Informal Conversations. This earnest, optimistic tune takes a slight detour from Kelly’s previous psychedelic, fun-loving rock releases. The song details Kelly’s issues with feeling lost and stuck in constant loops: stories fading into unexciting details that seem to push him away from people, his spirit feeling empty and colorless, and wanting to feel connected with people and situations, and yet remaining detached. His voice is slow and drawn on, mimicking the hamster wheel he seems to find himself stuck on as it turns around and around. Although the verses detail these ruts, the melody and chorus juxtapose the feeling and cast light on the reassuring realization that there is always a silver lining. Although life catches us in these routines that bring us down, good always comes from it (over and over and over again).
But why release such a personal song after a successfully vibrant and upbeat album with no promise of a larger release any time soon? Kelly revealed that a lot of his advisors were hesitant about releasing the track, acting like singles should tease bigger projects.
Kelly replied, “I wrote it, I liked it, and I wanted to release it. It’s just that simple.”
I believe this is what grants Kelly the success he has achieved in such a short time frame and is what will continue to push him into the limelight. His impulsivity to create is far from calculated, relying on his natural state to guide his art. It is his voice that reeks of heartfelt intentions and the desire to create more than just one thing at a time. He abandons formula.
With a small southeast tour looming in the near future and a few hinted at future releases, Kelly will be able to spread his music in the most personal way possible. Breaking free from the chains of streams and what criteria he must follow to release music, Kelly will be showcasing his spirit to us in the way it is best experienced: honestly.
“Silver Lining” drops today and paves a new road for Kelly’s future releases, one characterized by free expression and earnest lyricism. Who knows what will come next for the budding singer-songwriter? ‘Whatever he is feeling’ is probably the answer.