An Interview With New York Based Musician, TRAVIS CROWLEY!
Posted On 23 Aug 2017
Travis Crowley is a musician and songwriter from New York known for his unique storytelling voice and style. Along with his two brothers as The Crowley Brothers, Travis has opened for iHeartRadio station Z100’s annual Jingle Ball concert, and has performed at venues throughout the United States and Canada.
His debut solo single ‘Pretty Little Adelaide’ premiered on Z100’s “The Elvis Duran Show”. His debut album The Trouble Kid Tape was recently released on August 4th.
“a firmly-planted a formidable voice” – B-Sides & Badlands
“tinged with a bitter humor that hits home with Crowley’s sincerity” – Adobe & Teardrops
Connect With Travis Here:
Learn more about Travis Crowley in the following All Access interview:
Thanks for your time today! How has 2017 been treating you? Musically, did you approach this year any differently then you did last year?
Thank you for yours! 2017 has been mostly pretty good. Every new year I like to set a vague or abstract resolution, and this year’s was “2017: the year I finish the job.” I think I’ve been sticking to it pretty well. Musically, I’ve kept the same sort of attitude, but kicked my work ethic into overdrive. It feels great to see myself making actual progress, ya know?
Where does this interview find you today? Is there music playing in the background? If so, what is it? What kind of music do you listen to when you are working? What music gets you instantly out of a bad mood?
If you promise not to snitch, I will tell you I’m at my job right now. Well, I’m on my lunch break, but it certainly does look like I’m doing work. I pretty much always have something playing in the background, whether it’s music or a podcast (shout out to the Bodega Boys), anything along those lines. At the moment, I’m listening to Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit’s “The Nashville Sound” which came out this year. It’s an outstanding album, such good songwriting. “If We Were Vampires” is impossibly articulate and beautiful. But I’ll listen to a wide variety of things while I’m working, it just depends on what’s stuck in my head on any given day. Yesterday was Lorde, tomorrow might be Vic Mensa. Although my go-to music to get me out of a bad mood is Carly Rae Jepsen’s “E MO TION” album. I love her so much.
Growing up, did you always want to be a musician? Can you recall your earliest musical memory?
I’ve always wanted to be a million things at the same time, but musician was and still is number one. I remember hearing Lauryn Hill’s “Doo Wop (That Thing)” on the radio and recognizing it as the first song I ever loved. My parents would always have music playing in the car, and my brother and I would burn CDs with our favorite songs of the moment to play throughout the car speakers (we still do that, actually). This lead to full sing-alongs. Belting out the soundtrack to “Hercules” with the whole family is another great early musical memory!
If you weren’t a musician today, what else could you see yourself doing?
Maybe this is a little weird, but I think my other calling in life is to make television commercials. I love to watch them, and I comment on the things that I do and don’t like during program breaks. I feel like I could do that really well! Major shout out to the AT&T girl, Milana Vayntrub!
I always like to ask artists about where they came from and how that city or town has influenced them as an artist now. So how do you think your hometown has affected who you are as a musician and the art that you create?
I live in New York City and am from here originally. I’ve seen and met some of the most incredibly talented people here, which happens in an enormously populated area, and I learned that rather than trying to directly compete with them, it’s best to find the things that are supremely unique to you and hone those skills. Nobody can beat you at a game you made up, that type of thing. And I grew up for the most part in a small town a little north of the city. There are maybe 7,000 total people that live there. I think the most important thing I learned there was to not take myself too seriously.
How do you think that you have continued to grow as an artist year after year? What has remained the same about you and your music?
I think it’s all been personal growth. Major and minor life events alike cause you to wake up every day and see the world in varying degrees of different, whether you’re aware of it or not. I just always try to maintain my own perspective. I am always learning. But I am still the same weirdo at my core!
What was it like putting together your debut album, “The Trouble Kid Tape”? Did anything surprise you about the process at all? How long have you been wanting to make this collection?
It was a lot of work, but I enjoyed pretty much the entire experience! I play every instrument on the recordings, as well as performing lead and backing vocals. I was also able to bring in a couple friends and family members to lay down some vocals! It was a cool opportunity to play the role of producer, in that sense. I didn’t know I wanted to make the collection until I had written the first included song, and I didn’t know how it would end until the last chronological event occurred. That’s what surprised me most, how it all ended up fitting together in my mind, creating a sort of overarching narrative. I’m so happy to finally have it out there!
What was the inspiration for your album’s lead single, “Pretty Little Adelaide”? Generally, how do you go about writing your songs?
Simply, the inspiration was a girl named Adelaide. The song details how I had difficulty connecting with her despite the fact that I had fallen for her pretty hard. Something I like to do when writing is focus in on the specifics. Instead of just having a song about Adelaide in general, I chose to tell a small piece of the story, about how it felt to walk toward her apartment building and wait for her outside. I think it’s nice to cement the little details in song, because how many times are your memories just overviews? When I play “Pretty Little Adelaide” it brings me back to an incredibly specific moment, and that’s what interests me most.
What are your plans for the rest of this summer? Do you have any plans to play out live at all?
AW YEAH I’m going to Disney World! But also yes, I have a bunch of shows lined up in the New York City area now through the fall, and ultimately beyond that I’m sure. I try to play live as often as I can, the first reason being that I have so much fun doing it.
How do you think being a musician gives you the most joy in life today? How do you hope to be a good role model for young people today?
It’s a nice cross between selfishly being allowed to do and write whatever I want, and the ability to share it with the people I love. Making music is still just my favorite thing to do, I hope I never lose sight of how fun this all is for me. The role model question is a tough one, because I’m not sure I’m the type of person that should be universally looked up to (it’s all.. covered in the album, heh). But I’ll say this: if my little sister can wake up every day and be smart and tough and funny and true to her weird self, I have succeeded as someone to admire.
Who are some of your very favorite artists or rather, what musicians have continued to inspire you and your music? What musicians would you absolutely love to work with in the future?
A: I have an incredibly long and ever-growing list of favorite artists, so I won’t list them all. Musicians like Dave Grohl and Jack White continue to inspire me with their pure love for everything music, and their desire and willingness to expand within the industry. I love new music, and listened to everything I could while creating “The Trouble Kid Tape,” namely Frank Ocean’s “Blond(e)” and Kacey Musgraves’ “Pageant Material.” Those albums are both so amazing, I’ll remember them as all-time favorites for sure. And what musicians would I love to work with? Musgraves for sure, she is so brilliant. But my dream collab ever since I was a kid is Jason Mraz. He and Kacey both carry the most underrated wit in their writing. Oh, and Kanye West. I’m sure it would be intimidating, but imagine being in the room while he creates a song like “Ultralight Beam.”
What do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope people continue to take away from your songs?
I like to say “things are looking up” in response to the things that happen to me. It’s the overall theme of “The Trouble Kid Tape,” and it means one of two things at a time. When life is going well, if you’re feeling particularly lucky, if your hard work has paid off, it’s important to acknowledge the good and to be grateful. On the other end, if things aren’t working out for you, it’s important to see that everything can be better. My songs tell stories and they detail observations I’ve made. From that, small or large, I hope my music reminds people of how fascinating the world can and might be. I hope people keep self-awareness and stay thoughtful. That’s a pretty high-end take, let me reel it in. At the very least, I hope people hear my stuff and say “damn, I liked that, it was pretty interesting,” or “huh, he seems pretty cool?”
What advice would you give to someone just getting started on this music path? Or even to someone young that is thinking of becoming a musician one day?
Know who you are and find what you love. Remember why you’re doing what you’re doing. Those reasons are allowed to change along the way, but make sure you’re the one who makes that decision. You’re probably going to suck for a while, I know that’s true of myself. It’s a big investment of time and energy, but as long as it still feels worth it, keep fighting. And always practice gratitude. Things are looking up!!
Is there anything else that you would like to share with our readers about yourself or your music?
Ok, here’s the thing with my album: please buy it if that’s the way you listen to music, but you don’t even have to do that. I just want people to listen, to hear the stories. I am so proud of the way everything came out. Tell ya friends about it! Oh and a fun fact about me, I love purple Doritos. You know, the ones in the purple bag. Spicy Sweet Chili, they’re the best. Still working on how to get that sponsorship worked out.