“One of the most challenging aspects will always be ‘where do I fit in this music landscape?’ It’s easy to chase after the newest trend or the latest Hype Machine genre hybrid. Finding a sound and a perspective that is true to YOU is the real challenge.”
Meet singer/songwriter Lyon Hart, who’s been in the music game for over a decade as a member of several bands, writing toplines for DJs, lending his vocals as a featured artist, and finally coming into his own as a solo artist. Most recently, he’s been making heads turn with his candid lyrics, sultry vocals, and stunning visuals.
We caught up with Lyon to learn about his journey as an artist, the inspiration behind his brand new video “Delusional,” the advantages of collaborating with artists outside your comfort zone, and how powerful visual design can lead to over 2 million YouTube views.
Hi, Lyon Hart. Tell us a little about yourself and when you joined ReverbNation.
Hey ReverbNation! My name is Lyon Hart (“Lyon” like the big cat, “Hart” like Melissa Joan) and I’m a pop singer and songwriter based in New York City. I’ve been a member of ReverbNation for over 10 years! Every solo project, duo, or band I’ve been involved with has had a ReverbNation page – it’s been a constant presence in my career.
What’s your journey as an artist been like and what have some of the most challenging and rewarding aspects of your career been?
As I mentioned above, I’ve been in a bunch of different projects and each one has taught me something new. I started the Lyon Hart solo project when the band I was in broke up and I started to write toplines for DJs. Eventually, instead of having other singers sing my melodies, they began to ask if they could just use my demo vocal on the songs instead. That’s how Lyon Hart came to be!
One of the most challenging aspects will always be “where do I fit in this music landscape?” It’s easy to chase after the newest trend or the latest Hype Machine genre hybrid. Finding a sound and a perspective that is true to YOU is the real challenge.
The most rewarding aspect? When someone tells you something you wrote moved them in some way. Nothing better.
Congrats on your new video “Delusional” which premiered on Ones to Watch. What is the inspiration behind it and why did you decide to go with a video premiere first?
Thank you! “Delusional” was written by me and producer Rob Grimaldi (mixed and mastered by Ben Lindell). The lyrics in the song itself center on this idea of a relationship that’s on its last legs and holding on to it for too long. With the video, I’d stumbled across all of these archives of old public domain footage and the idea popped up of piecing together clips to tell a story or evoke an emotion. As I started compiling clips – everything from feature films to animated shorts and newsreels – a slightly different message started coming through.
Almost all of us have experienced obsessive love in some form or another and the “Delusional” video, rather than telling a linear story, gives you fast-paced flashes of what that emotion feels like from both a narrative and an abstract perspective. I think it gives a deeper meaning to the song using a unique medium!
With my last release, “Falling for You,” I really discovered the power of a strong visual and I decided that doing the video premiere first was a great way to continue with the momentum and engagement I was getting from my VEVO channel.
The video for “Falling For You” has an impressive 2.6 million views! Tell us a bit about the making of the video? What do you attribute to its success?
The director, Matt VanDaniker, approached me about doing a music video and had the general outline of the concept. In talking about it more, it became clear to us that casting two men in the roles would be an interesting take on the conflict and would feel more true to me as an artist and a human. My boyfriend, Lonnie Poupard, Jr. is one of the dancers and choreographers in the video and we all collaborated closely on striking just the right balance between the non-narrative dance sections and the more narrative real world sequences.
As far as its success, I couldn’t possibly attribute it to anything other than a fantastic creative team doing amazing work. I will say, it was incredibly slow at the start. I was absolutely THRILLED when we hit 10,000 views and figured the numbers would trail off after that. Then we started organically getting some high-profile press and when Out.com featured it on their website, we saw an incredible surge of people watching and sharing the video.
It still comes and goes in waves, though. We hit about half a million views then it just died for a couple months. All of sudden, it was swept back up into some algorithm and doubled… and doubled again… and here we are on track to hit 3 million before too long. You never can tell!
You’ve teamed up with a variety of artists (Elephante, Loosid, Sam Padrul and more). What are the advantages of collaborating with different artists?
Finding a new audience in the other artist’s fan base, exploring sounds and genres you wouldn’t normally, and forging connections that miraculously lead to new opportunities are just a few of the advantages.
How do you approach an artist you want to work with?
Most of the features I do with DJs and producers are people reaching out to me, but when I find an artist I love and I want to work with, especially if it’s another artist I would love to write for, I’ll reach out through social media either to the artist directly or to their management. You’d be shocked at how willing most people are to at least take a listen to your music if not bring you in for a session or two to see how everyone vibes together.
Lastly, what can we expect from Lyon Hart in the next year?
More music! I’ve got a couple more singles lined up and I’m hoping to keep putting out more music more often. I’m also in the early stages of planning the next video and that will – fingers crossed – be out before the end of the year.