KTJ & CARLY are coming into terms with their inner demons on their latest single “Hidden” from their forthcoming music project. The unsteady pop track has a moving soundscape with a affected sonic atmosphere and sentimental vocal performance.
“Hidden” takes you on a thrilling ride of confessions, smoky truths buzzing with heart breaking vulnerability. The song’s story pulls at your heart strings as the tracks ascends to the steepest melodic peak. “Hidden” brings to the fore front the inner struggle of being dependent for happiness with a “happy” significant while keeping the unstable parts of yourself in secret.
We recently had a wonderful opportunity to interview the originative music duo in a mist of their release of their single “Hidden” to talk about inner demons, finding your inner voice, self love and the inspiration behind “Hidden”.
The new track was written during the Halloween season which is most evident in the eerie element oozing on the track. KTJ & CARLY’s CARLY explains the inspiration behind the scary feeling embedded in the lyrics, “Hidden is very close to our hearts. Meg Delacy co-wrote this song with us, and we wrote it around Halloween, which is why it has a haunting vibe to it and constantly has creepy lyrics like “live for the dead, demons, ghosts, bones,” etc…. “We were talking about our inner-demons, and how we often close ourselves off because we are insecure or afraid to be vulnerable. That is what inspired this song.”
The unearthly song would make it’s first live appearance during a live stream performance after it’s completion. “We wrote this song with Meg Delacy. We wrote it over zoom in our home studio over just a piano. A week later, we had a live stream and performed it. We loved the song, so we sang it in almost every livestream set we did. It started to become one of our favorite songs to sing and we just loved it too much to not release it.” The pair went to finish the song production adding a orchestra element that would serve as a attention stealing part of the song, “We both produced the track out, and went for an orchestral synth vibe to make the song as impactful as possible. Then to juxtapose and contrast nicely, we added drums that were a bit more hip-hop sounding. Kept just piano on vocally stronger parts of the song like the bridge, (our personal favorite part of the song). Our writing and recording experience is different every time and that is what is great about it. Everytime is a new and amazing experience.”
“Hidden” is a influential track that will be universally relatable to anyone who has ever felt they had to hide part of the themselves to keep a relationship alive, KTJ of KTJ & Carly describes how her own experience of hiding her complex, chaotic sides of herself was also silencing her own voice. “I grew up being a people pleaser. I was terrified to become a burden in anyone’s eyes, so anytime I had a problem or a negative feeling about something in my relationships, I would close off and shut down instead of using my beautiful voice that God gave me. I always thought I was too young and ignorant to realize how important my voice is. I would hide my feelings and my insecurities away from the people I loved because I just thought that was the best thing to do for the longevity and strength of the relationship.” She reflects how she held herself to impossible standards to only her “acceptable” side of herself. “I felt like I had this standard to live up to growing up, always being labeled as this and that, or the “cool girl” because I was chill, witty, and had a dry approach to my jokes. But that’s just a tiny part of me. People who saw me as this cool girl persona in fact didn’t know me at all… the real, emotional, compex, messy, human being I am. Yet I still thought others’ opinions of me were more important rather than trusting my own inner-knowledge and wisdom regarding my amazing qualities. Eventually I couldn’t do it anymore and I ended a lot of my relationships, and I felt this huge relief and weight lifted, because I felt like I didn’t have to pretend to be someone else, or hide myself. Icould be the person I was supposed to be.”
KTJ began to realized that she couldn’t show all her sides in a relationship then she had to let go of the relationship, “It was a valuable lesson and it really taught me what a relationship is supposed to be for me. If I can’t be valued, respected, and appreciated for being honest and vulnerable to someone I love then I’ll let them go and move on with this abundant life. No matter how insecure or scared I am of what my partner thinks of me, being honest and having a little discomfort in the beginning saves us a lot of pain down the road. And as cliche as it sounds, if someone doesn’t love me, or can’t handle my annoying ticks/boundaries/flaws/insecurities etc, then there are billions of other fish in the sea who will appreciate and respect me and my evolution to becoming my highest self. Justin Bieber said “I get my light right from the source,” which I find so beautiful. So many times I stayed hidden in the dark because I feared that if I shined my light would be put out. The right person will encourage me to shine brighter. “
CARLY shares how the pandemic has inspired them to be vocal about their own mental health and personal challenges in their songwriting, “1000% percent. In our time inside, I think we have all had to come face to face with our inner-demons and mental health. I was super depressed for most of the quarantine and it was super hard. I think it is so important in songwriting to be completely honest and truthful. In fact, our experiences with our own mental health is what inspired this song. Having a hard look in the mirror has made us all become much more vocal about all challenges in our walks of life. In a way, it’s amazing. Life would be so boring if everything was constantly perfect. We have trial and error, we have flaws. It’s important that we all are vocal about it or we will just be “hidden.”
KTJ hopes to spread the message of self love and self acceptance of one’s messy sides, embracing the unique traits every human possess in their storytelling and music,”We are all one; the universe individually experiencing an aspect of itself. Humans are so complex, because dating all the way back to caveman times, it was imperative to be insecure about the parts of ourselves that were deemed out of style or stupid or bad in order to survive, because if we were kicked out of a tribe, we would literally die. But this is the 21st century now, and it’s important to realize that we are full of limitless potential, and if there’s an area in our life we want to change and improve, all it takes is self discipline and love. To be loud and proud of who you are becoming. If someone in our tribe doesn’t appreciate or like who we are ( I’m talking about what’s inside, not the materialistic/clout bullsh*t), then we can find a new soul tribe that loves us, no matter how ugly we feel.”
The pair of artists are aiming for their music to serve as a safe space for anyone who is feeling insecure about themselves. “Our mission is to let our listeners know they aren’t crazy and alone in this journey of life; though each of our journeys are unique, we all feel the same spectrum of emotions. But self discipline and self love can be hard. It’s hard to start over and rediscover yourself, it’s hard to be extremely self aware because the thoughts that you feel like you aren’t good enough start to creep in, and you go back into hiding your quirky, amazing, unique and beautiful self/soul. Don’t hide who you are on behalf of others’ opinions of who you should be. Most people don’t even know themselves, so who says they know you. On the bright side, once you become self aware, and you work on healing and becoming your highest self, the unhealed version of yourself starts to die, and a new and improved version of yourself who is not afraid to be themselves is reborn. We all want to have this perfect image of us in someone’s mind, but that’s ridiculous because it doesn’t exist, and it just ruins all the amazing and good things that are there. “The power of learning to accept to the good and ugly parts of yourself will eventually open to your eyes to the unreal expectations you set on others, no human being is without it’s own flaws and fault, KTJ further describes how destructive it is to putting anyone on a pedestal. “When we put others on a pedestal or vice versa, someone will always be let down, because we are human, and everyone has deep seeded issues that most people aren’t even aware they have. Just like in our song Rollercoaster, every single person will take you for the ride within their ups and downs, and you get to decide if it’s worth tagging along for the ride. We all have inner demons, and to overcome these demons is what I think makes life worth living. If everything was perfect, daisy’s and sunshine 24/7, life would be pointless. As above, so below.”
The open dialogue of inner battles are important as society is still coping with the aftermath of a global pandemic, As their music continues to promote healing and self compassion, KTJ offers this slice of valuable advice to their listeners. “We shouldn’t be afraid to have these insecurities and internal battles within ourselves, but better yet, we shouldn’t be afraid to speak up about having them, and possibly help someone else feel better about waking up in the morning. The brain is just as crucial as any other organ, and it’s a relief that humanity is finally waking up to that. The truth is, life isn’t always positive, but you can always find the positive in the negative, just as you can always find the negative in the positive. What you tell your brain to focus on will filter out everything else. Perception is reality. Why not see this messy, chaotic, funny thing called life a beautiful blessing?”
As we conclude our conversation with KTJ & CARLY, CARLY shares their forthcoming plans including live shows in July and new music, “We have a lot of new music coming. Our new EP, which we just started on has been a lot of fun planning. It will be released in 2022. The theme will actually be like a “sequel” to our debut EP, Identity. We have new live shows coming up FINALLY! We have a show in Fort Worth at the Ridglea Theater on July 9th at 8:30 PM, a show at Hotel Cafe in Hollywood on July 23rd at 9:30PM, and an acoustic set at the Hutton in Nashville on August 13th. Aside from live shows, we also are beginning to start scoring our very first feature film called, “God Save The Queens” directed by Jordan Danger. Can’t wait to get back out there after this past year.”
Photo Credit: Will Townsend