For Michigander, a new release lights the way after a dark year.
The Detroit indie pop singer-songwriter shares a renewed sense of personal and creative purpose on his third optimistic, six-track EP, Everything Will Be OK Eventually, out today on all streaming platforms.
“I’m hoping these songs will become a soundtrack of a return to normal. I tend to write sad music, but it sounds nice and happy, and that usually kind of tricks people. People resonate with each EP and every song coming out at certain time frames in their lives,” said Jason Singer, aka Michigander.
“It feels weird to know this one will do the same thing, and I know one day I’ll look back on this time, so I try to enjoy it now. I hope it serves as a time stamp and takes people back to where we are right now.”
Released via C3 Records, Michigander’s Everything Will Be OK Eventually instantly transports pandemic-fatigued listeners to a hopeful nearby future filled with highly anticipated face-to-face interactions and group gatherings. Each melodic, expansive track allows people to release pent-up sighs of relief and shed lingering worries as they progress from one song to the next.
That cathartic return to normalcy starts with Singer’s latest exhilarating, spirited single, “Better,” as ascending, vibrant synths, roaring electric guitars, pounding drums and buoyant bass reveal a promising road ahead and a peaceful disruption in time.
Singer reflects, “You’re always scared of getting caught/Always questioning your thoughts/But you can’t hide how you feel/I wanna know how you feel/Feels like time is moving quicker, but I’m getting slower/Guess that’s just a part of getting older/Wish I could look away.”
“I tend to write music with the intention of knowing what’s the opener and what’s the ender, and I fill everything in the middle. ‘Better’ and ‘Together’ are purposely where they’re at on the EP, and it was very intentional to open it massively and close it softly. My favorite albums have great openers and great endings, and it’s something I always want to replicate when I make my music,” he said.
Let Down to OK
Singer started replicating his upbeat, immense Everything Will Be OK Eventually sound with the release of “Let Down” in September. The track’s swirling, propulsive synths, thumping drums, rotational electric guitars and bouncy bass serve as a strong, welcoming reminder to keep our hopes alive.
He cautiously admits, “You’re a concept worth exploring/Never nervous, never boring/I don’t wanna mess it up/No, I don’t wanna mess it up.”
“I think that song was like a big return to the big, anthemic rock sound that I make. It was cool to put that out in a time when nothing was really happening. It gave a jump-start to everything we’re about to do. That song really helped to bring in a ton of new fans, and it charted on the radio. I’m very stoked about it, and it set a good standard,” Singer said.
Singer obliterated that standard as “Let Down” gained instant traction on the Triple A radio charts and SiriusXM’s Alt Nation and The Spectrum while amassing nearly a million streams on Spotify alone.
“We had most of this EP done back in January of last year. We had to stop, and ‘Let Down’ was the one that was closest to being done. It was obviously a single based on the song, and I had been writing that song for years trying to get it perfect,” he said.
That quest for perfection equally continues on the dreamy, orchestral “Headlights” as sparkling, placid piano, whispering synths, elevated electric guitars, soft drums and tranquil bass beautifully conjure a wistful reverie.
In Tokyo Police Club-like fashion, Singer reveals, “Would you meet me in the middle/If I gave you all my time/We could try to make it simple/But we’d probably lose our minds/I’m staring outside the door/And I’m looking down the street/Waiting for your headlights/Just staring back at me/Well I can’t get over you/And I don’t think that I want to.”
Co-written with guitarist Jake LeMond, “Headlights” serves as a multi-year creative journey that evolved after the release of Michigander’s fan-favorite Midland EP in 2018. For Singer, the track took several twists and turns until it arrived at its final Everything Will Be OK Eventually destination.
“I had this demo of six pianos playing different parts that are on loops the whole time that come in and out. It creates this weird sound in your head, and I did that over the course of a really long time. I was like, ‘Man, this song is good, but I cannot finish it. I can’t figure out where it goes and what it does,’” Singer said.
“And I was like, ‘Jake, I’d love to write a song with you,’ and I sent him a couple, and that was the one he was stoked about. He helped me finish that song and made it a good one. Jake’s one of my best friends, and it’s always good to collaborate and write with your friends.”
While he relishes collaborating with LeMond on “Headlights,” Singer also celebrates the unexpected upside of solitude one year into the pandemic on the antsy, Phoenix-esque “OK.” Tingling, shimmery synths, galvanic drums, jittery electric guitars and profound bass echo the increasing importance of practicing gratitude in the present moment.
Singer reveals, “You’re the only one that I wanna see right now/But since you’re not here, I think I’ll just go home/Kickin’ up the dust as I wander round downtown/I’ll do anything to not go home/It’s OK to be lonely/It’s OK to be alone sometimes.”
“I used to be someone who needed to be out and about doing something with people every night of the week and constantly making plans. And now I just want to stay home all the time. I’m starting to get into this mindset of eventually returning to the road and playing shows. Thinking about that now is stressful because I want to play shows, but I also don’t want to be gone for a month at a time anymore,” he said.
Right before live music went on a pandemic-induced hiatus, Singer started laying the groundwork for Everything Will Be OK Eventually with longtime collaborator and co-producer Jake Rye. He opted for a cinematic sound backed by programming and samples that evolved his signature indie pop sound from the live stage to the studio.
“Jake helps the thing that’s in my mind come to fruition. He’s good at taking my mess and making it sound clean, but I can play all the parts and do all the stuff. Jake can organize it and make it sound the way that it should,” said Singer, who started working on the EP with Rye in November 2019.
“I wanted to do something new since I couldn’t jam with my band, and I needed something to do to make the music better. Naturally, it was using some stuff from a computer, which is where I spent most of my time over the last year.”
Midland to Detroit
Singer’s musical journey started while growing up in Midland and performing marathon cover sets in local dives and watering holes. By 2014, he relocated to Kalamazoo and achieved viral success with his debut Michigander single, “Nineties,” two years later.
That emerging success quickly led to two exquisite EPs, Midland (2018) and Where Do We Go From Here (2019), and the haunting single, “Misery,” which has surpassed 6 million streams across multiple platforms.
Along the way, Singer toured locally and nationally while appearing at rising music festivals like Mo Pop, Audiotree and Voodoo. He also shared the stage with indie rock favorites Mt. Joy, Hippo Campus, Silversun Pickups, The National, Foster The People, Moon Taxi and Alt-J.
“For my whole life, I always wanted to sign a record deal and be on the radio. I’m able to make music every day, and I’m so appreciative of that opportunity. At the same time, I’m always aware it could slip away from me because growing up I was taught nothing is ever guaranteed,” said Singer, who recently relocated to the Motor City.
Today, Singer feels grateful about the release of Everything Will Be OK Eventually and will celebrate it with a new video for “Better” as well as a livestream show at 8 p.m. tonight from Detroit’s El Club. He also will return to a socially distanced, in-person live stage May 7 with Mt. Joy at Riverside Station Detroit.
“Into the summer and fall, we’ll probably play some real shows in front of real people, and I’m really looking forward to that. While it feels good, it’s a lot more exhausting than it used to be just because I haven’t done it in a while. We were really on a good kick as a band live toward the end of our last couple shows. And now it will just take a minute to get back to that,” Singer said.