AJ Smith is full of innovative ideas, but his pop-rock songs have a classic flavor that anyone, anywhere, can enjoy. His newest single is called “Nobody”, and it’s paired with a video that takes inspiration from one of everyone’s favorite streaming shows in recent years: Bridgerton. VENTS had the pleasure of talking to AJ Smith about how he started writing music, the love story shown in the video, and more. You can read that interview below.
When did you start writing music? When did you realize you wanted to start taking your talent and skill more seriously, entering the pop industry?
I’m sure my mom has my first composition somewhere, but I must have only been 5 or 6. It was on the heels of going to my first concert ever – my parents took me to see Yanni! And then around 10 or 11 I asked my parents to get me recording time at a studio for my birthday. The songs weren’t great, but they were adorable. I don’t think my own family realized how much I wanted to seriously enter the industry until I was in college. I almost didn’t realize it myself. But I was in a songwriting elective class and my teacher pulled me aside to talk about pursuing a career more seriously and it felt like I was finally hearing what I needed to hear to give me the confidence to take that leap. And I’ve been writing songs ever since.
Who are some of your main musical inspirations/role models?
Freddie Mercury, Bruno Mars, Ryan Tedder, John Mayer, Jack Antonoff, and too many more to mention!
What was your inspiration for “Nobody”? What was your creative process behind the lyrics and incorporating classical underpinnings in this next big hit?
I wrote “Nobody” about a party that I went to in LA where everyone was asking for my Instagram handle before they asked my name. It felt so bizarre and like I was getting pulled into this clout chaing, surface-level world where people cared more about being “verified” than about getting to know the verifiably real human beings right in front of them. I wanted to write about how, yeah, I want to make a name for myself, but I don’t want to be somebody that I’m not in order to get there. And that’s how “Nobody” was born.
Can you explain the love story that is being told through the “Nobody” music video?
My character is an artist at a high society, Victorian-era party where everyone cares more about ending up on a dance card than getting to truly know anyone and the artist (me) is reduced to the background. But, as scandals make everything more interesting, we find out that the lead (my real life fiancee) and myself are having a love affair, which angers the man courting her. I’ll leave it at that and leave viewers to watch the drama unfold in the video, but I will say that we had to learn a few stunts.
What was your experience shooting with this cast of people and traveling back in time to create this tale that can be told all through visuals and without words?
It was absolutely unreal. I love the process of filmmaking and, in another life, I think I’d find myself behind the camera more often. Even with our low, independent artist budget, we transformed a space into a Victorian-era event. And it was so magical being on set with everyone. My fiancée also choreographed the court dance we performed in the video and teaching it to everyone was absolutely hilarious. And the actors were incredible.
What do you think audiences will admire and relate to most about “Nobody” and its accompanying music video?
I hope that they admire the dedication to the craft! And I hope they admire the love story and the meaning underneath – that our dreams are all significant, no matter where we are in the process. We are all beginners at some point, so never let anyone hold you back. And defend your dreams with all that you are.
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