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Celebrating 5 Years of Tell Me

Well hi!


It’s been FIVE YEARS since I released my debut album Tell Me. It’s quite hard to fathom this, as it simultaneously feels like one day and a million lifetimes have passed since. I’ve put out three more records since Tell Me, and I can say with complete confidence that I will never experience the magic of making that first record again.


Tell Me was the culmination of six years of writing. My debut single had come out at the beginning of my freshman year of high school, and EVERYONE had something to say about it. I decided I was going to prove that even at 15, I could craft a body of work, and the record arrived six months later. I recorded the album in my basement, shot the cover art on my staircase, and promoted it from my bedroom. The original record had 10 tracks, and I’d like to give you some insight into the rich history behind each of those songs.


Track 1: The Next Chapter

Written February 20, 2018

High school is a time that receives so much attention within media and I was increasingly thinking about leaving middle school and entering the rite of passage into adulthood. I was sitting in my basement, really stuck in a rut, when I pulled up a track I made a while back. I just kept singing the line “In the next chapter” over and over again, and I decided to fill the chorus with all the things I was looking forward to in high school. I’d say for the most part, those things ended up happening.


Track 2: I Want You

Written March 4, 2017

Much of Tell Me was written long before I was ever in a real relationship and I think “I Want You” makes that quite clear. There are no real love songs on this record, only songs about crushing and pining. I remember when I wrote this song I wanted to highlight the aspects of a person that weren’t as commonly talked about in songs, i.e. boots or a voice. Most of the track was produced on my phone in GarageBand and I later went back and swapped out different instruments.


Track 3: Tell Me

Written September 27, 2017

I had a pretty bad falling out with a friend when I was in 7th grade, and it inspired a lot of my music around that time. So much of this song was made using GarageBand stock loops and YouTube tutorials, but I remember how proud I was of this song because I truly never thought I’d be able to make music that sounded anywhere close to professional. I named the record after this track because I felt like it was a very rare instance of me standing up for myself. It was a demand for an answer. Fun fact: the “T-E-L-L M-E” you hear in the bridge is from the original 2017 demo.


Track 4: Nona

Written July 13, 2016

“Nona” (yes, it’s meant to be spelled that way) was a song I wrote after the passing of my great-grandmother, Antoinette D’Andraia. My Nona was the first person I lost in my life, and her death hit me so incredibly hard. I remember my mom sitting in the kitchen, writing her obituary, and I wanted to be a part of it. I wanted to dedicate a song to her. The original version, written in 2013, used much of my mom’s writing and had little to no melody (I was 9). Three years later, I re-wrote the song and eventually brought it to Shaul Dover, who helped me record the first version of it. Nona never got to hear my music, but I have a feeling she would’ve loved it.


Track 5: Anyone

Written May 26, 2017

The first draft of “Anyone” was written on a scrap piece of paper in my studio sometime in 2017. I had a rough year in 7th grade with friends, and I really was just trying to find my place. I spent the summer of 2018 begging my parents to let me release material into the world, and we finally came to the agreement that I could release one song. “Anyone” was released as my debut single on September 13, 2018. The response to the single was not overwhelmingly positive, but I don’t think I would’ve had the drive to make this record had I not been met with criticism, so I wouldn’t change anything. Fun fact: The project file of the song’s demo was accidentally deleted, so when it came time to record the final version, I had to recreate the whole track by ear.


Track 6: Aftermath

Written June 10, 2017

I was sitting in class when I got the idea to write a song using the metaphor of a storm. I had never gone through a real breakup, so I couldn’t speak from direct experience, but I imagined it felt like watching the world around you collapse. I envisioned buildings crashing to the ground as you’re sitting there, watching. This song is one of the most stripped-back tracks I’ve ever made, and I really love how each element holds a purpose in the mix.


Track 7: High

Written October 23, 2018

Much of the record focuses on where I was coming from, but “High” pulls us a little bit further into the present. I had been a freshman for just about a month when I was at my first party, watching people around me smoking. The song came to me after I spent the whole party with a person I wasn’t very close with, but that night you would’ve thought we had been best friends for a decade. When I saw her in school the next week, she totally ignored me. I was just so confused and it took a while for me to find where I fit in within party culture. I can’t say this was a one-time experience.


Track 8: Alone at Last

Written October 13, 2016

I met Evan Volkman when I was in 7th grade and he was part of the stage crew for the play I was in. He heard I was making music and asked me if I would be down to work on some stuff with him. He sent me some songs he had written, but we didn’t really amount to anything until I pulled out a song I had written a while prior. We re-worked the lyrics and Evan helped oversee the production. It was the start of a really fruitful friendship, and I’m very grateful for it. Evan was the only other set of ears helping me with this body of work, so it wouldn’t be what it is without his contributions, not just on this track, but through the record.


Track 9: Better Day

Written January 24, 2019

I had written a song called “Friends” which told the story about my middle school experience from beginning to end. I loved the song so much, but it felt like I had already spoken about my past experiences quite often. I decided to re-write the song in order to focus on the present. My friends’ voices can be heard at the end of the track, and I love that I was able to make them a part of this project.


Track 10: Had My Chance

Written June 16, 2016

“Had My Chance” was written about learning that sometimes it’s too late to fix things. So much of Tell Me revolved around me being upset over events that were out of my control. I felt like I had to end the record with the conclusion that I need to hold myself responsible for the things I do have control over. This is one of the earliest songs written for the album, and if I’m being honest, I think it still holds up pretty well.


Tell Me set me up on a path to get to where I am now. I don’t tend to go back to records once they’re released, but I had the pleasure of re-recording this album in 2022. It was so fulfilling to revisit these tracks and dig up some others that didn’t originally make the cut. I would not be here if it weren’t for you embracing me and this body of work, so thank you. From the bottom of my heart. There is so much in store for 2024, and I cannot wait for you to see.


Always & forever


Sean


Celebrate 5 years of Tell Me by listening here!

Shop brand new Tell Me merch here!

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