Music-lovers, you’ve come to the absolute right place, because singer-songwriter extraordinaire AJ Rafael is sharing an exclusive new song with NMR readers — embedded inside the very page you behold before you is the beautiful “Beautiful Escape.”
When I last left met up with AJ, for our soul-baring chitchat, he was fighting off Darth Vader for a dragon’s trove of Halloween candy. This time around, he’s sharing the probable title track from his next EP, his intimate thoughts on the new song and the creative projects he’s currently working on. Check out the song and our interview below, and be thankful for AJ Rafael on NMR.
Why are you releasing this song right now?
AJ Rafael: It’s almost been 2 years since I released my full-length, “Red Roses.” That was such a huge project, but I have to remember that being an artist requires you to keep creating. Also, from the reactions of the snippet I put on Tumblr, I feel like people would like to hear the new track, which is awesome. It’s always scary releasing your own stuff. I hope people like it. And thank you NMR for hosting the release of the full track. I have yet to get an iTunes date, or a date of when I’m releasing it for purchase. For now, I just wanted everyone to hear the full song and have a place to go to before I digitally put it on sale.
What is “Beautiful Escape” about, and how long did it take you to write it?
This song is about feeling something for someone, but not exactly knowing what it is. What you do know, though, is that you want to get to know the — no matter what the outcome, and take them somewhere they haven’t been before. It’s about how beautiful the experience could be if you just open up your heart and let it happen. I was vulnerable during the time I wrote this song. I also had to put myself in a vulnerable situation when I recorded it, which is more than half a year after the situation. This was one of the songs that took more than just a day to write. I was all over the place trying to finish this one. I’m glad I finally did though.
Will it be included on your next album? And what can you tell us about your next album?
This may or may not be the title track of the next project, which will be an EP as opposed to a full-length. I asked for suggestions for a title for this song when I released the lyrics on Tumblr, and the title turned out to be a perfect description of what I was feeling at the time — so I’d actually say there’s a 90% chance it’ll be the title of the EP. I also got word yesterday that I’ll be recording the rest of the EP with Jesse Barrera, who was the producer of “Red Roses” and one of my best friends, so that’s exciting. Michael Alvarado (1/2 of the duo, “Us”) produced this track, though, and he did a fantastic job. Michael actually took what was supposed to be just an acoustic track and made it come alive with a full band. Michael’s the man for doing that, and rarely do I get to hear someone else’s completely different vision on one of my own compositions, and I’d have to say it’s an awesome feeling.
What other projects can we can expect to see come out from you in the near future?
Expect me to be working a lot with my band and Jesse on this EP. I can’t wait to get back in the studio, and also to get practicing with my new band. We have two new members, Chad Manalo on bass and Eric Kern on drums, with Andrew Rhim, who of course has been my guitarist since the beginning. I’m excited to be on this new journey with them musically. Also, I’ll be releasing a video on my main channel every week from now on. Actually, tomorrow (Tuesday the 8th) will be the launch of that. So keep an eye out for that.