Pop music is defined as catchy and appealing to a mass audience, but it is less noted for thought-provoking lyrics or depth because honestly, while Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream” puts me in the mood to dance every time, it never leaves me with a need to look deeper into the song. Thus seems to be the majority of pop music these days, and the goal of many musicians is just to hit the Billboard Top 10.
This is the crisis fellow Rollins student Aaron Childree ‘11 faces as he attempts to make a career for himself in the music industry. “It is definitely a struggle,” he says. “It is important to write music you want to write, but still reaching an audience. You need to find that balance… I have set out to provide people with music that makes them want to bob their heads and dance but also has the lyrical depth to allow them to take the music beyond the surface level.”
Childree is already making that happen. His debut album, So Much More to Say, was released earlier this year under his control and with his own money. The songs come from personal experiences that he hopes other people can relate to. He describes the album as “a positive message” and “hopeful.” This spirit is expressed in his album’s title, as Childree explains, “hope fully this is just the start of my career.”
The album consists of five songs that cover a range of feelings, but Childree’s voice rings through distinctly in each one. His favorite track is the slow “Better than Walking Away.” “It talks about how things do not always go the way you expected. You have to learn to forgive others and yourself and keep going,” he says.
The thing I appreciate most about Childree’s debut is his dedication to providing meaningful lyrics for his melodies. “Pop music sometimes compromises too much to reach a mass audience, but people want to hear intelligent music,” he comments. Childree is majoring in music and minoring in creative writing, and his poetry classes especially have influenced his songwriting skills. The liberal arts curriculum at Rollins also affected him. “It is important to be well-rounded. I opened my eyes when forced to take those classes.”
Graduating from Rollins this spring, Childree has mixed feelings about leaving the place he has called home for four years. “It is both exciting and nerve-wracking. I have learned so much and met some cool people.” He plans to continue recording and is always writing. In the summer, he hopes to tour locally and play with his band, which includes Mark Lambert ‘11 and Hamilton Holt student Paul Terry.
While his music may not be in stores yet, you can visit his website, www.aaronchildree.com, or purchase his songs via iTunes.