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I wrote Mindgame at my lowest. I had been in LA six months and I earnestly felt like my life had spiraled downward into some twisted, real-life episode of the Twilight Zone: Hollywood Edition. I had no friends. I was broke and unemployed. But worst of all I didn't have anything to show after six months of writing in LA. Not one song. I was on the verge of being forced back to Minnesota. 

I resented the idea of returning empty handed. With what I thought was my final month in California, I purchased five instrumentals and decided it was going to be my next project. It had to be, and it had to be done now. I began a pretty ferocious studio regimen in February this year; with it, I slowly felt momentum shift in my favor. In one month I successfully wrote and completed more songs than in the previous eighteen months combined. The "mind game" concept gradually, but naturally, revealed itself.


Mindgame – read between the lines.

The Mindgame EP is my first project since relocating from Minneapolis to Los Angeles last fall. The tracks are produced by MdL (Justin Bieber, Maroon 5, Sammy Adams) and Mantra (Rihanna, Future, Sean Paul). Recording was done at my private studio in Silver Lake, Los Angeles.

The concept of Mindgame is derived from the toil I experienced transitioning from the midwest to SoCal. In short, I discovered that success - both the actualization and realization - is all in our head. We often perceive success as something physical or quantitative: an award, a certificate, a million Spotify streams, etc. I think we forget that these physical items manifest from a mental origin.

Every track features some sort of character struggle, whether that be internal, external, or both. The lead single "Sonder" describes the oftentimes dark reality of going for it all and the sacrifices that undoubtedly accompany. The second single "Heard of Me" showcases the struggle of fighting to be heard in the modern music scene. Even the most pop sounding track on the EP ("All I Know") is riddled with conflict as the chorus resounds, "All I know is the road ain't paved in gold, it's dark and it's colder than cold."

The EP is dark hip-hop/pop/alternative with upbeat accents. Overall, I wanted to convey the duality of success through opposing lyrics, emotions, and sounds. I hope the concept of success as a mind game influences listeners to reflect on what their personal measure of success may be. Ideally, this notion would spark a sense of control over their own success, but only after addressing their own mental hurdles.
Their own mind game – if you will.


Mindgame drops on my label Torena Records September 8th.

Download Mindgame radio edits