1940 9th St. NW
Washington, DC, 20001
Doors 7:30 PM / Show 8:00 PM
This event is all ages
Conrad Sewell will be the first to admit it.
“I was fucking over it,” he confesses. “Life on the road had become a whirlwind in the past few years. I was partying like a madman, and I completely fucked up a relationship I thought would last forever. When I started writing, I held nothing back.”
The Australia-raised and Los Angeles-based ARIAA Award-winning, platinum-selling singer and songwriter did just the opposite. Instead, he broke every rule and bled on his newest batch of releases, Come Clean and Healing Hands
[300 Entertainment]. Shedding ambiguity, he got blunt. Rather than censor himself, he candidly spoke on alcohol, drugs, a penchant for blacking out, and a myriad of mistakes driven home by that seismic, bluesy wail of his.
It’s not an apology though; it’s simply his raw truth over spacious production and minimal instrumentation.
That’s what makes the new tracks so raw, relatable, and real.
“It all came down to real stories,” he affirms. “I stripped back the layers and talked about shit I was actually going through. I rarely put myself into lyrics in this way before. I was as honest as I could be. That’s how I started though. It feels like I went around the world to end up where I began. I’ve ridden that train. Now, I’m excited for the next chapter.”
An unbelievable three years set the stage for this chapter. By 2017, Conrad had ascended to international renown. He garnered the coveted “Song of the Year” honor at the 2015 ARIAA Awards for his breakout solo single “Start Again.” Next up the hit “Hold Me Up” clocked over 53 million Spotify streams and preceded his debut EP, All I Know. Between touring with Ed Sheeran, Maroon 5, and Kygo, he earned praise from Entertainment Weekly, Teen Vogue, Vice, NBC, and Nylon who proclaimed him to be “Australia’s next great pop export.” Simultaneously, his voice carried to nearly every corner of the globe on Kygo’s “Firestone,” reaching RIAA platinum status, generating nearly 1 billion cumulative streams, and entertaining audiences everywhere from Coachella to Madison Square Garden. He joined forces with the late Avicii for the hit “Taste the Feeling” in addition to bringing “Sex, Love & Water” to life for Armin van Buuren.
Along the way, he penned the ideas that would eventually inform his newest body of work. Nodding to formative influences like Steven Tyler, Freddie Mercury, and Ray Charles, he retreated to the studio with “Start Again” producer Jamie Hartman [Christina Aguilera, Joss Stone].
“Jamie has a classic way of songwriting and timeless sense of melody and structure,” he goes on. “We focused on the voice. It’s pop music, but there’s a raw rock ‘n’ roll sensibility to it. I’d love to bring a little bit of that back.”
The stark and stirring piano chords and bluesy spark of his first single “Come Clean” serve as his clarion call to do so. Co-written by Conrad and Busbee [Maren Morris, Keith Urban], the sparse instrumentation gives way to a refrain that’s as caustic and catchy as it is cinematic and soaring. His honesty proves chilling as he croons the admission, “You make me want to come clean. Put down the booze and cocaine, show you my ghosts and my heartaches ‘cause even a fool can change.”
“I was with a girl that I loved so much she made me want to stop partying the way I did,” he admits. “However, I didn’t. The whole situation was driving me crazy at the time, so the words really just poured out in the studio. It opened the gates to the rawer lyrics that seeped into the new stuff.”
Come Clean’s follow-up single “Healing Hands” exudes unfiltered soul as his voice builds over an organ hum into a cathedral-size chant punctuated by fiery falsetto. Illuminating a knack for a narrative, it’s highlighted by confessional, true lines a la, “I used to turn off my phone. I used to never come home. You ask me where have I been and I would lie to your face.”
“Changing” further explores those themes, dissecting the fraying edges of a doomed relationship. Finally, “Man Enough” urges men to open up and be vulnerable by showing, “A real man does show emotion and is loyal to his wife … It’s something the world needed to hear.” Conrad’s story is also something the world needs to hear. In the end, his new work represents him at his most pure, poetic, and powerful “This is really who I am,” he leaves off. “For my whole life, the only thing I’ve needed to do is make music. I devote everything I can to it, and I always will. I’m here to entertain people. I hope to give them something to relate to. I want to share that passion and leave something behind that will last.”