The Era of Producing Huge Hits from Small Spaces
A microphone is taped to a bedroom lamp while a Macbook sits on the desk with GarageBand running and a notebook filled with scribbles of lyrics. A pair of headphones lays propped up against a wall covered in photographs, each one like a note composed in the melodies being pieced together. For some of Gen Z’s most popular music artists, the art of producing music right from their own bedrooms carries a sense of familiarity and nostalgia that has revolutionized the music industry completely. Artists like Conan Gray, Finneas O’Connell, Gracie Abrams and Clairo have broken the norms of what it means to be a successful artist without any of the flashy equipment or recording studios the industry has held on to for so long.
Best known for his sentimental musicality and raw tones, Conan Gray’s career in music sprouted from a makeshift studio in his own bedroom, where he created his earliest hits “Idle Town” and his EP “Sunset Season”. One of the most self-made “Bedroom Pop” artists, Gray not only recorded all of his first songs on the well-known recording software GarageBand, but also designed and filmed all of his own music videos to coordinate with them. Fast forward just a couple years later and what began as a homemade studio transformed Gray into a popstar touring the states. Yet despite his newest debut studio album and growing fame, many of his songs still hold the same “smalltown” quality that they first did. In fact, many of his fans keep his earliest songs as their favorites because of how close to home they feel. Gray, like many other “DIY” artists, has brought the industry a quality of intimacy and rawness that just can’t be found anywhere else but one’s own bedroom.
Finneas O’ Connell is yet another artist whose career sparked from within his own family’s bedroom. Best known from his sister Billie Eilish and her album, riddled with unique sounds and harmonies, Finneas produced their first songs with basic recording equipment surrounded by a bed and bookcases. Using the recording software Logic Pro X in addition to a few monitors and speakers, Finneas and Billie discovered a similar sense of intimacy to Gray--one that was unique and could only be achieved in the bedroom. Even after worldwide tours and a large explosion in their fanbase, they still sometimes return to the bedroom, just to get that sound that truly can’t be found elsewhere. Finneas’ early work, like his production of “Ocean Eyes” also reveals the freedom found within producing music yourself. With no one but himself and his sister in their makeshift studio, the sky was the limit as to what they could try and experiment with. It’s that same freedom that is largely to thank for the one-of-a-kind feeling that made them so well-known in the first place.
Other artists like Clairo practically defined the meaning of bedroom pop, gaining much of her fame from “Pretty Girl,” which was posted on Youtube, recorded and messily stitched together with Photo Booth, paralleling the lo-fi quality of her music. It’s that unpolished rawness within the Bedroom Pop genre that has attracted so many aspiring musicians to put out their music regardless of the equipment they have. Artists Gracie Abrams and Claire Rosencranz are just beginning their music career from within their own homes, posting their songs on platforms like Youtube and Spotify.
Gracie Abrams, known for her collection of fragmented originals on Instagram, has released a stream of her music on Spotify, all produced by her boyfriend Blake Slatkin from a bedroom studio--complete with LED lights and photographs to set the mood while they create. The upcoming artist was just set to go on tour for the first time in LA before the COVID-19 pandemic hit and drastically put a hold on concerts and tours. Despite the setback, Abrams continues to write and produce songs from her home where she is quarantined, showcasing yet again the way Bedroom Pop has revolutionized the music industry, perhaps for the better.
Just like the bedrooms they produce from, each artist’s vibe is unique to them; it’s their "do-it-yourself" outlook and wistful creativity that strings them together in the Bedroom Pop genre. Conan Gray, Finneas, Clairo, Gracie Abrams, and Claire Rosincranz are just a few of the artists who have metamorphosed what it means to kickstart a career right from your own room. And in doing so, they have shown that with just a few pieces of equipment and a space that feels like home, it really isn’t difficult to produce huge hits from small spaces.
Written By Kyrie Varieur