Singer-songwriter, Niall Sexton is back with his new single, “SKiN”, and a video to accompany the release. This release follows his previous singles, “Next to You (Acoustic)” and “Counterfeit”.
His sound is an eclectic blend of electronic, soul, and R&B, which pulls you in and keeps you wanting more, and this ’emerald-eyed’ singer-songwriter intends to do just that in the coming months, with a continuation of single releases and a debut EP set to be unveiled.
Check out the video for “SKiN” below, and find out more about what Niall’s been up to via our mini-interview.
So, Niall – since our last interview what has been up with yourself?
Hey guys! First off let me say a huge thank you for having me back to help debut my new single ‘SKiN’! I really appreciate it! I believe our last interview was 2 years ago which is crazy; it’s flown by. Since then, to say there have been major highs and lows would be an understatement! I spent the rest of 2019 gigging around Toronto while still trying to fit studio time in with my normal job, as at this point I still worked part-time in a bar downtown! And obviously then when COVID hit in early 2020, it turned my life upside down! I had so many plans set up for 2020; like gigs and potential touring with other artists around the country but all of that went bust! At first, I took this as an opportunity to really dive into online collaborations, which opened up a whole new world for me. I was always so used to being in the same room with the people I create music with so to suddenly be sitting in my bedroom with a pair of boxers on writing over zoom was very strange for me haha It just didn’t have the same vibe which was pretty disheartening but I had to remind myself that it was the only option I had and to just roll with it! After a while though to be honest, my motivation took a nose-dive and I was just extremely overwhelmed with the pandemic and my personal life/mental health was being affected! I decided to take a little bit of a step back and focused on just trying to maintain my happiness outside of the music industry and decided to move back to London, UK. I was having visa complications so that did have a part to play in it as well, but I just wanted to give my life a bit of a fresh start as I was searching for inspiration to carry on doing what I loved! Fortunately, doing that has really helped and I’m now back with my third single called ‘SKiN’ which is a heartbreak track with a new age hip-pop production style to it! I’ve been really working hard honing in on who I am as an artist and portraying that through my music in what I want to say to the world and the involvement on the production.
Tell me about the vision behind the song & music video for SKiN.
The song ‘SKiN’ was initially written and intended as a heartbreak piano ballad. As I said, I have been struggling with having consistent motivation and inspiration over the past year; I mean, there hasn’t been anything new or exciting happening as we have all been in lockdowns constantly. So I decided to reach into my ‘locker’ of emotions from the past and dig up some old relationships and how they made me feel. My mind immediately brought me back to a time where I had my first experience in a relationship being an openly gay man – people may not be aware, but this is a huge deal as for most of my teenage years I lived my life feeling oppressed, uncomfortable and embarrassed of who I was; so to be free of any demons and finally get to experience being with someone without the personal shame, felt like a huge weight being lifted off of me! It felt liberating. This relationship didn’t work out in the end and it truly shattered me. It made me feel a TON of emotions but I distinctly remember being in a Uber at 2 am after leaving his bed, knowing it was ending – I smiled. It was like one of those ‘Devil on one shoulder, Angel on the other’ type of moments. I felt hopeless and torn apart, but I smiled as I remember thinking ‘Well, I guess this is what emotions and inspiration feels like’ as I had never felt this before! This song is so personal to me and it’s a joy to listen back knowing that I turned a hellish situation into a piece of art that I am very proud of.
In terms of the video, my brother & I produced it during a lockdown. Also, due to the fact we were on opposite sides of the world made it a little difficult, but we powered through. We would just video call each other and he would pretty much direct me via zoom. I have been recently very inspired by the 90s grunge scene, from sounds to personal clothing style, to music videos and visuals. I wanted to emulate this but put my own spin on it. To do this, I used a fish eye lens to give it that edgy feel! The whole concept on the song is me living in my own head, going crazy as I couldn’t get this person off my mind, or as the song says: out of my ‘skin’. Even after all these years, I couldn’t stop thinking about him and he had left a huge mark on me. Every single emotion I had ever felt since that night I left his bed (sad, insane, angry, desperate), I wanted to showcase in the music video – all the things I could never say out loud to my friends over the fear I would be labeled ‘needy’, I was able to portray in this video. It’s a rollercoaster of emotions, to say the least – I mean it starts out with me in a straight-jacket haha I swear I’m not actually that crazy but we all have these emotions bubbling underneath the surface from time to time. We are all human! Watching the video back now that it’s finished, I am really proud of what we have accomplished (especially due to the fact it was very DIY and shot on an iPhone during a global pandemic). It’s definitely my most conceptual video to date so I want to give a huge shout-out to Killian for his help!! I really hope everyone enjoys! ♥️
How do you feel you have changed over your last couple of singles?
I have gained 10lbs since last year, is that what you mean? Haha – In many ways, I haven’t changed massively. I just feel like I have settled into who I am as a person. I feel more confident in being 100% my authentic self without worrying about what anyone may think. Being able to do this is definitely reflective in my music; it’s more honest and open than it’s ever been! I just feel a sense of pride when I listen back to my writing now, knowing it came from a legit experience or a real emotion. It’s very easy to just write a song to write a hit, which isn’t a bad thing necessarily, but there’s that extra special ingredient when it comes from a real place and people can really relate to it! An example of this is a song I have written recently called ‘FOMO’ – fear of missing out. I have been struggling with a lot of anxiety the past year and this track was written about the self-inflicted FOMO I had when missing out on all the experiences my friends were having because I didn’t want to leave my bed due to my anxiety attacks! Thankfully this has gotten a lot better, but it’s a constant struggle for me personally! I am really excited for the world to hear this one, coming soon 👀
How would you describe your sound to listeners who’ve never heard you before?
I always find this a difficult question to give a straight answer to. It’s in the pop realm for sure. I have been exposed to a lot of hip-hop music since having lived in DT Toronto for a couple of years, so I have often said my music is within the genre of ‘Hip-Pop’! However, I love electronic pop music, I love simplistic ballads, I love crazy obscure production. I love it ALL! I never want to be put in a box, but for now, you should just listen to ‘SKiN’ as it definitely gives you a clear idea of the sort of lane I’m going down right now! I am just a fan of great music and melodies in general with a cool concept and good lyrics! Let’s keep it simple 😎
Any other messages you want to give out to the world?
Yes!! This past year has been TOUGH!! and you know what? YOU ARE HERE!! You made it this far!! So keep it up and try and find small joys in anything/everything you do! Take it one day at a time and know that If you aren’t feeling the best, it’s not for forever. Even though you may not feel like it will, the clouds always pass! Making music has helped my mental health so much and I am so glad it’s being talked about more nowadays. Just take care of yourself. Be kind to others and most importantly, be kind to yourself!
My personal goal for 2021 is to love myself so fu*king much and to release soooo much music, so keep an eye out for this guy! This is my year and I can feel it! Thank you so much anyone for taken the time to read this! ‘SKiN’ is out now, you can grab a copy on all major streaming platforms. Check out my social @niallsextonmusic for any updates on further releases or if you want to follow the journey! Thanks again to Canadian Beats for the coverage and STAY SAFE EVERYONE♥️
I’m Jenna, and I am the founder and editor of Canadian Beats. I have had a strong love for Canadian music, which started many years ago. I have a passion for promoting these talented Canadian bands and artists, and that’s how Canadian Beats came to be. I am so proud of what it has become over the last few years, with many talented music lovers and writers coming together to spread the word of Canada’s music.