Joey Contreras


Growing up in southern California, pop singer/songwriter Joey Contreras has literally been exposed to music for more than his entire life – his mother, a singer herself, performed at concerts while little Joey was growing in the womb. And it shows – since moving to New York, Contreras received the ASCAP Foundation Max Dreyfus Scholarship recognizing his promising career while attending the Tisch School of the Arts’ Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program at NYU. He says he works to combine pop sensibilities with the storytelling of theater, as demonstrated on his release, Love Me, Love Me Not: The Music of Joey Contreras. However, we’re here today to discuss his latest record, a LP titled Young Kind of Love.

Joey Contreras4Contreras gave us the download on the latest effort, saying to expect “A lot of heart. I wanted this album to be super accessible and something that people could dance to, cry to, and generally enjoy during life’s ups and downs. There are also a lot of great vocalists on this album. As a songwriter, I’ve approached this record very much in the vein of like how Zedd or David Guetta will have a bunch of featured vocalists, so you’ll see a lot of that on here; lots of great singers from the pop and theater worlds. The writing was therapeutic for sure. These songs are my successes and my disappointments in both life and love over the last few years.” Click to www.joeycontreras.com/ to get into Young Kind of Love and prepare for much more from this up and coming artist – he’s only just begun. But first, keep reading – there’s so much more to jump into in all the answers to the XXQs below.

XXQs: Joey Contreras

PensEyeView.com (PEV): How would you describe your sound and what makes you stand out from others in your genre?

Joey Contreras (JC): I have such eclectic tastes and influences, that I kind of cross a bunch of genres. Being a huge pop music fan, I like big, hooky choruses and slick production, but I also write for the theatre, so storytelling and specifics are a part of my songwriting DNA as well. Overall, I try to develop strong melodies and satisfying arcs to my music, regardless of genre.

PEV: What kind of music were you into growing up? Do you remember your first concert?

JC: I grew up listening to a lot of Michael Jackson, Pat Benatar, Janet Jackson and Madonna with my parents. A lot of pop. Mariah, Whitney, Toni Braxton. My first concert was Paula Abdul, ha! And then I became a total 2000’s/TRL kid – Britney, N Sync. All things Max Martin. All that music runs through my veins.

PEV: What was it like trying to break into the music scene when you first started? What was your first show like? 

JC: It’s always a hustle. Especially as an independent artist, because you don’t necessarily have a machine behind you and so you’re wearing a bunch of hats. You’re the talent, the booking manager, the marketing, the social media, etc. But I try to just write and record what I dig and hope others will continue to be interested and listen! As for my first show, I grew up in theatre, so I’ve been on stages since the age of 5. My first show probably involved tap shoes and sequins. Ha!

PEV: What can fans expect from a live Joey Contreras show?

JC: Not tap shoes and sequins. At the moment. Now belting and key changes however…

Joey Contreras 12PEV: What is the first thing that comes to mind when you step on stage to perform?

JC: Deep breaths. Focus. Have fun.

PEV: What is the best part about being on stage in front of an audience?

JC: Having a shared evening all together and getting to underscore it with my music and my stories.

PEV: What was your underlying inspiration for becoming a musician? 

JC: Music has been part of me since birth. Literally. My mom performed in concerts when she was pregnant with me, so it really has just always been in me. But the songwriting aspect of it, it’s all about sharing and connecting and being able to relate with people.

PEV: Thinking back to when you first started out, do you ever look back on your career and think about your earlier days and how you’ve arrived where you are today?

JC: I’ve definitely workshopped some questionable ideas in the past that I’m glad happened before YouTube. I’m talking chair routines and costume changes. The #BritneyInfluence.

PEV: What’s one thing we’d be surprised to hear about you?

JC: I’m obsessed with ping pong.

PEV: What do you do when you hit a brick wall in your writing? What are some methods to get over that?

JC: Whiskey and Thai food. Truth. Also taking a shower and just singing, humming… random, I know.

PEV: How do you think the industry has changed over the years?

JC: Just how embedded the producer/DJ/songwriter has become in pop music. I know tracks have always been a huge part, and there are definitely exceptions, but the approach to writing music has gone so beyond just starting as a piano/vocal.

PEV: What can fans expect from your latest release, Young Kind Of Love? What was the writing process like for this album? 

JC: A lot of heart. I wanted this album to be super accessible and something that people could dance to, cry to, and generally enjoy during life’s ups and downs. There are also a lot of great vocalists on this album. As a songwriter, I’ve approached this record very much in the vein of like how Zedd or David Guetta will have a bunch of featured vocalists, so you’ll see a lot of that on here; lots of great singers from the pop and theater worlds. The writing was therapeutic for sure. These songs are my successes and my disappointments in both life and love over the last few years.

PEV: With all your traveling, is there one area you wish you could travel around and play that you have not yet?

Joey Contreras 45JC: I want to play Chicago, Austin, New Orleans…really mainly for the food though.

PEV: How have all your friends and family reacted to your career?

JC: Well it’s not like I’m Taylor Swift. YET. But my friends and family continue to be incredibly supportive and many of my accomplishments are because I’ve had them by my side.

PEV: What can we find you doing in your spare time, aside from playing/writing music?

JC: Watching a lot of Netflix and trying to find the best Mac & Cheese in NYC.

PEV: Name one present and past artist or group that would be your dream collaboration. Why?

JC: Present is definitely hard. I have to name two. Max Martin (because he’s a pop genius) & Sufjan Stevens (because he’s a versatile soundscape genius). But like I’m also not gonna pass up an opportunity to collab with my girl Britney either. Past – Michael Jackson. Because regardless of whatever, he was incredible.

PEV: Is there an up and coming band or artist you think we should all be looking out for now?

JC: She’s already blowing up, but Tori Kelly is just all kinds of incredible and needs to be a massive star. Her latest single is pop magic.

PEV: If playing music wasn’t your life (or life’s goal), what would you do for a career?

JC: Something still creative. Whether that be in food or randomly…interior design. Which I kind of suck at, but maybe it’s cause I like watching HGTV.

PEV: So, what is next for Joey Contreras?

JC: The Billboard charts (putting it into the universe).

Check out Joey’s video for Ohio NOW!

 

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