Erin Bowman’s new EP is an honest and open look into one’s 20s. Check out her new music video for her cover of ‘Kiss Me’ by Sixpence None The Richer.
‘I haven’t figured it out yet,’ Erin Bowman confesses in her song, ‘Steps On Stones’, from the soon to be released EP Apartment 101. Riddled with heartbreaking honesty, the new project comes off the heels of the enormous success of her song ‘Good Time Good Life’ back in 2017. With a slightly different sound and creative direction, the EP literally invites listeners into Bowman’s real life; each song is accompanied by an introductory video filmed in Bowman’s very own apartment, Apartment 101.
Bowman has been singing most of her life. Right out of high school, she began commuting to New York City from her hometown in New Jersey to meet with music producers to pursue her career in music. The hard work paid off, evidently, because Bowman began writing and recording her own music at the age of eighteen. After the release of her first single ‘Problem’ almost eight years ago, Bowman has only gone up from there. She achieved massive success with her song ‘Good Time Good Life’, which debuted on an episode of NBC’s hit series, This is Us.
We were able to chat with Bowman about her debut EP, from the inspiration, the process, and any advice she’d give to others dealing with the ups and downs of life (hint: listen to your gut).
The songs on this EP have such a relatable message, about not really having anything figured out yet and trying to get to that place. Were there any concrete moments that inspired the project as a whole, or just the experience of being a young adult?
I think I was struggling with changes happening in my life, like a move across the country, ending a 7-year relationship, career frustrations, and then I spent too much time focused on the wrong people and person. Maybe I was looking for something and hoping or thinking I’d find it in him. I was very wrong. It made things worse. It was just shit piled on top of shit. Paints a nice picture, doesn’t it?
Your lyrics are so honest and vulnerable. Is there any fear that comes with putting that out into the world for everyone to hear? Or is it more cathartic?
It’s cathartic for me. I wanted to make music that made it clear what I was going through, what I was feeling. And that’s exactly what I did. The only time it makes me cringe a bit is when my parents hear certain lines in the songs. HA!
I love the lines ‘I‘m afraid they can hear it in the way I talk / little girl, big world, guess she got lost’ and then ‘I just want to be okay’ from ‘Something to Say’. It really speaks to imposter syndrome, almost, and how hard it is to prove yourself in such a competitive world, no matter what industry you’re in. How do you deal with that, and any advice for anyone else struggling with the same thing?
Sometimes you know or at least feel like you know exactly what you’re talking about and what you’re doing. Other times you’re a mess. That’s part of life though, it’s full of ups and downs. I think accepting that you’re gonna have shit moments is important. Life isn’t perfect and that’s ok, making mistakes is ok. Ignoring red flags when they’re the brightest of red…not ok. Go with your gut; that’s the biggest lesson I’ve learned over the past couple of years. I’ll never go against it again. Or at least I’ll try really hard not to.
It’s clear that your music is really lyrically driven. Almost every song has an unexpected layer to it. Who or what are some of your biggest inspirations as a songwriter?
I am such a lyrics girl. A lyric that catches your attention, one that sticks with you for life, that’s gold. ‘Take it Easy’ by The Eagles is one of my favorites lyrically. ‘Don’t let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy’. I mean…preach. The Eagles are full of amazing lyrics. ‘Desperado’ is another one…’freedom, oh freedom…well that’s just some people talking’. That lyric hits me so hard in the best way. Newer music, I think Amy Shark is a fantastic lyricist, so open and honest. Bands like Third Eye Blind, Matchbox Twenty, Goo Goo Dolls…all great lyrics. The list goes on and on! I could talk lyrics all day.
Do you find it difficult to tap into an emotional state when writing lyrics? Or does it come easier than one would think?
It has never been easier for me to write lyrics than it’s been over the past couple years. I think when you have something you’re feeling and it’s strong, songs just pour right out of you.
Is there one song on the EP that means the most to you, or one you like the most?
‘Apartment 101’ is probably the gem for me. Lyrically it does happen to be about someone specific, but really, the song is about life and learning. It’s about never fully learning everything and accepting that.
After all of your success from your first few songs, was your immediate instinct to go in a new direction musically and lyrically? Or was it something that evolved naturally during the process of working on the EP?
I think my life had just changed so much. I was feeling so different. I couldn’t keep singing songs like ‘yeah, we’re all about a good time’ when I felt like someone was sucking the soul out of me. That’s a bit dark, but it’s true. My life became this emotional rollercoaster and the new style of songs just poured out of me.
So the EP is named after your own apartment, Apartment 101. What inspired the idea of filming the introduction videos to the songs on the EP in your own apartment?
I had a tough couple of years and the songs are quite sad and emotional. But that doesn’t mean I’m only sad and emotional! I wanted people to see that’s not all I am. I’m quirky and pretty happy go lucky. But I’m also a creative, so I can be all over the place. The videos let people see more of who I am. And the EP is so personal, making videos in my own living room of Apartment 101 made perfect sense to me.
Can you tell us more about what your time in London brought to your music? What was it about that trip that took your style to this new direction as this seems to be a pivotal point in your career?
You just wrapped up your tour, named after the EP. How did it go? Any favorite shows or moments while on the road?
It was great to get on the road and perform these new songs. It’s great to be able to connect with people. I stopped in several cities I hadn’t been before so it was nice to see those! Seattle, Portland, Boise, Austin and Birmingham. I also had my first hot Krispy Kreme, so that was life-changing.
Erin’s music video for her cover of ‘Kiss Me’ by Sixpence None The Richer is out now, and her EP Apartment 101 drops November 1st.
interview by Lauren Olivo
photography Black Box