Photography: James Dryden
Nick Ward is currently one of the most promising artists in Australia’s indie music scene. Debuting in 2018 with the shoegaze-y ‘Crush’, Nick has since performed beside the likes of BENEE and been signed by Good Manners/Hunnydew Records. Incredible things keep happening for him with his new track ‘I Wanna Be Myself or Nothing At All’ affirming this.
Since not wanting to ‘live in his skin no more’ in ‘Crush’, Nick has come a long way with his new track rejecting self-sabotage for self-acceptance. On his Instagram, Nick wrote that this tune ‘scared the shit’ out of him, and that the first demo had been collecting dust since 2018.
Now evolved and comfortable with who he is, the track projects raw emotion and vulnerability. The melancholic lo-fi beat and hard-hitting lyrics, "Remembering the days when I wished I was straight / And I wished I was like the people that I hate" reflect the nineteen-year-old’s darkest insecurities and identity clashes. In the song's journal entry lyrics. he states that his whole life, his perception of masculinity was distorted, symbolising a rebirth for the artist.
Midway through the track, shaky breaths replace despondent lyrics ("Kept my thoughts a secret / Almost thought I’d keep them / Going to a school where closet kids get eaten"). This element illuminates the feelings of discomfort when opening up and destroying walls. The repetitive titular lyric, "I just wanna be myself or be nothing at all’" highlights Nick’s unwillingness to compromise for others' expectations. This is him, in all his powerful and beautifully unconcealed glory. Take it or leave it.
New Zealand’s Lontalius features in this track to accompany Nick's smooth vocals. In the final minute of the song after his heart has poured dry, Nick and Lontalius’ vocals fuse to close the track and induce emotion. The way the pair synergise and complement each other signifies that nobody is ever alone and that there is always someone who understands you.
In a press release about the single, Nick shared, “I like to think that I’m the truest version of myself - but that’s bullshit. Even though it’s gonna be a while until I am that person - I think that [this song] is a step closer.”
‘I Wanna Be Myself or Nothing At All’ by Nick Ward is out now on all streaming platforms.
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