Braden Bales is one of those age-old artists who let their instincts guide their art. His debut EP ‘NOMAD‘ is a perfect example. In an exclusive interview, the rising star opens up about the EP, his creative process, and his journey through emotions and vulnerability.
Braden’s approach to creating music is refreshingly unorthodox. He emphasizes feeling overthinking, a philosophy that drives his musical journey. When asked about his songwriting process, Braden explains, “It doesn’t come from my brain. It’s not logical or intentional. The more I think, the less it does. It happens to you instead of through you.” This emphasis on spontaneity and emotion sets the stage for his unique sound.
Before entering the studio, Braden creates a blank slate for himself. He immerses himself in music, often AfroBeats, during his commute, focusing on the feelings rather than the words. He clears his mind to let the music guide him, allowing the songs to take shape naturally. As he puts it, “I try to be blank and make the song that comes to me.” This approach has led to the creation of heartfelt tracks that resonate with listeners.
“Chronically Cautious” and the Viral Phenomenon
The EP kicks off with “Chronically Cautious,” a track that caught fire on TikTok. Braden recalls the moment it went viral, saying, “I was on a walk, my heart was so full, and I was freaking out. So quickly after that, I just felt a numbness. The biggest thing I took home from going viral is that nothing actually changes.” It’s this juxtaposition of emotions and the ever-present conflict that permeates his music.
Braden has a unique gift for expressing complex nonlinear feelings in a linear way. His lyrics are like sniper bullets, sharp and impactful. Lines like “How can optimists be cynical?” and “Suffocate the fire I started right when it kindles / Passionate but fickle” showcase his lyrical prowess. “ROI” follows a similar lyrical pattern, exploring the highs and lows of life’s journey.
Throughout “NOMAD,” Braden grapples with the idea of home. He describes the EP as a “desperate attempt to claw my way out of loneliness while still desperately trying to be somebody.” This conflict within himself is a central theme, and it’s something he embraces. When asked if he’ll always have a nomadic spirit, he replies, “I do think being a nomad is part of my identity. Music is the #1 priority for me in life, no matter what. I would prefer to be nomadic and lonely for the rest of my life if that means I can be successful.”
Diving deeper into his personal journey, Braden reflects on a trait he wishes to reclaim from his childhood: the belief that just being himself is enough. He shares, “I think the biggest thing I lost from childhood to now is the prospect that just who I am is okay. That’s something that I’m trying to get back.” Success in the music industry led him down a path where he felt defined by his achievements and the numbers associated with his work.
However, amidst the chaos of the industry, Braden has remained true to his empathetic nature. He values being understood and seeks solace in vulnerability. With “NOMAD,” he feels more understood as a person, with a body of work that encapsulates his deepest emotions.