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After spending a childhood between Tennessee and Florida, 22-year-old recording artist Briston Maroney landed in Nashville and developed a style steeped in the sweat and scrappy sounds of the city's DIY house parties, winning over fans one living room at a time.

The American artist has built his burgeoning reputation as an energetic live performer, developing his in basements, living rooms, and jam-packed clubs. Whilst it feels like a distant memory, it really wasn’t too long ago when Maroney was spending a significant amount of his time in 2019 on the road, including sold out headline shows both here and around the world, dates alongside Cold War Kids, and international festival performances spanning Austin City Limits Music Festival to Pitchfork Paris.

Briston like many other artists around the world was hit hard by the confines of the pandemic, having to cancel all shows in the foreseeable future. Rather than letting it get the better of him, the artist has used it as a time to improve, not just as a musician, but as a person as well. “I really have been in a pretty positive mindset, for the most part I’ve been doing some really necessary looking in the mirror a really goes emotion experience. I think it’s involved me more on a human level, getting my priorities right. It’s made me put more value into being genuine with everything I create.”

This year has been an equally impressive one that has seen Maroney gain even more momentum, there has even been an extraordinary resurgence of Maroney’s ‘Freaking Out On The Interstate’ that was first released via Maroney’s ‘Carnival’ EP (2018), the song has gained serious traction as of late, garnering more than a million streams a week and bringing the Knoxville native’s catalogue up over 50 million global streams – all prior to the release of a debut album. The track regained attention last month, when Maroney released an acoustic rendition of the track, whilst also performing a full-band performance that was recorded at Alex The Great recording studio in Nashville.

When talking about the success of the track through the app TikTok he admits: “It’s the strangest feeling in the world, there’s nothing like it. It’s totally unprecedented. I mean yeah there is nothing else that spreads at that rate, the Tik Tok audience are incredibly smart young kids who are just so cool. This song I wrote when I was young. Two years ago, when I was pushing the folk-Americana thing, it’s just so different, seeing these two worlds collide, but it’s been much needed.”

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It has been quite remarkable to see the songs resurgence, hitting the same heights, if not higher than a newly released single. Maroney admits: “It definitely made me look around, upside down and relive and revisit a lot of things. My life is sort of in a different chapter now, in that the song was written three years ago. Of all the ways for it to come back, through TikTok... talk about the absurdity of life.”

The absurdity of life is something that is very clearly on Briston’s mind, a topic he tackles in his latest release. ‘Deep Sea Diver’, the single marks the first song off a forthcoming 2021 debut LP. The single was produced with the help of John Congleton, a relationship the two aim to continue. The track arrives alongside a companion video, directed by the Nashville-based singer-songwriter’s long-time visual collaborator Joey Brodnax, when talking about the video Maroney says:

“It was so fun to make, the song was recorded last February which feels like a lifetime ago. With the video we wanted to draw light on how strange reality feels now, day to day life doesn’t feel that off from sci-fi. Everything feels so surreal, we wanted to play on things in the natural world that are super strange without leaving reality. The whole tennis court scene, tennis is fucking weird the more I think about it. Especially in a time like this, how funny is human behaviour.”

From talking to Briston Maroney it becomes increasingly clear just how humble he is, thanking me for every bit of praise I give his songs and constantly getting across how lucky he feels to do what he loves. The conversation sees us discuss his rise to fame, latest successes and favourite moments so far.

It only felt right to end the interview by asking about the future: what is ahead for Briston Maroney? Taking it all in his stride he answers “I’m a man about to jump off a boat for a music video… you can watch it if you like.” Maroney’s ability to maintain such a sincere relatability despite his ever-growing success is a genuine revelation, we take our hat off to one of the nicest guys in music.

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Words: Josh Crowe

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