A Q&A With the Make It Count Contest Promotion Winner The Philharmonik

Videos by American Songwriter

“What’s It All Mean?” 
By The Philharmonik
Interview by American Songwriter

Christian Gates-Bahlhorn, aka The Philharmonik, is the American Songwriter Make It Count Contest Promotion winner for his song “What’s It All Mean?.” American Songwriter caught up with Christian to get the story behind his winning song. 


How long have you been songwriting? 

I’ve been songwriting for 14 years, starting out producing beats and rapping occasionally , eventually deciding to take over the entire process  by writing lyrics and adding vocals. Haven’t gone back since.

Why did you enter American Songwriter’s Song Contest? 

I saw the website pop up on my social media timeline a few times, and decided to make an investment in my art. There’s definitely much legitimacy to this contest, and I felt confident that the material I was submitting had enough depth to deeply resonate with the hearts of those who are willing to listen. 

What was the inspiration behind your song, “What’s It All Mean”?

Life has been the biggest inspiration to this song. I released this song on my 30th birthday as a gift to myself to not succumb to the woes of perfectionism. “What’s It All Mean” details my existential crisis in a way that reflects my relationship with life so far. I don’t know what’s really going on, or if life has inherent meaning, but I do know that overall I’m grateful for the experience of life’s mysteries: the good, the bad, and the ugly.

When it comes to sonics, I’m always inspired by the music I grew up on, hence the nod to 70s R&B/Soul. I feel like I’m chasing memories when writing these songs. 

Are there any songwriters, artists, or events that have especially inspired you lately? 

Stevie Wonder perpetually inspires me, as my favorite artist to ever live. The lyrics in his records (mainly Songs In the Key of Life and Innervisions) speak to my soul in the darkest of times and make sense of the insensible. Also, Christopher Cross brings me to a place of serenity often. A lot of artists from before my time (mainly late 60s to late 80s) play a tremendous role in my inspiration today. As for current artists, Mac Demarco interviews have been something that I relate to heavily lately. I also deeply love his music. As for events, I think the release of my recent album “Kironic” has been inspiring for me.

Are you planning on releasing any new music anytime soon? 

Since I’ve recently dropped my sophomore album “Kironic” on July 28, 2023, I’m focused on this album reaching the ears and eyes of as many people as possible. Though, I’m always working on music. I’ll probably release a song here and there to keep everyone engaged while I work on the next album. 

What would you tell other artists who are considering entering the contest? 

Do it. Even if you’re scared. Even if you think you’ll fail. Even if you think no one is listening. There’s always someone listening. The world needs your art, your music, your perspective, your wisdom, and your thoughts. You owe it to yourself, to express yourself. None of us make it out this existence alive. What do you have to lose?


Check out the winning song below:

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