“Friends are an essential part of life, and I wanted to create a song people could listen to together,” says Michael Lanza. His new song “Friend,” written on Mother’s Day in Half Moon Bay, a town just south of San Francisco, bottles up the magic of human connection, the kind for which we’ve all been desperately searching over the last year.
“My family brought the dog to the beach, and I was watching all the other people play with dogs,” the LA transplant recalls of the day, two years ago, when the song came to him. “It just reminded me that dogs are the most loyal friends we can have. The song is really about friends of all kinds but thinking about the relationship between humans and dogs is what inspired me to write it.”
Lanza carried around the demo until his move to Los Angeles, only then did he finally flesh it out into a full recording. Rewind, get lost inside your mind, he sings across a starry blanket of production. You Try but you can’t hide / A sadness in your eyes / But don’t cry / It’s just a phase in life / Don’t fight the change inside.
Acoustic guitar bubbles alongside plush synths and sparks of percussion and drums. It’s soothing texture certainly plays into Lanza’s intention for the song “to feel welcoming and give off a ‘togetherness’ kind of energy. That’s why it has big claps throughout the song,” he explains. “I picture big crowds of people singing together and clapping along. It’s just really positive, and I want it to bring people together and serve as a reminder that we all go through hard times, and we all need a friend to lean on sometimes.”
“I really like that this one is a ballad. I have other songs that are a similar tempo, but this is the only song that truly feels like a ballad to me,” he adds. “I think it’s important to have songs with a more timeless sound.”
The accompanying visual, filmed across Los Angeles, Malibu, and Santa Clarita, stars a white Japanese Spitz named Soya and a black Maltipoo named Fluffy. With guidance from video producer Wesley Wong and NYW Media, Lanza’s “Friend” invites the viewer to forget their worries and escape into a three-minute sunny wonderland. Can you feel us getting closer / After all these years, how the hell did we both end up here? he ponders Anytime you need a friend, I’ll be there right by your side / Say where you wanna go / I’ll come along for the ride.
Originally from the Bay Area, Lanza is something of a musical chameleon. Often drawing upon R&B music and “a lot by music from the 80s,” he says. “I think this influence can be heard in ‘Friend’ through the synths. It’s very subtle once the song gets going, but without it, the song would just sound like another acoustic guitar-style song.”
To-date, he’s landed opening slots for Major Lazer, ARMNHMR, Vincent, and Drake Bell and produced for the likes of Ron Reeser, GhostDragon and Chow Mane. His song “Lion,” co-produced with GhostDragon and Reeser, reached to No. 23 breakout on the Billboard Dance chart, with many subsequent tracks collecting millions of streams, including “Deserve,” a collaboration with Midsplit. Lanza released his debut album, Human, in 2020.
Watch the “Friend” video below.