Everything evolves. Life shifts, moves in different directions and is full of inevitable changes and experiences that can leave most feeling lost. For Sean Nicholas Savage, the past few years have been immensely transformative, and the Canadian artist traverses all these raw reflections in Life is Crazy (Arbutus Records), a beautifully orchestrated opus of maneuvering through defeat… and ultimate triumph.
“I just want to reach out with these obscurities and maybe meet somewhere more intimate emotionally with my people out there,” says Savage. “In I think most of these songs are sort of about dealing with defeat, like, this is me defeated, and this is how I’m answering.”
Life is Crazy is Sean Nicholas Savage’s theatrical renaissance. His beautifully orchestrated canvas navigates life complexities from its cinematic opening of “Years from Tonight” and more esoteric notions about our place and space on earth in guttural “A Moment,” Life Is Crazy effortlessly glides into the barer revelations of “I Believe in Everything,” and dramatically sweeps through the chilling close of “In The Silence of The Crowd.”
For Life is Crazy, Savage pulled in new collaborators, including piano virtuoso Marcin Masecki, and the Grammy-winning composer Owen Pallett on strings. Savage says he approached both with some demos he had with him playing piano and keyboard strings, and the two returned their more textured interpretations for the album.
“Marcin reinvented my piano compositions, and Owen realized the few string arrangements I had and then entirely composed the rest,” says Savage. “They brought a lot, but I think that’s what makes it work with so little, that they’re both so good. I could never have done anything like that.”
By mid-2019, after Savage finished writing the musical “Please Thrill Me,” he first started chipping away at Life Is Crazy with the idea of crafting a more minimal piece of work that predominantly influenced by his study of musicals and love for the ballads at the centre of each—the ones that exposed of the main characters’ life and dilemmas.
“Even though there are so many elements to music that I enjoy, we’re living in a world where everything is available,” says Savage. “I thought I should reduce the menu, so to speak, or focus on my writing and singing, which is basically all I can offer that no one else can—my soul.”
Considering that life really does seem crazy these days, Savage insists the title was a complete coincidence—but one that works. “It was an accidental mantra for a long time,” says Savage. “Everything in this world is so damn Shakespearean sometimes. I see everything happening in the world all around me in friends and family and places I know. It’s been crazy the whole time.”
So much has changed of Savage since his 2011 debut Flamingo through the more pop-fused Screamo in 2018, a time when the artist admits he felt completely lost. “I was in a bad place, but I’ve listened to it recently, and I think it’s beautiful still,” says Savage. “Flamingo is another life, and I admire those memories from a distance.”
At this moment, Savage says he has truly entered a new chapter with Life Is Crazy, one that sets a completely new stage for the artist.
“I feel liberated and able to apply myself more efficiently,” says Savage. “I have better songwriting skills now, but I was searching for so much more at that age. I’ll never write like that again, every single thing has changed—a few times even. Everything’s different.”