I was immediately captivated by the simplicity and genuineness of Nick D’Andrea’s voice. It feels therapeutic, cathartic, and it makes you feel something. And it’s on beautiful display in his new track, out today: “Running Scared.”
On March 22nd, D’Andrea posted an acoustic performance of the song on his Instagram and dove into some of the lyrics and what they mean to him, especially in this time. He labeled it as “a time of transformation.” In his caption, he told the story of the song using the biblical story of Jonah and the whale.
“We have each become Jonah’s, buried down in our separate whales.
Confronting what is inside, and hopefully growing together in love and compassion for ourselves and each other.
This is about being afraid of that transformation, and thinking that maybe you could outsmart it, outlast or outrun it, and finding out how wrong you are.”
That insight provided a lot of depth to understanding the lyrics and where he was coming from when he wrote it. This song is incredibly humbling and forces you to look inward, finding where you may be running scared in your own life.
“Heaven knows it’s the hardest thing
Trying to be brand new
Let it flood and the bluebird sing
Just let the spirit move”
“I thought the trees were the forest too
I thought the light was the moon”
I think we all struggle with an overwhelming realization of all of our flaws, leading us into a headspace where we feel like we have to dig ourselves out. The story of Jonah is adjacent with that feeling. In faith, we know that running away from it can lead us to where Jonah once was inside of a whale. The idea that we all have our own whales makes perfect sense, and I love the comparison of this story with our own lives.
“I’ve been hiding a flame
It started burning the moment that you
Knew my name
Now all my love
Is an open vein
It’s pouring out of my heart
I can’t be the same”
I love the expression of those lyrics. I’m a Christian; we believe that you truly are changed when you find the love of God and it’s hard to ignore that change. As humans, we try to. We want to go our way, and we want to have complete control. It’s a very incredible feeling when we realize that we don’t have to carry the burden on our own.
“If your running scared
If your under the waves
You better find your lord”
When we’re in the circumstances our world is in today, it’s hard to find the good and it’s hard to see the light. Music is such a moving experience, and D’Andrea’s song created nothing but that for me.
It didn’t need much production as the lyrics did most of the talking, but what it had added so much. The harmonies in the chorus emphasized the idea of running and the constant drive of the acoustic guitar, light piano, and drums created that perfect experience to accompany the lyrics.
This song is a beautiful message of self reflection and hope in a time that the world really needs it. I highly recommend giving it a listen.
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Hey, Nick! You’ve got a new album on the horizon and a new single out today, “Running Scared.” Could you give us a little summary of the past couple months leading up to this? What was the recording process like?
I’ve been working on this group of songs for a little over a year. They were all coming from the same place of a spiritual reawakening after a long bout of being in a pretty low place, and processing what I was learning on the spiritual path through songwriting.
In January I got a grant from a local arts organization that gave me the ability to start recording. When quarantine started, like a lot of people I was working from home. We had just moved, and I built out a home studio in a corner room of the basement in the new house. The sump pump closet became the vocal booth. Most of the musicians I knew were figuring out how to work from home, so as I got demos done and I started sending them out to the drummer Aaron Bishara and bass player Seth Bain, I played with in my bands Doc Robinson and Nick D and the Believers. They would record ideas at their place and we’d pass them back and forth.
This single was the first song we finished with this process. It felt like the best representative for what the rest of the album was going to be in style and theme. It came together surprisingly quickly, and once it made it to Matt Vinson to mix, he had it 90% there on the first pass. Finishing this song really primed the engine for getting the rest of the record done. It was kind of the proof of concept and established what the workflow needed to be.
There’s so much to talk about in the world right now. How do you feel as a musician during these times?
SO much. I think eager to find ways to be useful is the best I can put it. All of the ways that musicians can usually serve the community, bringing people together, creating pockets of joy, trying to express the collective feeling of the moment; have all become complicated in this time, and it has definitely tested the ingenuity of everyone to adapt to the moment and still fulfill that role.
I think it can seem like music is a luxury, and that when something huge happens, like the economy collapses, that it will be dismissed or left out of the conversation. But I think more than ever people have looked to music and musicians for relief and community, and we’ve been able to still serve in that essential role that music has throughout time, providing the soundtrack of life, and creating the space to connect to each other meaningfully.
There’s been an incredible movement in my hometown of Columbus, Ohio called Curbside Concerts, where people can request musicians to be sent to visit people that have been having a hard time with the quarantine. The musicians are sent out in pick up trucks with speakers and spend the day making rounds, like doctors making house calls, to play private concerts for people. I think that’s the perfect illustration of how people still appreciate and believe in the power of music to be healing, and give something that is fundamental to life and what it means to be human.
Any plans to supplement the rest of the year with gigs? As in, different types than you normally do (online/outside/private or custom)? What can your fans expect next?
I think like everyone, I’m still waiting to see what everything looks like with live events over the summer. But I’ve had some great experiences with online performances over the past few months, so i’m definitely open to doing more of those. But I’m hopeful by the time the record is ready for release in late fall, that I’ll be able to have some kind of live performance and gathering to share it with the community.