I remember taking a first listen to “Foolish” by singer/songwriter TROY (aka Troy Doherty) on a snowy winter morning commuting to work. I instantly thought to myself “It would be absolutely foolish to pass on the chance to interview Troy on this powerful, soul-wrenching single. The refreshing pop ballad centers around the heartbreak people deal with after being the one who ended a relationship. That is, being the one who’s often left with feelings of guilt and doubts, but also a whole lot of love for the other person regardless of the decision to break up with them.
“Feeling lonely, but that’s alright…” marks the first line of the song. Troy’s smooth warm vocals feel like a hug and instantly draw you in. He lets his vulnerability shine through, provoking with honesty and rather stripped back arrangements, that make any instrument stand out in the mix.
We got to chat with TROY about his journey from being a kid singing in musicals, to a successful career starring in Broadway shows in New York and later in numerous TV series (The Last ship, This is Us, New Girl to name just a few) produced in LA to being the awesome singer/songwriter that he is today.
Troy, thank you so much for taking the time to chat with us about your brand new single “Foolish” (released on February 12th) and the songwriting process that led to this powerful ballad. Tell us a bit about the backstory of the song, would you?
It was the day after Halloween, and I woke up feeling hungover. I checked my phone and realized that my ex had texted me the night before and I never texted her back. I felt bad because I didn’t get back to her. It was in that moment that I realized I still had feelings for her. I sat down at my piano and started writing…
How does music help you express things you couldn´t express otherwise?
Music helps me get out of my head. I have a lot of thoughts that run through my mind – constantly. When I’m writing and creating music, it helps me express the feelings I might normally just bury or try to hide.
Your song is a shining example of spot on storytelling, not only with regard to the lyrics, but also when taking into account the instrumentation and arrangement. How did you hone your storytelling skills and what makes good storytelling in your opinion?
Thank you so much! Yeah, growing up in the entertainment industry I was fortunate to have read hundreds of scripts from some of the best storytellers. Those experiences were cool because it helped me learn to connect with people beyond my natural ways. Also, being a huge fan of music growing up inspired me to want to write songs that were impactful. I believe good storytelling triggers emotions within people and helps them through situations.
Very true! You wrote Foolish all by yourself. How long did it take you to write the song and how did you approach the songwriting process altogether?
I wrote Foolish in about five hours. You know, when you’re in the zone, it just flows. Before I took it into the studio to record, I sat down with my producer, Marti Frederiksen, and we talked about the song’s meaning. From there we began to fine tune the arrangement. Each song is different. Some songs come instantly; some take more time. I try to remain wide-open with my creative process allowing things to flow naturally whenever possible. That said, there are also times when I have an idea that just needs to be developed.
That makes sense and leads me to my next question…As an artist, do you ever encounter these crippling feelings of doubt or insecurity whilst creating (e.g. when a song just won´t come out right)? If so, what are your proven coping strategies?
Absolutely! If I had a nickel for every time I doubted myself I‘d make more money than I do on streaming – haha, but you gotta power through. Sometimes you just gotta step away. I’ll work out, go for a walk, or call a friend to help clear my mind. Then I’ll get back to it when I’m ready. That could be hours, days or weeks…
Foolish was recorded and produced at the Sienna Studios in Nashville by none other than Marti Frederiksen, a renowned hit producer who has worked with artists like Aerosmith and Carrie Underwood amongst many others. Please tell us how the recording and mixing process has altered the song and how the collaboration with Marti went for you?
Working with Marti is like working with Obi-Wan Kenobie. He’s incredibly wise and insightful and a musical force. As you mentioned, he’s worked with some of the best bands and artists in the world, so I consider myself fortunate to be working with him. Marti was very instrumental (pun intended – haha) when it came to the arrangement and mixing of Foolish. Marti knew I wanted to record killer backing vocals. So, once I had recorded the vocals along with the piano, Marti added amazing instrumentation and sound to enhance the song. He’s the master at producing power ballads. I’m so happy with how it came out.
What kind of music has shaped you the most throughout your life? Who were some of your biggest influences music wise?
I’m a fan of all kinds of music, from Pop to Rock to Motown to Musicals. I love Queen, Elton John, Ed Sheeran, Huey Lewis and The News, and so many others…they’ve all influenced me in some way or another.
Being an actor and a musician in Hollywood, what do you think are some traits an artist of either trade should bring along, when launching a career in this industry?
There are a few traits that come to mind, but above all, you’ve gotta believe in yourself. Let’s face it, if you don’t believe in yourself why should anyone else? Both industries are highly demanding and challenging and require you to be confident and vulnerable. It takes a lot of work to balance those two traits. Another key trait is staying power or the will to never give up. To me, never giving up coincides with believing in yourself.
Well said! Self-belief is especially important in these crazy times. The pandemic has forced performers around the globe to cancel their live shows all through 2020 and is continuing to do so still. How do you think can artists stay connected to their audience and generating value for their fans but also generating revenue for themselves?
Yeah, the pandemic has definitely hit the music industry hard as it has for so many other industries. Initially the pandemic put a damper on my performance plans, but it also gave me the opportunity to write and record more music. A few weeks in, I got the idea to start performing on my driveway for the neighborhood, all socially distanced of course. The shows took on the name of the “Cul-de-sac Concerts” and the neighbors really seemed to enjoy them as they grew in popularity. I ended up playing something like 25 shows while streaming live to my Instagram and Facebook. Some people were generous and provided tips. As artists, I think we owe it to ourselves to find ways to keep going when the going gets tough. Social media and communication technologies have enabled artists to stay connected with fans. New texting services, private chats and video calls have all helped strengthen artist-fan relations during this time. I think we need to keep challenging ourselves to try new things. I also think the industry is going to bounce back, bigtime. And when it does, let’s gooooo!
Last not least, if you could write but one more song, what would the title be?
We did it.
Cheers to that! 🙂 Thank you so much Troy and best of success to you in 2021 and all throughout your music journey!
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