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Chiseko reveals a personal and vulnerable part of himself on ‘Payday’


Last week, Perth artist Chiseko blessed us with his new single ‘Payday’ alongside its accompanying music video. The track follows the rapturous response to Chiseko’s song ‘Care’, featuring Your Girl Pho, released earlier in the year. ‘Payday’ shares a new slice of Chiseko’s promising talent in addition to revealing some vulnerability as he touches on his personal battles.


Chiseko says ‘Payday’ is about hustling and triumph. “It’s like looking back on mistakes that you’ve made and being like, “Now I’m trying to enter into boss mode. I’m not doing those things again, I’ve learnt my lesson and now it’s like, let’s move, let’s hustle”. It’s very much a song about triumph.”


Curated by US-based producer Kapone, the song commences with the strum of an electric guitar immediately followed by a bold brass component made up of full-bodied notes. The hypnotic sound of the instruments immediately entrances listeners and curates a feeling of suspension for what’s to come. “I always try to envision what certain feelings and emotions sound like in a musical form,” Chiseko says. “I feel like as artists we’re almost like characters in our own films and we’re trying to paint this picture and certain scenes have different flavours and sounds and textures.”


The use of brass instruments in ‘Payday’ is a valuable element of the song as it represents the horns used centuries ago to announce a triumphant occasion. Chiseko references to films set in Ancient Rome and the way horns were played in the wake of a victory and that he wanted this particular sound to be in this song to tie into the whole feeling of triumph and success and overcoming obstacles.


The head-bopping drums and beat break through as Chiseko begins to rap, “I nearly lost my job day dreaming, I stayed scheming”. Chiseko’s lyricism isn’t something to look past as he puts meaning into every word he says. His ability to write directly from his heart is exemplary, as he captures his thoughts and emotions through cleverly composed lyrics that he subsequently delivers with such confidence and power.


The song is undeniably rousing and straight up real, as Chiseko opens up about genuine issues he has fought through in the past and the things he’s still struggling with. An example of where he is blatantly authentic is when he raps: “Often times I be negative and depressed, I’m tentative at my best except when I’m saying rhymes”. He also slips in his passion for making music in this lyric.


“When an artist really means something, you can tell straight away,” he says. “Sometimes it sounds very robotic, and you can’t really relate to it, but when they mean it, it almost touches a different part of your soul. Its deeper than just surface level.”


Chiseko says he struggled to figure out a hook, initially planning on a few bars of soulful vocals before deciding to incorporate a spoken word part in the section. “I’m not going to put a hook in it, but instead maybe I can add a little narrative section that kind of helps to explain the concept of the song and ties the whole thing together. I also feel like a lot of people don’t really do that type of thing where instead of having a hook, they have a section where they’re speaking. I was like, yeah that’s kind of different, and I’m always trying to do really different things with my music.”


Chiseko decided he would do the spoken word section himself. “It had to sound candid and a lot of times when you’re reading things off your phone, it’s impossible to make it sound candid. So, I just got in the studio, and I just started saying whatever. I did that for about an hour or two, and eventually I came up with that and I was like, okay that works, it has a good feel to it, like it feels real, and I guess because it feels real then it will touch people in that way.”


Chiseko says he struggled to figure out a hook, initially planning on a few bars of soulful vocals before deciding to incorporate a spoken word part in the section. “I’m not going to put a hook in it, but instead maybe I can add a little narrative section that kind of helps to explain the concept of the song and ties the whole thing together. I also feel like a lot of people don’t really do that type of thing where instead of having a hook, they have a section where they’re speaking. I was like, yeah that’s kind of different, and I’m always trying to do really different things with my music.”


Chiseko decided he would do the spoken word section himself. “It had to sound candid and a lot of times when you’re reading things off your phone, it’s impossible to make it sound candid. So, I just got in the studio, and I just started saying whatever. I did that for about an hour or two, and eventually I came up with that and I was like, okay that works, it has a good feel to it, like it feels real, and I guess because it feels real then it will touch people in that way.”


Chiseko uses this opportunity to touch on things he was going through, saying, “Back in 2017, I was really struggling, I was dealing with imposter syndrome, I was dealing with sickness, I was dealing with stress, nearly gave up and let myself get carried away.” This part of the song is intensely powerful and allows listeners to feel more connected with the human behind the music.


“In terms of the actual content of the track itself, because I took such a long break because there was a lot of stuff I was going through and stuff that I was doing that wasn’t necessarily healthy or good for my wellbeing, you know involving myself in things that are questionable. The song is kind of a reflection on that and it’s me looking back at some of the mistakes I made in the past which I plan to delve deeper into in the future in other songs, so it’s kind of setting a precedent for those songs as well.”


The primary theme of ‘Payday’ is to utilise your life learnings and successes to pave the foundations for your future. Chiseko says in the track, he reflects on his past and where he was in his career and then looks to the future at where he is trying to be and the things he must do to accomplish this vision. Chiseko listed some examples of this, including sleeping in the studio, ignoring music critics, and avoiding engaging in behaviour that could cause harm to himself.


“It is very much a reflective song and I think after we did ‘Care’, the idea was to show people more of myself and to add a bit of depth to the character. ‘Care’ was a very meaningful and personal song and everything I say in that song is absolutely true, stuff I’ve been through and was going through at the time, because I don’t like to lie in my music, but with ‘Payday’ it was asking, What about the other side of Chiseko?”


Chiseko certainly gave us insight into a vulnerable and deeper part of who he is as a person as well as an artist through his new song. It will not be surprising if ‘Payday’ has left all of its listeners wanting more from this talented budding artist.


Photo 1 by @_jackogrady_ / Photo 2, 3 & 4 by @itsanglo


Words by Liv Declerck