January saw Texan singer/songwriter Ryan Hamilton announce his 1221 project, the concept of releasing twelve new songs, one every month across the year of 2021. His initial release was a gorgeous cover of the Spin Doctors ‘How Could You Want Him (When You Know You Could Have Me)’, which proved a hugely popular choice with fans and the Spin Doctors alike, with high praise coming from members of the band.
This month’s release – just ahead of Valentine’s Day – is a rockier number, suitably packed full as a box of chocolates with “I love you’s”.
On the story behind ‘Déjà Vu, Hamilton explains: “being in love, and in a relationship is a lot like a dance… and you need a good dance partner to be successful. When you’re with the right person, whether things are good or bad, having a sense of ‘I’ve been here before, and I know what this person wants/needs’ is an important thing to have. That’s what this song is about. It’s about that ‘dance’, and being able to weather the proverbial storm in a relationship.”
Boasting more hooks than a pirate convention, evoking the feel of classic Weezer thrown into a blender with the Killers, Déjà Vu instantly has the feeling of a song that will prove a live favourite, once in-person shows become a thing again.
Accompanying the new song, Hamilton sports a dizzying array of looks in his new video, some oddly unsettling, some downright hilarious. “Firstly, I’ve never had more fun making a video,” he says. “I wanted to portray different people from different walks of life, and love… But I don’t think I was quite ready for the level of ridiculousness. Haha. But, sometimes you just gotta embrace the fun. I think this is my favorite video I’ve ever made.”
Using present-day recording techniques over the internet, 1221 sees Hamilton continue to collaborate with UK-based producer Dave Draper. The pair recorded Hamilton’s solo EP of Country covers, ‘Communique’, during the very first lockdown of 2020, in isolation on two separate continents. Communique proved to be a winning formula, scoring Hamilton his first iTunes No. 1, a feat repeated with his subsequent release with the Harlequin Ghosts, ‘Nowhere To Go But Everywhere’, an album that also scored high on multiple Official UK Charts.
Hinting at what future 1221 releases have in store, Hamilton teases, “I am LOVING the diversity, and freedom of this ‘1221’ project. I’ve been in touch with some of my favorite music friends, and I’m excited to let folks know about upcoming collaborations. But, I better not say anything just yet.”
Until then, let’s experience a little Déjà Vu.
Hamilton was recently heralded by Spin magazine as one of the ‘Best Lesser-Known Artists of the Last 35 Years’.
Each monthly ‘1221’ track will be released digitally across all regular platforms for download and streaming via Stevie Van Zandt’s ‘Wicked Cool Label.