The singer-songwriter previews the music he is working on for his new EP and explains how he uses social media to his advantage.
When speaking to Trevor Douglas, one of the first things one would notice about him is the deep awareness he has of himself and the music industry. His incredible talent, showcased in his music as well as demonstrated during his stint on American Idol, is fueled by his ability to improve upon himself and use what is in his reach to the best of his abilities.
In addition to his talent and knowledge, hard work is the backbone of his actions – whether he’s recreating favorite vines or mastering music for his new EP.
Trevor’s vine video – something he last told Teenplicity had “relaunched” his career – gave way to a new insight of how to use social media to widen his fanbase.
“I try to think about it a lot,” he says of how social media has affected and influenced his career. “[I think about] what I can do to bump my brand.” The singer has friends to help him out with that, from those starting their own production company in New York to photographers that he can work with on a regular basis. “I have a really great photographer friend named Alexandra Thomas. She’s been helping me get some really cool trendy pics for not just my social media but for my music and my branding in general.”
I wasn’t fully ready with everything else.
For posts on sites like Twitter, Trevor thinks of what will give him the farthest reach. “I always think about tweets, things that might be funny enough to go viral,” he says with a small laugh. “That’s the biggest way. I try to think about how [social media] works and how I can use the system to my advantage.”
It has also allowed the singer to connect with fans on a more intimate level. He welcomes this aspect, and even recognizes the fan Teenplicity brings up when talking about the teasing tweet sent to him regarding his slow video uploads to YouTube, something he said he’d do much more of at the beginning of the year but hasn’t been able to due to the work on his EP. “She’s really cool!” exclaims Trevor about Sierra, the joking fan. “She’s one of my fans – she’s from Arizona! She’s really funny [and] has a degrading sense of humor.” In fact, Trevor adds that he has a “pretty decent” fanbase in Arizona. “I like to go back there when I can. It’s pretty cool.”
Comparing releasing an EP to singles or covers like what is on his YouTube page, the first thought is the time spent. “When you do just one song, it’s really fast,” he says. “It’s really just easy. It’s one song; you don’t have to think about the bigger picture. You don’t have to think about how it fits in an order of things.”
With a new EP and two promotional singles – “Pressure” and “Stay By Your Side” – already released, Trevor confesses that his thought process wasn’t like that. “I wasn’t fully ready with everything else,” he reveals. “I’m pretty sure most people have their EP or their album pretty much finished when they release their first single,” the singer admits with a laugh. “I did not have that luxury. Just because of time and how I want things to plan out.” This is why, according to Trevor, covers are easier releases. “You don’t have to be as fully creative because you don’t have to write the song. There’s already production elements that are kind of just there because you’re doing somebody else’s song.” While he does like to put his own touch on covers, he continues, “It’s definitely easier to release singles as covers, or just a plain, regular single. When you release a longer thing, it’s for shows generally. There’s much more stuff to do at your live concerts.”
When it comes to choosing what covers to feature, there is a quick realization that Trevor carefully plans everything he does in his career.
“[I picked] songs that I saw were doing well and I thought might do well chart wise and people might search them and find me,” says the singer. “I’m not fully in the position to cover all the songs I want. Like if I wanted to just cover ‘I Want You Back’ by Jackson 5, as much as I’d like to, it’s not a song a lot of people are searching for on YouTube so it wouldn’t pop up and I wouldn’t get any new fans.” Trevor keeps his ears open and tries to anticipate songs that might become popular and that would get people searching for them on YouTube. “[Then I get the cover] out as fast as possible after they’re released.” He credits the hard work being put into his EP for the reason as to why his YouTube channel has “gone dry”.
Still, his hard work is paying off with the release of his second promotional single from the upcoming EP.
Called “Stay By Your Side” the song is a follow-up to the successful first single “Pressure” and showcases a tender side to his music. Where the bassline drove “Pressure”, the soft guitar strumming opens “Stay By Your Side”. Referring to the hook of the song as having a “boyband type vibe”, Trevor cites ‘You don’t need that’ to be his favorite aspect of the song.
“It was a personal song and they didn’t want to use it,” the singer says of why the single was originally passed by a band project. He understands their feelings, describing their sound to be more of an electronic type of pop, and that he decided, “‘Well, it’s still a great song so I’m gonna use it!’”
Simply stating, Trevor says of the song, “It’s a song about a girl and I like this girl and she’s not in a great relationship previously.” Throughout the song, Trevor sings his promises to the girl. Expressing his devotion, he says he wouldn’t ever lie, that he’d be there for her, and he’d stay by her side.
Working with Paul Flint again for the single, Trevor reveals that their partnership has bettered his ear for listening.
“[Paul Flint] mostly mix and matches my songs. I will record everything on my own and I will mix it as much as I can and master it. Then he will correct things, if I’m doing anything incorrectly. He will make things sound better,” he says of their working relationship. “But working with him – it’s improved my ear, like how I hear things. As I keep giving him things, he’s like, ‘Wow, I keep having to do less and less!’ He’s complimenting me and it just feels very good. He’s very talented.”
Trevor takes this knowledge with him as he continues to work on his new EP.
“It’s an EP that I’m going to call ‘4 in the Morning’ because I work on all my songs late at night,” he reveals. “It’s going to be six songs. I wanted to do my very best songs. I had more songs but I only wanted to do my best songs for this EP that’s going to be my first EP in… oh gosh… four or five years. And I just wanted to put my best foot forward after that.” He laughs at the memory of his first EP, Sugarcoated Puberty. “That was a long time ago, I don’t remember exactly. Also, that’s older than the date it was released because those songs were recorded when I was 14 or 13 and written at that age.”
With “Pressure” and “Stay by Your Side” as two confirmed songs from the EP, Trevor discusses the remaining four. “I’ve had songs that I’ve written and done live before but the rest of the four are songs no one else has heard before – other than the people close to me whose opinions I constantly ask for.”
His excitement for the release of these songs leave practically no room for nerves to set in. “I’m really proud of these songs. I think they’re really good,” Trevor says. “They’re really fun. One of them is very different but it’s much more… folky and acoustic than the rest of my tunes. I still think that given my fanbase likes when I cover things like Ed Sheeran, even though it’s really kind of not his style of folk, I still think they’d really like it.” The only area that gets him nervous is his personal deadline for it. “I’m more nervous about getting everything accomplished in a timely manner. It’s a lot of work.”
This is part of the reason why Trevor doesn’t want to give a set month of release just yet. While he does have one in mind, he is keeping it to himself in case something “goes horribly wrong”. He laughs as he says, “I don’t want to give that and have to take it back! But soon, in the next few months. Songs are going to be finalized soon and then it’s just getting promotion for it in line.”
Speaking of one of his friends that is starting a production company, Trevor says he hopes to work with him to create a cool music video for one of the songs from the EP. “I was going to let him choose,” he says when asked if he had an idea of which song the music video would be for. “It’s kind of tough because I don’t think I can choose [a song] and I don’t know if you want to choose the song that’s the popular song, but I don’t know if it’s going to be the popular song until the EP is out. I know ‘Pressure’ is already really well liked.”
Trevor still has time to decide and to tweak the four remaining songs, which is good as sudden inspiration has struck from hearing Charlie Puth’s new album ‘Voicenotes’. “That’s been a big help for this EP. Just because how well mixed and mastered his album is.” He confesses, “I wish it would have came out those two songs ago because I might have recorded things a little bit differently.” Trevor is still very happy with how “Pressure” and “Stay by Your Side” came out and the changes would have been small aspects in the production. “It taught me things about production and how to keep things interesting throughout the song. So ever since that came out, I’ve been redoing the four songs that haven’t been out yet.” He can’t help but gush once more, “Definitely Charlie Puth [is an inspiration for the album] because his stuff is amazing.”
With two incredible singles already out and Trevor constantly working to improve and better the remaining four, fans are keeping up with their hype for the new music.
“[I would say] thank you for their patience!” Trevor exclaims when his fans dedication is brought up. “I haven’t done a lot of content while I’ve been working on this. I’ll go a week at a time not posting on Instagram. I just really appreciate their patience and their continued excitement whenever I say, ‘Sorry, I’m just working on this EP.’ They’re like, ‘Oh! That’s so exciting!!!’ I really, really appreciate that.”
“Stay by Your Side” is available now on iTunes!