Bronze Avery cuts deep with impressive DIY debut ‘SOFTMETAL’

Jon Ali is In The Know’s music contributor. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram for more.

There’s always something admirable to be said about an artist doing it all on their own, in their own way — and that’s essentially who Bronze Avery has always been. 

Look at the credits for any song by this rising queer talent, and you’ll likely find just one name credited for writing, producing and performing the bulk of the music: “Bronze Avery,” period, and that’s not even mentioning the visual accompaniments and release rollouts.

“Being independent has been equally as tough as it is rewarding. On one hand, avoiding the label system allows me to have the full control and autonomy that my art deserves. I’m able to write and produce every song on my album, have the final say on all of the visuals I create, and I never have people make choices for me that don’t have a great understanding of my project or artistic vision,” Bronze told In The Know. “On the other hand, so much of editorial playlisting and touring opportunities are easier to grasp when you have the backing and support of a label. I think the public associates much of a label’s benefit to money; I associate it to opportunity and access. Right now, I love being independent. I also think new deal structures are being created in favor of the artist since we’re the ones steering the ship.”

Credit: JUSSY

Yes, steering the ship is exactly what he’s been doing for years. For those of you so blissfully unaware, 28-year-old multi-talent Bronze Avery is no stranger to the indie queer pop music scene. He’s been doing the damn thing for queer POC and beyond — and doing it damn well — ever since the release of his debut single, “Leave Together,” in 2017.

Bronze describes his music as “the soundtrack to an emotional daydream. The sounds are made for movement and have a sensual edge with no ties to a specific genre.”

“I usually have a hard time describing myself to new people because I’m truly unlike anyone else I know,” Bronze said. “That’s probably a mixture between healthy delusion backed with a lot of confidence.”

Just last year, the Los Angeles-based talent hit a career-high after landing on the cover of Billboard after winning the outlet’s first-ever NXT Competition under the mentorship of CRASH chanteuse Charli XCX, a competition for finding superstar potential in unsigned artists.

The win would give him the push he needed to finally move forward with his first real full-body of work, called SOFTMETAL, which he just released on November 17.

“Winning BillboardNXT absolutely helped me get to this point. It just gave me the confidence I needed to just go for it,” Bronze told In The Know. “I also was going through a situationship, so all of the songs had a natural conceptual cohesion because I was writing about these stories as they were happening. It felt like the first time in my musical progression that the songs could be grouped together and flow like an album should.”

The result is a cohesive and grounded 13-track musical journey that cuts deeper into Bronze’s own personal life more than ever before. From start to finish, SOFTMETAL encapsulates many perspectives of modern love and strips away the armor to reveal the chaotic layers of modern relationships. It’s all masked in dreamy production, earnest melodies and sticky choruses bound to stay embedded in your brain for days, including songs like “FIGURE IT OUT,”  “OVER (AND OVER)” and “SOFTSHELL.”

“The goal was to make an album that was sonically and conceptually cohesive. The perfectionist in me wanted to wait until I had the bandwidth and momentum to take on something that big, and when I finally felt ready, it just so happened to occur while I was going through one of the most confusing romantic situations I’ve ever been in,” Bronze told ITK. “Going through something like that really helps you identify the recurring themes of your personality, so I’m glad it happened, and I could gain that insight. With more honest knowledge of how I handle deeper connections, I was able to make a more honest record.” 

At its core, SOFTMETAL is a sophisticated blend of the delicate and rough parts of relationships, and yes, that was fully his intention.

“The title is a play on my name Bronze, but it’s also a word I made: SOFTMETAL (adj.): expressing, caused by or characterized by anger and emotional attachment,” he explained. “It’s the feeling of frustration that something isn’t going your way, but it comes from an emotional versus logical place. Almost like a reflective temper tantrum.”

If we’re being honest, all the songs on the record are pretty major — made all the more impressive because this is only his first go at making a record. 

What’s next? Good question. What we know so far is that Bronze creates emotional genre-bending gems with an effortless DIY ethos that helps listeners feel seen by connecting with them through unfiltered honesty. The time to get familiar would be now.

Stream Bronze Avery’s debut album everywhere HERE, and be sure to check out more from our interview with him below.

In The Know: What have been some of the proudest moments in your career thus far?

Bronze Avery: My proudest moments are always when I get to sit back and read all of the stories of how my music can touch people’s lives, whether it’s celebrating new love or getting through something tough. I’m also the co-founder of a sensual lifestyle brand called RUXWOOD, and getting feedback on how people are expanding their sensual journey because of the products we’re making is insane. 

In The Know: At this moment in your career, how does it feel to finally release a full body of work?

Bronze Avery: It feels like it took way too long, but it also couldn’t have happened at any other time because I had to go through some tougher life experiences to get the full perspective of my story and have material to write about. If I had tried to do this in the past, I don’t think the songs would have been as honest or in sync with my musical brain.

In The Know: On the lyrical side of things, it feels like we’re getting a more open and vulnerable side of Bronze on SOFTMETAL. A layer of armor has been shed. Would you say that’s true?

Bronze Avery: Absolutely. For a minute, I was just writing songs that I thought were bangers and somewhat touched on things I had experienced at some point in my life. However, on this album, every song was written in real-time as it was happening, and songwriting became my journal and weapon when my emotions would try to attack me.

To this day, I’m still dealing with a lot of the emotions from the stories that inspired the record. Now that it’s out, it’s been beautiful to see people relate, but it’s still hard for me to listen to some of the songs. I guess it just shows how badly I needed this music to heal. I still need it. 

In The Know: Are there any songs in particular that you’ve been so excited to share, and why?

Bronze Avery: For sure, “BIBLE NAME.” It’s the one I’ve worked on the longest and the first song I ever teased from 𝘚𝘖𝘍𝘛𝘔𝘌𝘛𝘈𝘓. What I love about “BIBLE NAME” is how it’s not afraid to be detail specific in the ways I was hurt.

It’s a song that doesn’t sound like any other, and it taps into so many core elements that make up a Bronze Avery song. The dance drums, the dreamy keys, the bitchy yet somehow still sexy lyrics. It’s a song that always puts a smile to my face because I close my eyes and imagine an arena singing along. It’s also the only song on the record that wasn’t written about the person I was in a situationship with, so it’s refreshing to listen to a song on my record without pressing on scars that are still healing.

In The Know: Another part of this process, aside from the fact that you’re 100% behind the song creation, is the visuals. There’s been a beautiful amount of imagery and visuals that have come from this project. Talk us through the inspiration for those and your intention for this era.

Bronze Avery: I take pride in making my visuals, and I always have my partner, Jussy, to help me execute my vision throughout everything. For this era, I was really conscious of just following the energy of each song versus just making something cool to make something cool. All of the single artwork was taken on my phone, and the album visuals were done on film, which is my preferred medium. I wanted all of the single covers to all feel like recurring memories or intrusive thoughts by duplicating myself in each photo.

The album cover represents how much fighting I was doing internally and externally. I purposely have armor around my head but not my heart. I tried hard to protect my mind throughout this experience and didn’t give my heart access to that same protection. I wanted to feel everything, and the SOFTMETAL album cover illustrates that in a very Bronze way. 

In The Know: What do you hope people take away from SOFTMETAL?

Bronze Avery: As a concept record, I hope people can hear these songs and not feel guilty for being upset or sad when something romantic doesn’t work out. I think it’s normal and healthy to care about people, and making this music made me feel more secure in my emotions. I want this album to be an example that QPOC artists can be dimensional and not fitting into any societal box conceptually or sonically. 

In The Know: What can we expect from Bronze Avery moving forward?

Bronze Avery: I spent so much of this project searching my soul and spending a lot of time alone. Next up, I’d love to stretch my pen game a bit more and collaborate with more songwriters and write songs for other artists that have a unique point of view. You can also expect to hear these songs live.

If you enjoyed this article, check out Jon Ali’s recent interview with RAYE.

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