Songs for Screens is a Variety column sponsored by music experiential agency MAC Presents, based in NYC. It is written by Andrew Hampp, founder of music marketing consultancy 1803 LLC and former correspondent for Billboard. Each week, the column will highlight noteworthy use of music in advertising and marketing campaigns, as well as new and catalog songs that we deem ripe for synch use.
As an in-demand visual artist, Nick van Hofwegen has seen his original work commissioned by the likes of Foster the People and Maroon 5 for their album covers, as well as brands including Rag & Bone, Bucketfeet and MeUndies.
But as alt-pop artist Young & Sick, van Hofwegen has been making stylish, ’70s-inspired music for the past five years, including a 2014 full-length for Capitol subsidiary Harvest Records. The project reached its biggest exposure to date in April when Apple featured Young & Sick’s recent track “Ojai” for its latest Apple Watch ad.
Young & Sick’s latest single, “Letting Go of Giving Up,” which Songs For Screens is premiering exclusively, sounds poised for a similarly large-scale platform. The song kicks off with a twinkling piano and dewy-eyed Todd Rundgren-esque vocal before revving up for a stadium-rock chorus that drives its motivational message home. (Listen below.)
“The music industry is a weird and hard place to be in and not complain about something. It’s a strange group of people doing a strange group of things,” says van Hofwegen, who returned to music with January’s “Ojai” EP after a three-year hiatus. “The song is sort of a theme to exactly that, to not give up hope on making music and making art, even though there’s low points and it gets a little harder.”
“Letting Go” follows on the heels of June’s “No Static” as the second track to preview his second 2018 EP with Young & Sick, out August 17, which shares a similar sentiment. “It’s part of a running theme to boost myself up and make the best art I could,” says von Hofwegen, who will play his first U.S. headline show since 2014 at L.A.’s Moroccan Lounge on Wednesday (July 25.) “Music and art really constantly battle each other in a really positive way. I’m about to do an art show in Los Angeles for the first time, which making music pushed me to do. I’ve been making a lot of non-client work on bigger canvasses from guitar cases to bigger pieces of driftwood to a lot of different mediums.”
Now that he’s found a new groove with music, and indie label B3SCI Records, van Hofwegen hopes his songs can land a synch on one of his favorite TV dramas set in the Me Decade. “I love ‘The Deuce,’ everything from the title [credits] track to all the music in that show. Also ‘I’m Dying Up Here,’ the music really pushes that show along. If one of my songs could live in that world, that would make my year — if not my life.”