Young Creators Project spotlight: Magnus Ferrell
Studio City’s Magnus Ferrell has been writing music since he was 12, and began studying jazz in the 8th grade. And, as is wont to happen in those budding teen years, that’s also when he met the girl that would ultimately lead to him being featured in this profile.
“The specific song I sent in, it's funny, it was about an eighth grade girlfriend,” says Ferrell, now 18, of his dreamy, Chet Baker-evoking ballad “Held You So.”
Though the relationship fizzled out, as such romances are also wont to (“You don’t really know what’s going on yet,” Ferrell says), the two met again later in life, as high school juniors at a party. Ferrell describes realizing in that moment how much he’d missed her, and how oblivious he’d been.
“I just remember that night,” he says. “I wrote [''Held You So”] that night, after that party. In a weird way, in a kind of, like, infatuated way… I just wanted to get my feelings down about the whole experience. The song is a reminder not to take those people who care for you for granted.”
The track is a perfect slice of the young artist’s penchant for alternative R&B à la Still Woozy and Mac Ayres, and what he calls “ballad/romantic type music” like Bruno Major.
“Songwriting and music is so special to me, as it has played such a therapeutic role in my life,” Ferrell says. “It has helped me through times where I’m not at my best, and I hope to move and help others dealing with the same.”
Ferrell spoke with Morning Becomes Eclectic’s Anthony Valadez to share his insights on what makes alternative R&B so rewarding as a genre and why music is the best therapy.
The following interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
KCRW: You talk about alternative R&B as a favorite genre. What does that mean to you?
I come from a jazz background, and that's how I learned all my music theory. And it developed my ear a little bit. So I think my music taste is based kind of on how much musical complexity and creativity went into [a] track. I hear so many songs on the radio today that I feel like could use a lot more… [Laughs] I think… musical influence and creativity. I just love alternative R&B because there's a lot of pop stuff in it, but it's more complex than pop. It has a lot more music theory influence.
What drives you the most, creatively?
I've used music as therapy in a lot of a lot of ways. There was a moment in my life where I wasn't super happy. It was mainly in quarantine when everything was shut down. I wasn't in the best space, mentally. [It was] to a point where emotionally, I was a little bit numb, and I was having trouble feeling things. But the one thing that was my anchor, my thing that I kept coming back to, was music and songwriting.
It was the one place where I really felt so strongly, and I could come back to that every single time. It was almost like this therapy that got me out of that icky phase. It just helps me feel, and I'm in debt to it. It's something that I can never let go, and ithat I want to do all the time, for hours a day. It passes the time so quickly, I just love it.
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