Travel headfirst back to the 80s with a bouncy, modern twist courtesy of the vivid debut single Up And Coming from singer, songwriter and actor Nicholas Brown. A playful, soulful and buoyant outing, Up And Coming is also accompanied today by a new music video, wielding sprawling psychedelic flourishes and Bollywood disco nods. Kaleidoscopic, warm and irresistibly inviting, Nicholas Brown’s new single also syncs up with his exciting lead role in the new ABC musical four-part TV series In Our Blood, which premiered on Sunday March 19.
The first single released by Nicholas as a solo artist, Up And Coming is a glistening love letter to the 80s and pop music Nicholas grew up adoring. Part Dead Or Alive, part Bananarama with lashings of Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Wham and Kylie Minogue, Up And Coming was first penned by Nicholas a few years ago, at the time tirelessly working to tackle the entertainment industry while celebrating small wins. Resulting in a dancefloor delight that is simultaneously upbeat and poignant, Up And Coming initially grew its legs in Los Angeles before evolving into its glossy present state, as Nicholas explains, “I originally wrote this song with my music partner Justin Gagnon whom I was in a funk band with when I was living in Los Angeles. It was part of our funk set list with our band Knuckle Funk which later turned into Luck Now. I’ve always been very fond of the melody and the lyrics, so I collaborated with a DJ/Producer in Greece called Sakgra who does a lot of queer pop remixes on YouTube. He’s unofficially remixed many artists from Kylie Minogue to Kate Bush. I was stoked that he agreed to work on my song as I love so many of his pop remixes. When I wrote this song, I was tired of being considered up and coming and was hoping for a win. I’m hoping the lyrics resonate with listeners who keep striving no matter what. It’s a cheeky, fun song that celebrates the climb – rather than our goals be a struggle – why not dance through them?”.
Up And Coming comes vividly to life through its ravishing accompanying music video, perfectly enhancing the track’s luscious melodics and instrumentation through stylistic throwbacks and forward-facing technology. Teaming up with Zachary Lurje directing the immersive clip, with Juan Ledezma also joining to create the AI graphics, the track’s backstory journeying from Greece to Germany, LA to Bombay and, ultimately, back to Sydney also perfectly reflects Nicholas’ own creative journey to date, as he reveals, “The plan was to make a psychedelic 80s Bollywood disco clip. I wanted to experiment with animation and AI with the music video. I just wrote and co-directed a play at Griffin Theatre in Sydney called Sex Magick which was part of Sydney World Pride and we had an AI component to our visuals. Working closely with the video designer for my play, I realised that I wanted to create a music video for Up And Coming that took its viewers to a psychedelic 80s Bombay Disco. The hero of the clip is an avatar of myself – we used 3D animation to create this Bombay Romeo. I wanted the setting to be in a world similar to that of Alejandro Jodorowsky’s film Holy Mountain. You can definitely tell that a lot of the imagery is inspired by that film. We delve into the hero’s mind – into his head, mouth and ear – to see what’s going on in his inner world. It’s all pretty colourful and queer. The end of the music video is a tribute to Flash Dance. Told you it was eighties!”
While 2023 finds Nicholas embracing his musical pursuits as a solo artist, it’s entirely not this multi-disciplinary’s first creative rodeo. Recently playing a lead role in the second series of Tim Minchin’s Upright, Nicholas’s connection to Bollywood stems further back than his brand new music video for Up And Coming; having previously appeared in several acclaimed Bollywood films, as well as local theatre and some soap operas, Nicholas’ latest acting role plants him firmly – one of the leads of the brand new ABC show In Our Blood; a four-part musical drama inspired by the AIDS epidemic in Australia in the 1980s. From developing a love of musical films as a child, to being part of the professional boys’ choir The Young Sydney Singers, it was singing itself that would prove to be the gateway for Nicholas and his ongoing pursuits, with acting following once he went to Newtown High School Of The Performing Arts and, eventually, the prestigious halls of NIDA. Moving to Mumbai at the age of 27 and being cast in the most expensive Bollywood film ever made at that time, Kites, Nicholas has certainly experienced multiple highs along the way, including radio airplay, performing opposite Tim Minchin, and a burgeoning Bollywood career. But choosing to live his truth and return to Australia after being forced to live in the closet while living in Mumbai, Nicholas has snagged significant professional highlights via his recently penned play Sex Magick, drawing acclaim for its exploration of queerness, masculinity and South Asian-Australian identity – and he can also claim writing and appearing as a presenter on the hallowed ABC staple Play School.
Up And Coming is out now, Thursday March 23.