How was 2018 for you?
Varien: 2018 was a year to test just how much I want this “music” thing. It’s not easy, especially in today’s age, to get back on the horse after deleting all of your social media and to start over by self-releasing. But I did it. And I wrote some number-one hits along the way! Not just that, I have set myself up for a really incredible 2019. This year was hard, do not get me wrong, but it was a necessary trial to get me back on track.
I’d definitely say landing the VIXX track “Scentist” which went to number one in Korea in April, and then number three in October in Japan. This marked my first official placement in the K-Pop realm of which there is so much more to come. I was credited as producer, songwriter, and arranger.
I’d also say MAGfest in January, when I got on stage and felt that feeling of performing again for the first time in so long. It was the night I declared “Varien is coming back” – because there is no escaping that feeling that makes you feel so alive.
The doubting, the mental anguish, the missed bills, you know — typical music stuff. There was a lot of balancing bills with investing into things like art. Lots of favors called in. I wasn’t seeing results as fast as I thought I’d see them but I learned to relax a bit and just keep trying my hardest. I feel like I am crushing it now, and the work has only just begun.
I’d also say finally breaking it off with my ex-fiancé. I loved her, but it was not meant to be in the end. I miss her, and yet that is so natural for being one-third of my life. Moving on though, it acts as an impetus to channel into art – and some great art has come from that place of darkness, sadness, being alone, and having your life completely change.
Song of the year?
Too much to choose from, but I’ll say that Billie Eilish’s “When the Party’s Over” hits so many right notes for me, especially given the topics above. There were so many amazing tracks this year, it’s impossible to pick just one.
What’s your New Year’s resolution?
I will no longer be people’s emotional tampon. I’m glad people think of me as a good listener and advice giver. That being said, I cannot do it for long and on some days, not at all. If I wanna remain focused and positive, I have to put up boundaries even with my loved ones that says, “you’re an adult, you can handle this. talk with a professional. I love you but I have my own stuff to deal with.”
My other resolution is to keep true to myself and my sound and keep pushing those boundaries, as I always have. I’d love to find a home that gets my vision and feeds it, too.