In the ever-evolving world of music, few artists manage to create a sound that’s truly their own. Even fewer blend genres with such seamless fluidity that it feels as if they are crafting their own. Yet, one artist stands out in the crowd: New York City’s own Cole Lumpkin. With a sonic signature that fuses the experimental rock of the late 70’s and early 80’s with the digestibility of mainstream pop, Lumpkin’s music is a refreshing burst of creativity in an industry that often feels homogenized.
For about six years, Lumpkin has been meticulously crafting his unique blend of progressive pop music. The last three years, in particular, have seen his artistry blossom, especially in the realms of streaming and live performances. All this has been possible with the backing of his label, Suite 484, and distribution through Sony Music’s The Orchard.
Drawing inspiration from diverse musical powerhouses like Frank Zappa, Jon Bellion, Pharrell, and Kiana Lede, Lumpkin is audacious in his musical exploration. He challenges the norm by incorporating odd time signatures, unconventional chord changes, and solos into songs with pop melodies. His dedication to striking a careful balance between these contrasting elements is what sets him apart.
One of his most noteworthy achievements to date includes reaching a million streams and views, a testament to his growing popularity. Beyond that, his work as a producer and engineer for artists such as John Legend, Santana, and OAR has solidified his reputation within the industry.
As a musician, Lumpkin has a clear vision of his future. With two singles away from his debut album, he plans to encapsulate his musical journey in a 10-track offering. For aspiring musicians, his advice is simple yet profound: “Whatever they say you need someone else to do, always try and do it yourself.”
Among his creations, he holds a particular fondness for “Every Night,” a raw emotional reflection of a tumultuous time in his love life. However, his latest single, “Drought,” released on May 12th, is where we’ll focus our attention today.
“Drought” is a stunning solo piece co-written with Jake Marsh. With a music video heavily inspired by the science fiction films of the 70s and 80s, Lumpkin creates a mini epic set against the striking backdrops of desert terrain. His directorial debut, aided by New York film guru Alex Eaker on cinematography, is a testament to his creative versatility.
Lumpkin describes the recording of the video as an adrenaline-fueled adventure. After a mud-related mishap, the crew was left with a mere 4 hours of daylight to capture the footage. Despite the time crunch, they managed to create a focused, suspense-filled visual narrative that perfectly complements the song.
“Drought,” at its core, is about the contrast of elements – a reflection of Lumpkin’s own musical style. It explores the dichotomy of love, destiny, and the uncertainty of surrendering oneself to another person. These contrasts are mirrored in the song’s structure: sparse acoustic guitars in the verses clash against a powerful, synth-driven chorus. The lyrics, initially unsure, reaffirm themselves when the hook drops, creating a compelling tension and release.
Lumpkin’s “Drought” is more than a song; it’s a testament to his remarkable ability to create a musical landscape that’s as diverse and captivating as his own artistic journey. His music stands as a beacon of individuality and innovation, encouraging us to redefine our understanding of genre and musical expression. With his upcoming debut album on the horizon, we are on the verge of seeing what he has to come.