Ian Randall Thornton, a multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter and composer from Norfolk (VA) shares his single ‘Send Somebody’ exclusively with American Songwriter.
“Send Somebody” is the third single from his second album, “Wide Open,” which will be released on February 28 through AntiFraglie. “Send Somebody” was the first song Thorton wrote on this album and he described it as a “gateway” to navigate the rest of the album.
“I really struggled to write songs at the time of my life,” he said, adding that he thought the block was the enormous pressure he exerted on himself to write the perfect song and say something profound. His solution, he shared, was to write songs he never intended to hear.
“I grabbed my guitar, changed into a new mood, ran a guitar line on my computer and started laying different instruments and vocal swellings,” he said.
It was at that time that he felt his self-built pressure fall aside as he continued to create.
“Something interesting started to happen in the process,” he explained. “It has completely reversed my songwriting process.”
Thorton stepped out of his routine path of recording songs he had written on his guitar in the studio to record and began creating blindly. “This allowed the production and song itself to influence me and tell me what it wanted to be and say,” he said.
The experimental process of writing “Send Somebody” laid the foundation for the entire record. “The theme of” Wide Open “is peace and finding serenity through the humble act of letting go of control,” he said. “So when I approached writing the rest of the album, I decided to give up my typical songwriting approach for this new open way of writing.”
The progressive instrumentation that the entire album finds differs somewhat from its folk-Americana roots. The introduction of new technology transcends its genre in more of a post-rock atmosphere. The focus of his stories shifts from a narrative style found in his first LP, “Lineage,” about who he is in terms of place and relatives. “Wide Open” tells a fairer, more reflective story that examines who he is as an artist and as an individual.
“Send Somebody” embodies this style shift. The layered strings and serene vocals radiate the theme of peace that Thorton carried through the album. The lyrics command the listener by analogy. “We can often be more interested in the things on the surface that surround us than the true understanding of the overwhelming depth that lies within us,” Thorton said.
He wonders why we know much more about what the surface of Mars looks like than what lies in the depths of our ocean. The song says it this way:
“Under the world / Burning marrow / We build on her bones / And live off her loans
/ Everything we can know is usually unknown. “
“Under the sea / send someone / Discover the deep / Wake up where you sleep.”
The texts compare humanity with these scientific facts to make a statement about exploration. “Send Somebody is not so much a social criticism as a personal encouragement to find and explore the unknown within yourself,” he explained.
Keep an eye on the release of his album Wide Open on 28 February. If you like what you hear, the pre-order of the album is available via Bandcamp!