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  • Justice Petersen

Braden Bales Exercises Vulnerability in Debut EP “NOMAD”

For many people, music is the ultimate method of catharsis and coming to terms with one’s complex emotions. For rising pop star Braden Bales, he has taken this therapeutic coping mechanism and turned it into his entire passion and career.

After leaving his home city of Ontario, the 21-year-old musician made his way to Los Angeles, where he pursued music while living out of his car. Now based in Nashville, Bales released his debut EP, “NOMAD”, on July 7 through Geffen Records.

Featuring four tracks that emulate poetic healing and charming optimism, “NOMAD” is a record that flawlessly displays Bales as his most honest self as he reveals his processes of understanding concepts such as unhealthy friendships and mental health. With over 200 million streams across all streaming platforms, Braden Bales is an up and coming artist to look out for as his unapologetic yet humble honesty resonates with music lovers everywhere.

“The emotional journey in the EP is really just the journey I’ve taken,” Bales says. “My songs are just purely how I’m feeling, and they weren’t even intended to be packaged into that EP. The EP was more me looking at what I’ve written and being like, what’s the common theme and where’s the storyline. It was just like looking at a picture of the last like five, six months of my life and just realizing how I’ve been feeling.”

A nomad is defined as a wanderer, or somebody who travels from place to place, not staying anywhere for too long. As Bales has traveled around the world creating memories for himself and forming relationships, he has come to identify as a nomad and the entire EP centers around his life experiences so far.

Although each song on the EP addresses different topics and contrasts with one another in terms of composition and lyrical style, they all capture different moments or aspects of Bales and his life.

“Even though they’re about different subjects, they hold the same raw feeling inside of insecurity and the feeling of being a nomad,” he says.

When the expressive singer songwriter first started making music, he said that it was a way for him to express and process his emotions. As he reveals his deepest feelings for the entire world to see, Bales says that this gets easier with the more music that he releases.

“It’s a strange thing, where I feel like vulnerability is a muscle,” he says. “The more you do it, the easier it is to be vulnerable and get used to it. I think the hardest part for me originally was sharing the music.”

Bales says that he has always been good when it comes to expressing his emotions to others - the difficult part at the start of his career was being honest with himself.

“At the start of my making music I would lie to myself in my songs, and I feel like after making a certain amount of them it just flows out of you,” he says. “Now that I’ve experienced the feeling of being seen in your most vulnerable moments that are expressed through your songs, it’s really easy now…that really helps me out when I realize that in my most vulnerable points I’m not alone, because everybody else feels the same thing.”

“NOMAD” essentially exudes this reassuring vulnerability that Bales is renowned for. The two opening songs, “Chronically Cautious” and “Pick Me Up”, were the two singles released before the EP came out. Launching him into TikTok stardom and amassing nearly 1 million monthly listeners on Spotify, Bales is extremely thankful for the love that social media platforms have shown him and his music.

Out of all the songs on the record, Bales says that the one that stands out the most to him or that may be his favorite is the third track, “Fairweather Friends”. Originally intended to be written about a specific group of fairweather friends, the song soon came to be about everyone in Bales’s life that he knew that exhibited this behavior - including himself. After leaving a recording session for the track, Bales was overcome with the realization of how deeply personal this song was to him.

“There’s something about that song that struck a chord so deep inside of my being that I don’t think any other song really has yet. I’m really happy that that one’s out in the world,” he says.

As Braden Bales has found solace, both in music and in traveling across the world, listeners can feel seen and understood in Bales’s debut EP. As Bales shares with us his most raw and human emotions, listeners can see that they are not alone just like Bales himself has come to realize.

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