Making it as an artist in the music business is a dream come true. Just ask Slow Magic. He spent years finding his sound and honing his vision until, one day, it brought him to stages around the world, including Coachella. He was doing what he loved, until doing what he loved became the problem.
“I am sick of hiding behind red tape and illusions of the music industry," the masked music man tells Billboard Dance. His latest double-single release Dreams Pt. 1 is the first in a three-part series that sees the self-proclaimed Imaginary Friend "break free" of a stifling contract with a major label, one he never intended to sign but stumbled into. Dreams Pt. 1 is a hopeful, shimmering celebration of reclaiming ones dreams and seeing them through.
In 2012, Slow Magic self-released his debut Triangle, but his sophisticated synth-pop follow up, How To Run Away, was released through indie label Downtown Records. It was a supportive environment until the indie was bought by Interscope. The producer had just changed up his management and was busy working on his third LP Float. He didn't even know the label had been bought until the new deal was thrust upon him.
"The label wanted to control more than we had initially discussed back when I signed," he says. "I felt I was being strung along until they could figure out what they were doing or until I had a radio hit."
His album was delayed for more than a year, and by the time it was released, the relationship had completely fallen apart. He "felt trapped, frustrated and unsure of how to proceed," then he found new management with Milk & Honey who helped him get out of his deal and back to work.
"Dreams represents this new beginning and new freedom," he says. "I have been able to work the way I want to and create songs that capture the feelings of being free. At one point, it honestly felt like releasing music again was just a dream and now it is a reality."
He started from scratch, reaching out to writers and musicians he admired to try his hand at a new approach. That perspective shines on A-side single "Daydream." He worked with songwriter Julianne Hope to bring a pop-forward, sing-along edge to his signature style. It's followed by "when it rains but the sun is out too," an ethereal mood driven by twilight acoustic guitar melodies and an energizing synth breakdown.
"My goal has been to keep the true elements of Slow Magic alive while also growing and trying new things," he says, and this is only the first part of what will be six songs in total. It's all coming out independently, the way he wants it and on his own terms. The new chapter starts Friday, July 19, but fans can hear Dreams Pt. 1 in full a day early, exclusively on Billboard Dance.