In our podcast conversation with gnash, we discussed the inspiration behind his latest single ‘dear insecurity,’ the power of simplistic production, his relationship with G-Eazy, and many more intimate topics. In this article, we broke down a few quotes from the conversation and dove deeper into gnash’s words. You can stream the full episode with gnash and ‘dear insecurity’ below:
“The most important part of my creative process is alone time”
gnash recognizes the power of being alone. Having been through dark places, he takes time to explore his thoughts in solitude. He meditates to create a space of objectivity outside of emotion. Meditation promotes a mindfulness rooted in observation, not reaction. Daily practice helps gnash observe thoughts and emotions, and analyze the motivations behind them.
Instead of feeling anger or sadness and letting the emotions control the state of mind, he asks “What is making me feel this way?” and acknowledges its presence. Accepting and noticing emotion, instead of reacting, can open up the path of least resistance.
gnash knows the struggles of meditation. Thoughts race. The mind skips. Time slows. But just thirty seconds of focusing on the breath can restore the moment. It is impossible to be one hundred percent in tune with the breath and not be in the moment. The practice of breathing and meditation ties into gnash’s recording mindset.
For him, the best way to record is to feel the way the song feels. He taps into the emotions behind the lyrics before speaking the words into the mic. In that aspect, recording is a draining process for gnash and can leave him emotionally exhausted.
gnash must find a balance between being alone and opening the door emotionally in front of others. After the success of ‘i hate u, i love u,’ gnash spent a few months away from the spotlight to relax and think. He asks for this time away and knows when he needs it. Relaxation is not wasted energy. Relaxation and mindfulness “recharge the love battery” as gnash’s girlfriend, Rosa, so lovely put it. Sitting alone in thought, walking through nature, and hanging out with friends should not be seen as a distraction. Time wisely spent away from work reinvigorates passion and expands perspective.
gnash uses this time to connect with people and things that inspire him to write what he writes. He gives a little bit of himself to everyone he encounters and takes the time to recharge that energy. The silence that he creates in his own thoughts allows him to listen more effectively. His goal is to always be ready to assist and help those around him, encouraging the most positive, beneficial direction.
“My time with Cisco Adler was the first life manifestation that I created.”
gnash grew up a massive Shwayze fan. Back in the day, he would drive hours to see Schwayze and Cisco Adler perform live. He credits his obsession as a juvenile form of manifestation. He put himself in positions to interact with the idols he would ultimately work with. Later on, Cisco hired the fifteen-year-old gnash as an intern. “He was coming to work on himself, not some shit I told him to do,” says Cisco in gnash’s Homegrown documentary. Soon after gnash graduated high school, he embarked on a 10,000-mile tour with Cisco and Schwayze.
Absorbing Cisco’s mentality, gnash learned that he didn’t have to overwhelm the main message of the song with large-scale production. A simple stove flicker or desk tap can create enough space in which the lyrics can live. He embraced the minimalist soundscapes. Carefully crafted production enhances the melody, but for gnash, the bedrock of a great song lies in the words and chord progressions. The production makes the process fun. It adds flare. But it should never detract from the message of the moment.
“G [Eazy] is one of the rawest producers I’ve ever been in the room with.”
As a teenager, gnash immersed himself in G-Eazy’s world. He understood the music and admired G-Eazy’s commitment to brand. When gnash started out as a DJ, he connected with G-Eazy’s manager Jamil. To this day, they remain great friends. “gnash was the little homie DJ who had the best music selection and knew what was poppin',” says Jamil.
When gnash first started making his own beats, he wrote a song with an artist named Quiñ. The next day, Quiñ was in the studio with G-Eazy and played him gnash’s song. After hearing the song, G-Eazy called gnash on the phone and invited him over to his house. There, gnash played his music for G-Eazy. “Those chords are so happy sad,” said G-Eazy. gnash ran with that concept, transforming “happysad” from a feeling into a genre and the name of his label.
Like G-Eazy, gnash also has a great ear and is a Gemini. gnash incorporated G-Eazy’s lock to brand into his own image. The cover art, merchandise, and the overall message would not be sporadic. Fans needed something recognizable and stable to grip tightly. gnash created a logo with his signature glasses and hair flipped to the side. This became more than an image. It’s a symbol of what gnash stands for, to let people know that they’re not alone and help them feel better.
“I wanted to shine a light on growing through insecurity, growing with it...understanding what makes you imperfect”
In his latest single, ‘Dear Insecurity,’ gnash reflects on his own insecurities to connect with other people. Instead of dwelling on imperfections, he’s shifted his mindset to embrace his own flaws. The ends of both verses reflect gnash’s change in perspective: “My imperfections make me perfect” and “Nobody likes you more than when you’re being yourself.” gnash wrote the song to reflect on his personal growth and help others shed their own insecurities. He wants others to apply their own experience to the lyrics.
Every morning, gnash used to start his day looking in the mirror and staring at his chin. He didn’t like the way it looked. He has a slight double chin. “I spent so many days looking in the mirror and being upset with myself,” says gnash. “That caused me to not shed my best energy on the people I would encounter throughout the day.” In ‘Dear Insecurity’ gnash sings:
Some days, when I wake up I see myself in the mirror,
I feel like what shouldn’t be couldn’t be clearer,
My nose to my clothes, from my chin to my skin,
I'll never be good enough ever again
Under a heavy spotlight, gnash used to care more deeply about how he looked on stage and in interviews. Now, he focuses much less on appearance and more on the feeling he portrays. With ‘Dear Insecurity,’ he taps into letting go of the fear of what others may think. “It’s about the feeling that you can’t explain, giving someone a hug, watching someone experience the song for the first time,” says gnash. “As far as my own insecurities, all that matters now is that I’m smiling.”