New Year’s resolutions are not my thing. Let’s face it, most of us give up on the grand “revolution” plans already in the first week. And the new date is just another reason to get confused when filling out paperwork.
Yet, this transitory period is always a time of slowing down and reflecting on the progress made in the last 12 months. And yes, you can never get away from at least some wishful thinking about the future.
Funnily enough, someone else has written my 2023 manifesto. That someone is an artist going by the moniker Qeeran, who has also put it in a song aptly entitled “RIGHT HERE”.
Without going into too much detail or sounding too dramatic, 2022 will definitely not go down as the most successful time in my history books. While I have many things (like this blog) and people (you, my readers) to be thankful for, it was a year full of unpleasant surprises and unwanted obstacles.
But if it taught me anything, it’s this:
Only I know what I need
Taking care of family
Spendin’ time to work on me.
Too bad those words are not exactly mine. They are an excerpt from a song that caught my attention in the first days of 2023 when a Melbourne-based artist sent it to me for consideration.
That muso in question is Qeeran.
The Malaysian-born queer singer, songwriter and producer is an independent creator carving his sonic footprint within the lines of R&B and soul. He counts Galimatias, Alina Baraz and Sabrina Claudio as his most pronounced influences.
Qeeran’s musical background can be traced back to when he was only five (!!!) years old. In more recent times, while also studying in the field of Econometrics/Business Analytics at Monash University, he manifests his artistry and musicianship within his self-produced and self-written tracks.
And he has released quite a few of them since 2020. Plus, he dropped a 6-song EP in 2021, too.
His latest song, “RIGHT HERE” is a relatable anthem about… yep, (self-)love. This is a significant aspect of Qeeran’s identity because his perspective on this profound emotion is that it’s “cyclic and transformative in nature”.
Broadly speaking, the song is about the woes of growing up and the confusion surrounding the beginning of one’s 20s. The young artist pens his struggle and success in finding himself and staying present in the moment, not living in the shoes of others and not striving to be a version of himself that does not exist.
“RIGHT HERE” also touches on the confusion and the constant loss of the sense of direction during the year. Meeting new people and letting go of old ones is a direct result of a turbulent, emotional landscape. This part very much resembles my 2022.
The notion of life’s unpredictability is quite clear in the song’s lyrical layer. In the first verse, Qeeran sings:
I used to wanna be so grown up
Conquer my fears and cry less tears
So I climbed up the tallest trees
Just to fall down.
But then, the second verse reflects that transformative nature of love he so cherishes:
I’ve been taking time to find the little kid in me
No longer in a rush to grow up
I protect my peace
I just stay loving me
Ain’t no baggage holding me
Take it slow and steady
Even though we’re miles apart and our stories are quite different, I can relate to that feeling 100%.
Sonically speaking, the song features a serene blend of traditional R&B and Lo-fi. So it lends itself nicely to the lyrical content.
At the same time, Qeeran admits the new track was “definitely one of the more technically difficult songs to produce”. But he couldn’t be happier with its result.
Alina Baraz’s influence with the switch-up shines very strongly in “RIGHT HERE”. It’s one of the artist’s favourite musical elements that he wants to continue incorporating in his future releases.
To me, one of the most appealing aspects of the song, however, is the story behind it. You can definitely tell that is a personal confession: from losing yourself trying to live someone else’s life to finally finding your way. It sounds dangerously close to my impression of this past year as well.
Qeeran started writing the song at the beginning of 2022 and completed it by mid-February. That’s almost a year between then and the release date of January 6th, 2023. So why wait all this time?
The muso claims he purposely did not release it earlier, though. He wanted to present it to the world at a time when he felt like the most authentic version of himself, arriving at a point emotionally that he “was proud to be at”.
Because, most importantly, “RIGHT HERE” emphasises the major inner growth and the want to stay present for others and yourself. The fact that he wrote, produced, mixed and mastered it in his home studio is also proof that the project is close to the muso’s heart.
Last but not least, if any part of the “RIGHT HERE” lyrics could be my guiding light for this New Year, I’d choose this bit:
No one knows what really happens when we die
No one even knows the true meaning of life
So I’ll stay right in this moment.
It’s nothing revolutionary, I know. But we all need this “here and now” approach once in a while.
So I can’t wait to come back to this post in 12 months to see if Qeeran’s song has truly turned out to be my 2023 manifesto.
But for now, give it a listen below:
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