2023 Press Release
After years in the making, singer-songwriter Conner Cherland is releasing his first full-length album, LAKE, in October of this year.
Cherland’s newest project is equal parts rapturous and refined, its main objective being to plumb the depths of human feeling while showcasing how he’s honed his craft. “I want music to be more of an unconscious act. I don’t just want to be a clever writer — I want these songs to cost me something,” he admits.
And certainly, this album is proof of the lengths Cherland has traveled for his music career. After quitting his tech job to go all-in, he released his first independent, self-funded EP and moved to Los Angeles in 2022. When contemplating what would come next, he kept returning to one of his biggest sources of inspiration: the score of the cartoon series Over the Garden Wall. He casually shot a message to the show’s team, not expecting an answer. Since then, they’ve offered him their mentorship by teaching him music theory and song composition, and their band, The Blasting Company, will be featured on LAKE.
Cherland spent four months taking the concepts he learned from The Blasting Company and tucking them into the folds of fifty songs, an experience he described as borderline religious: “The routine did feel special, because I called the process what it was: writing an entire album. Having a vision helped me settle into the act day after day, and the whole time I just believed there was going to be something there.”
At the same time, he was facing the extensive costs that go into recording and producing an album. Cherland made a case to his fanbase for crowdfunding, and the response blew him away. Within a matter of weeks, he was able to meet his funding goal.
What resulted is an album that honors the playfulness of Cherland’s signature acoustic style, while incorporating refined technical music components that create rich sonic landscapes. He decided to release three singles prior to the entire album: “Drugs,” “Rocket,” and “Happy.” Each of these songs explore the power of dreams, the journey of personal loss, and the weighty, ever-present souvenirs of love.
When asked how he approached this project, Cherland thoughtfully muses, “You don’t really get to pick what an album is about, do you?” After experiencing the death of a close family friend, much of his music composition was informed by the process of navigating grief, faith dynamics, and human intimacy. “People almost get to that point of sharing their burden and then won’t let it out. They don’t understand that it’s an honor to bear their pain with them. That’s what life is about — being in it together.”
That’s the ultimate project of LAKE. To give listeners brief moments of presence. To help them break through barriers. To share the weight.
A self-described former volleyball jock, Cherland began writing songs while still studying at UCSB. Early inspirations included Sufjan Stevens, City and Colour, Ed Sheeran, and something of an epiphany while watching his favorite movie, High School Musical. “I felt like I was seeing myself for the first time,” Cherland said. “I still love being athletic, but I’m very artistic as well. I really enjoy being a blend of the two.”