Ursae is a Brooklyn-via-Bay Area indie-pop project by artist/singer Andy Campbell. Campbell’s earnest songwriting, coupled with his experience as a producer, results in a left-of-center pop sound that blends DIY guitars with glittery synths and rolling 808s. The arrangements are meticulous and clean but far from sterile, tactfully walking the line between RnB-pop and indie-rock. Ursae, Latin for “bears” (of which Andy is enamored), wants to be as direct as possible with his message; to Andy, it’s all about efficient storytelling. Ursae confidently turns out something refreshingly honest: pop that comes from someone who isn’t a perfect pop star.
As a graduate of NYU Clive Davis Institute, Campbell’s ability to fuse organic instrumentation with fresh modern production is highlighted in his new releases. Drawing influence from the likes of SZA, Bon Iver and Japanese Breakfast, Campbell delivers his own story of reinvention and self-empowerment. The songwriter confides, “I was feeling kind of lost and anxious – I’d recently finished school, Trump had just taken office, I was going through a sort of weird breakup. A lot of shit was changing and I had to figure out who I was gonna be and how I was gonna handle it. I was in a weird place at the time and I wanted to make sense of it by writing music that felt really bold and confident, and just be like, ‘fuck everything you’ve heard, this is me now’”.
Co-produced by Jeremy McDonald (Kevin Garrett, Beyonce), ‘Trust’ narrates building yourself back up after you’ve been broken down and figuring out who you want to be. Campbell shares, “I’ve exchanged the experimental avant-pop of my previous music for a brand of storytelling that is much more focused, with my singing front-and-center instead of hidden in the back”. Showcasing the singer’s impressive falsetto vocal range which glide atop cascading synths, ‘Trust’ is reminiscent of Post Malone meets Toro y Moi. The captivating visuals for ‘Trust’ is the work of director Ben Klein. ‘Long Distance’ oozes with funk-fuelled basslines, dreamlike melodies and kaleidoscopic soundscapes. Detailing the emotions of feeling alone or far away from where you want to be or who you want to be with, the heartfelt song creates an entirely relatable message.
Campbell explains how through the process of making the EP, he has gained confidence in himself as an artist and individual, “I hope that comes through in the music and that anyone listening can learn how to be more confident and comfortable with themselves”. Campbell has seen success performing with artists such as Maggie Rogers, Cafuné and Hunter & Wolfe, as well as playing to sold-out audiences across New York City.