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AWARD-WINNING POP SINGER/SONGWRITER SETH SWIRSKY RELEASES HIS LONG-AWAITED THIRD SOLO ALBUM, ‘CIRCLES & SQUARES’
“Renaissance Man” is the traditional phrase we might use to define eclectic creative talents who do it all and do it brilliantly, but Seth Swirsky (www.seth.com) coined a more colorful, contemporary phrase – “Manic Expressive” – to capture his essence as a jack of all artistic trades: hit songwriter (“Tell It To My Heart,” “Prove Your Love,” Taylor Dayne); film director (the award winning documentary “Beatles Stories”), bestselling author (the “Baseball Letters” trilogy) and modern expressionist painter (with a gallery show slated for the fall in Los Angeles).
Every three years or so, Seth also gives us a core piece of his creative heart as a recording artist, alternating dynamically between solo albums and acclaimed collections with his band The Red Button (with partner Mike Ruekberg). Six years after the title track from his album Watercolor Day earned Song of the Year honors at the 2010 Hollywood Music in Media Awards, he’s back with the brand new, emotionally compelling project Circles and Squares set for release August 19, 2016. The title derives from the unique way he goes about creating his huge paintings: he starts by painting big circles and big squares and fills them all in as the muse hits.
Continuing to draw from the endless well of the dreamy pop-rock aesthetic we were treated to from 1965-73, the singer creates a freewheeling and infectious, no holds barred chronicle of his life over the past half-decade. With 16 songs, the ambitious collection nearly equals the 19 he released on Watercolor Day. Yet they’re all under three and a half minutes, like the thousands of pop songs that have inspired Swirsky as an artist.
His commitment to expressing a world of emotions in just a few moments is touched on one of Circle & Square’s key tracks, “Trying To Keep It Simple.” On a deeper level, the song reflects Seth’s hard won wisdom about the things that are truly important in life. “It’s time to walk down a different path,” he sings wistfully.
“This is a very organic record,” he says. “I can honestly say that this was the first time I ever felt that the instruments and songs were actually pulling me off the couch with feelings, stories and sounds that I couldn’t wait to express. With all of my vintage guitars and keyboards, I always have the tools to help me accomplish this – and this time, the tunes flowed deeply and quite literally, the lyrics wrote themselves.”
Seth describes the album as a musical “diary” featuring little bits of his everyday life, like Polaroid snapshots he shares with the listener. “Sonic Ferris Wheel” describes what his panic episodes are like, while “Far Away” finds him in a moment of whimsical daydreaming. There’s even a marriage proposal of sorts (“Let’s Get Married”) and tunes about other facets of a serious, life-changing romance. He taps into ’60s and ‘70s influences like 10cc (the opening tune “Shine”), Simon & Garfunkel (“I Think of Her”), Wings (“Circles and Squares”), The Byrds (“Table”) and others.
Seth was known for penning infectious, instantly singable melodies when he was scoring hits for the likes of Air Supply (“After All”), Olivia Newton-John (“Not Gonna Be The One”), Michael McDonald (“Tear It Up”) and Al Green (“Love Is A Beautiful Thing”). His songs have the unique ability to bring listeners back to the golden age of pop music – yet the feel remarkably fresh and current. But rather than attempt to be like his musical heroes, through his highly melodic tunes, he’s continuing the glorious traditions they started.
Unintentionally, Swirsky had as his models for recording Circles & Squares; the first solo works by Lennon (Plastic Ono Band) and McCartney (McCartney) after The Beatles split in 1969. Seth wrote, sang and played everything like Paul did on McCartney, and aimed to approach the kind of brutal, personal diary-like honesty of John’s songs on Plastic Ono Band.
Many of the more romantic songs on the album were borne of a deep relationship Seth had during the making of it. He’s at his most poetic and passionate sharing various stops on that journey through songs like, “I Don’t Have Anything (If I Don’t Have You),” “Let’s Move To Spain,” and “Belong.”
He’s also not shy about reflecting the melancholy that invaded his dreamscape during a subsequent breakup, as on the stark “With Her Now” and “Abyss,” which looks back on the relationship amidst a sonic hypnosis full of soaring synth atmospheres and psychedelic guitars. The album’s coda – and the perfect end of summer bookend to “Shine” – is “I Think of Her,” which includes the line “I’m out here alone on Venice Beach/I think of her but she’s out of reach.”
“I see this album like a musical painting, even up to the end. I’m just making a painting with sounds. When I’m stuck in the middle of a song and can’t seem to break the mental block, I stop and paint – and that helps me with my songwriting. One art form always seems to help another one, in my world.”
Seth adapts a famous quote from surrealist painter Salvador Dali as his own personal philosophy: “Every day I wake up and ask myself, what is Seth going to do today?” With each new dawn, the question has no concrete answers but endless possibilities and always fulfilling outcomes: “It’s easy to start projects”, Swirsky says. “But, the true joy comes in the making and finishing of them!”
While longtime pop fans are still delighting to the hit songs he wrote over a 30-year span, for numerous pop superstars, his accolades in recent years have included his debut album Instant Pleasure winning Independent Pop Album of the Year at the 2005 Los Angeles Music Awards and “Watercolor Day”, the title song from his last album, winning Pop Song of the Year at the 2010 Hollywood Music and Media Awards. The first singles off the two The Red Button albums — “Cruel Girl” and “Caught in the Middle” – were named "The Coolest Song in the World” on "Little Steven" Van Zandt's syndicated radio show “The Underground Garage.”
Also a notable filmmaker and documentarian, Seth’s news-making “Beatles Stories” was chosen as an Official Selection at over 20 film festivals, making its premiere in London in 2012 before being picked up for worldwide distribution by Cinema Libre.
As an author, he has written multiple popular volumes related to his passion for baseball and his legendary memorabilia collection (he owned the ball that went through Buckner’s legs!). In 2017, he will publish the first book related to his work as a clinical psychologist, titled “21 Days to a Happier Depression.”
For the latest on Seth and to pre-order the album, visit www.seth.com.