Royal & the Serpent‘s breakout hit, “Overwhelmed,” certainly arrived at an overwhelming time.
While the track first dropped amid the COVID-19 pandemic in June 2020, Royal tells ABC Audio that she had originally written it about the “overwhelming social anxiety” with which she struggled.
“It was actually about…being at shows with bright lights and a lot of people and loud noises, and these panic attacks that I was having just being totally overstimulated,” Royal explains.
She continues, “I think by the time it came out, everyone was in complete isolation, and was overwhelmed for a myriad of other valid reasons.”
Of course, Royal will return to the world of crowds, bright lights and loud noises when she hits the road Friday on a tour opening for PVRIS. But as Royal explains, being on stage is where she feels “safe.”
“I think there’s a totally different energy having your headphones in [on stage], and the bright lights, you can’t really see anybody,” Royal says. “It’s more so when you’re out in the crowd, and the noise and the people and everything.”
The tour will also give Royal the opportunity to finally bring “Overwhelmed” — and her new EP Searching for Nirvana — to the live stage in a much bigger way. She recalls only getting to play the “final” version of “Overwhelmed” at a Los Angeles show just before the pandemic hit.
“We had finished it and sent it to the label, and nobody was excited about it yet,” Royal shares. “I remember all of my label people came to the show, we performed it live, there’s this big choreo number, and all of my A&Rs at the end of the show [were], like, ‘No, that’s the version! We have to put that one out, that was sick!'”
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