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Artist Spotlight: Stay Over talks making vulnerable music and the journey to find his sound

Stay Over isn’t sure about this life yet, but he’s definitely on a journey to figure it out. The rising alt star has recently released his latest single, along with a chaotic music video to accompany the message of the song. Atlas spoke with Stay Over via email about the inspiration behind the track, his relationship with music and making music so people feel less alone.

Can you tell us a bit about how you got started in music and how you found your sound?

I’m still finding my sound. I’m still finding myself. That’s the journey I’m on right now…to figure out who the fuck I really am. Music has always been a part of me. It’s been my life since I was a kid. Drumming. Rapping. Poetry. Singing for freedom and feeling like a superhero who can put words together to express himself. It’s been my escape from the real world. 

Who do you count among your main influences and inspirations?

Benjamin Gibbard, singer-songwriter from Death Cab For Cutie and Postal Service. Without him I wouldn’t be writing. Same with Kanye West. Those two are the first names that always come to mind.

What’s the story behind your latest single and what was the inspiration for the music video?

IDKATL stands for “i don’t know about this life.” It’s me trying to figure out what the fuck is going on in my head and trying to figure out what is going on around me. Two different realities but both have been confusing the past few years. I’m just searching for answers, to be honest. 

What do you hope listeners will take away from your songs? You’ve spoken a lot about mental health as well – what message do you hope to impart with your music?

I want my music to make people feel a little less alone. Less alone in feeling whatever they’re going through. I’m here to be honest and vulnerable. Through my music, I hope kids can hear the honesty and realize it’s okay to feel like you’re confused or depressed or anxious. It’s okay. I’m just here to be honest. 

Once it’s safe to get back on the road, are you planning to tour? Who would be on your dream lineup?

I can’t wait to tour. It’s the perfect excuse to leave all my problems behind and have fun every night with people that all want to forget about whatever bullshit they’re going through. Dream lineup would be Kanye, Death Cab, Phoebe Bridgers and Briston Maroney. That would be wild. 

What else is coming for the rest of this year? More music, events (online or in person), etc?

More music. I can’t wait to release one of the songs I’m currently working on. It’s probably my favorite song I’ve ever written. I also want to release a project that I can be proud of.

Every person and every band has a different relationship with music than everyone else. What does music mean to you and your life? What about it drives your desire to create?

It’s my therapy. It’s how I can express myself. It’s how I can attempt to sort through these feelings. My desire to create comes from my desire to discover more parts of myself. It’s an extension of me. 

Our industry has been pretty heavily impacted by the pandemic. How are you staying creative and productive in quarantine and do you have any advice for people struggling to do so?

Honestly, it comes in waves. I’ve had weeks where I record every day and then there’s times where I don’t even try to write for a week straight. I’m learning to not be so hard on myself. I need to give myself more love and treat myself like a puppy dog. I wouldn’t be mad at my friend if she wasn’t painting every single day. I would just encourage her to do what makes her feel good and know that when she wants to paint again, she will. 

Is there anything else you’d want people to know about you or this project or is there anything you wish you could talk about more that you may not get asked?

You’re not alone. Everything is temporary. Don’t binge eat when you’re stressed. Choose love and make sure you don’t let your anxiety convince you that you suck. Cuz you don’t. You’re actually really fucking amazing. 


Story by Olivia Khiel
Photo credit: Anthony Campusano