Pushing himself to be as open and raw as possible (“you put my name on a list- I’m number 24”) the new release from Aaron Dinning is nothing if not a statement of intent by an artist looking to be fully and authentically available.
Released on the 6th October, ‘Complicated Art’, a 6-track EP, is proof of further development by an artist already showing both songwriter and musical promise underlined by his desire to tell personal and real stories. “The EP is all about the challenges of finding love as a gay man and of a selection of some of the stories and truths I’ve had in my life so far, I’m incredibly proud of where I got to on this EP and how open I allowed myself to be’.
Building on 2022’s ‘Defying the odds’ single, Complicated Art starts with the Rufus-Wainwright styled piece of operatic piano-minimalism of “24” which bursts into a dancefloor pop track; sprinkled with Dinning’s songwriting style of being open and honest (“in front of me, in bed, have you ever done this before?”). Yet whilst the honesty of 24, and in fact the whole EP, may be the key hook of the EP, there were obvious artistic challenges with this; “the writing wasn’t too bad as it was more like me writing a diary, but I had panics as the EP was getting finished and was closer and closer to being released. I wasn’t sure if I wanted people in the songs to know, or think, that this was about them, or how I felt. But at the end of the day there’s so much of my truth and history in the songs, and I don’t think I could write in a different style, so I’m really proud I pushed myself to be honest”.
Exploring a number of different musical textures (the acoustic guitar opening of ‘Break your jaw’ through to the more gentle, heart-breaking, ‘Daisy Chain’), the heart of Complicated Art is it’s love for pop hooks and catchy melodies; sprinkled with a desire to be completely open. “I think my favourite artists and inspirations have the ability to be brave and to speak their truth and that’s something that I want to be able to do. There’s not too much music by, and about, life as a gay man and especially one from a part of the world where there’s a lot of stereotypes about what a man is supposed to be. I think that’s an interesting area to explore and to be open about.”
With plans already in place for the next creative stages of his life, it’s nice to not only see an artist finding strong artistic foundations, but also growing in confidence to explore new ones; (“I’ve started developing ideas already about what comes next after the EP, whether in terms of the live shows or in terms of the kind of songs I want to write in the future.”)
Though perhaps the best part of Dinning’s evolution is his commitment to his own artistry (“I think more than anything I want to continue to be open and honest, to get braver and bolder and to tell even more of my truth. I’d like to push myself even further”) and that’s great news for all of us.