WA songwriter Philip La Rosa has unveiled his new single Paradise this week, building on the success of a string of releases since he announced himself both locally and nationally with the viral single Pride in 2016. BRAYDEN EDWARDS caught up with La Rosa to discuss how the song was a testament to his boyfriend of seven years and their journey together; from hiding behind closed doors to eliminating the fear of showing their love to the world.
Congratulations on releasing your new single, Paradise. How long has this been in the works for and how is it different from what you have done before?
Years ago, when I was turning my emotions into music, I would simply write my lyrics and send them over to the producers I was working with, who would then help with the creation of chords and melody. Sometimes, I’d use a super basic beat, loop it and write to that. Paradise was completely different. It was during a time where I had just started learning the basics of piano. I had been teaching myself chords and covering songs by other musicians.
One day, back in April 2019 I sat at the piano and just started playing around with the idea of “tripping through paradise with you.” Within two hours it had come together. I played it every day for a month, removing lyrics, changing chords and refining it. Each time I’d record myself. When I was with the producer, he didn’t change a single lyric or chord. He just created a beautiful production that kept the authenticity of my track. I feel this is the first song that truly reflects who I am and how I feel right now.
You actually recorded it in LA. What was the reason for that and how did that influence the production?
So this wasn’t planned at all! I was on vacation in the states for a month with my partner and roommate at the time. It was during our first week in L.A. and I remember being in Disneyland lining up for a ride and said to my partner “I’m in L.A., why am I not making music here?!” So I jumped on Instagram to start searching for producers and I found Nick Kandler. The music he was producing pulled me in instantly. I was really drawn to his style and vibe. So I emailed him and sent him a video of the last Paradise recording I did prior to leaving home and that night he replied and found time the next day.
So, I moved some tours around and got myself into his studio. It was an experience I’ll never forget. When I first rocked up, I sat down and he said “this is what I’ve got so far.” He played a beat that’s essentially what you hear in the track today. Right from the start he just got it. We recorded vocals until about 3am in the morning. He pushed me to reach new heights and he talked me through channelling my emotions which just poured into the track. Nick made the production what it is. If it wasn’t for finding him, I don’t think I’d be as proud of this production.
What is the message behind this song and what was it that motivated you to write it?
The week I wrote this song my partner and I had just started a new little habit of taking time to reflect on our day and our emotions – being completely open with each other and the people around us. Always talking about the good and the bad as well as expressing what made us happy or how we could fix things. Sharing raw emotions on how we felt about ourselves, about each other and discussing the direction our relationship was heading.
The night before I wrote Paradise, I remember him smiling at me and just saying “we’re really acing this relationship thing” … followed by a high five. And that’s just what this song is about – how much trust we have, how secure we feel and that even though sometimes we trip and fall over we’re still in Paradise with each other.
Every relationship has challenges, but a lot of people might not be able to fully understand some of the challenges you have faced in yours. What have been the most difficult and rewarding parts of that journey?
The most difficult challenge was hitting a point where we felt like we didn’t have a lot to talk about – we live together, go to the same events, watch the same shows and after you’ve re-capped an experience, it feels like you’ve run out of things to discuss. So, about a year ago, we pushed ourselves to have our own adventures, meet new people and make our own friend circles.
This changed everything. It reminded me how much I missed him when I wasn’t with him, and it gave me exciting new things to talk about when I got home. It not only gave me time to sit alone and reflect but I’d also get to wait for him to walk through the door and tell me all about his day. I think every relationship can take something from this. You don’t need to spend every minute of every day with each other. Give each other the space you need to grow as individuals and bring exciting stories home.
And if you were to look back at yourself at the beginning of that seven years together, would you have any advice to give yourself?
I read a quote on the internet once that said, “treat him like he isn’t your boyfriend yet” and I try my hardest to live by this every day. So, I’d go back and tell myself that from day one.
What’s next for you, can we expect any new music or live shows from you in the future?
I’ve decided to hold off on the album for a little longer, but I’ll be releasing some remixes of Paradise soon as well as a few other singles later in the year. I’m finally putting a live set together – so live shows to come!
What does your idea of ‘paradise’ look like?
My paradise is a feeling. You know that same feeling you get when you close your eyes, your feet are in the sand, the breeze is blowing while you can still feel the warmth of the sun? That feeling. That’s the feeling he gives me. From the moment he wakes up and kisses me on the forehead, to the moment we fall asleep at night.