Even if you don’t know Ricky Reed’s name yet, you’ve definitely heard his fingerprints all over some of your favorite pop songs. I’ll go a step further, not just some of your favorite pop songs, but some of the most successful tracks in the business. Reed provided the production forcefield that skyrocketed both 21 Pilots and Meghan Trainor to massive commercial and radio success.
He’s also produced and written songs for 5 Seconds Of Summer, Robin Thicke, Smallpools (shouts OUT to that incredible pop band), Phantogram, Fifth Harmony, Pitbull, Florida Georgia Line — the list goes on.
But at the end of the day, Reed is a solo artist too. He’s the frontman of the band Wallpaper, and earlier this week he decided to release his own solo track, the first one in three years. Enter “Express Myself.”
Don’t worry, it’s not a remake or interpolation of the classic Charles Wright & The Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band track “Express Yourself.” No no, Reed is far too savvy to fall into that trap. Instead, “Express Myself” does fall into a funk groove right off the bat, and actually reminds me more of a New Radicals more than anything else. “You Get What You Give,” anyone? Yup, that’s a clear touchstone. Ricky Reed’s got the dreamer’s disease.
“Express Yourself” has got an undeniable hook with a gripping message about seizing the moment, Reed’s perfectly-suited pop tenor and a smattering of percussion that will get multiple moments from the song stuck in your head. It’s one of those songs that hits you right in the lizard brain — in short, it’s insanely catchy. If it was still summer, I’d call it a song for that season, but even without the sun, this song is its own source of light.
Here are Reeds thoughts on why he wanted to begin working as a solo artist:
“The current climate in this country had me thinking about how we should never take our freedom of expression for granted. I’ve spent the last three years hiding from the spotlight. It just felt like it was time to lay my truth on the line.”
He also just launched his own label Nice Life, as an imprint under Atlantic Records, so 2017 is sure to be a busy year for Reed. Luckily, he has plenty of avenues to express himself, and I’m more than happy to hear all of them.