Words: James Frostick
Image: Briana Davis

A few short weeks before the November arrival of Candy’s LP Under The Weather, the Melbourne singer-songwriter is offering another personal insight into his mind. In ‘Validation’, Candy yearns for positive reinforcement, but grapples with a deep-seeded unhappiness within himself that prevents him from attaining or accepting the satisfaction he craves.

It’s been raining a lot in Brisbane lately – the kind of drizzly atmosphere that is especially conducive to moody introspection. There’s been a persistent spray that has dampened moods and energies, and an overcast weekend leads into a similarly damp week. It’s the exact kind of weather I imagine Candy’s new track ‘Validation’ was written in – a persistent inclement haze. The single is the fourth cut from the Melbourne artist’s upcoming long-player Under The Weather, and I couldn’t pick a more appropriate album title for Candy’s isolated and introspective musings – at least as evidenced on this track. Through ‘Validation’s delicate and unhurried instrumentation one can envision its humble bedroom origins, and to flesh out the image in your mind’s eye, just picture a window flecked with moisture and raindrops forming an irregular metronome on the roof. It’s in this secluded moment that Candy (the pseudonym of one Calum Newton) dissects his own insecurities and foibles, cataloguing his earnest desire for recognition, clarity and understanding.

The song’s uncomplicated and dreamy composition foreground’s Calum’s mental strife – his self-esteem is at an all-time low and the struggle precludes him from finding personal contentment, forcing him to seek gratification from others. It’s a relatable quandary, especially when positioned within the framework of an intimate relationship or creative endeavour. We crave approval from others, whether it be the object of our affection or those in a position of power and influence, and its not uncommon to base our self worth on their perception of us. Calum is all too aware of how much his sense of self depends on being seen favourably by others – for example, this crucial line before the chorus:

I’m constantly looking for you to let me know I’ve made the right choice

In ‘Validation’, Calum is expressing his unhealthy need to be ‘on the winning team’, blindly accepting of what others think and too readily willing to put his own opinions on the back-burner. At least in ‘Validation’ Calum now seems to be cognisant of his issue. The track is a gorgeous and poignant reminder of the stock we put in the opinions of others, of how we sell ourselves short at the simple and false promise of elevation in the eyes of those we adore.

Under the Weather will be released on Friday November 16. Candy will be performing at the following dates in the lead-up to the album’s release:

Friday October 26 – MELBOURNE at Yah Yahs
Saturday October 27 – SYDNEY at Golden Age Cinema
Sunday October 28 – WOLLONGONG at North Gong Hotel
Saturday November 3 – BRISBANE at Against The Grain Festival