TEN SONGS EXPLORE THE POWER OF DREAMS, THE JOURNEY OF PERSONAL LOSS, AND THE WEIGHTY, EVER-PRESENT SOUVENIRS OF LOVE
After years in the making, singer-songwriter Conner Cherland has released his first full-length album, LAKE.
Cherland’s latest project is equal parts rapturous and refined, its main objective being to plumb the depths of human feeling while showcasing how he’s honed his craft.
“I want music to be more of an unconscious act. I don’t just want to be a clever writer — I want these songs to cost me something,” said Cherland.
And certainly, this album is proof of the lengths Cherland has traveled for his music career. After quitting his tech job to go all-in, he released his first independent, self-funded EP and moved to Los Angeles from Santa Barbara in 2022.
When contemplating what would come next, he kept returning to one of his biggest sources of inspiration: the score of the Cartoon Network series Over the Garden Wall. He casually shot a message to the show’s team, not expecting an answer. Since then, they’ve offered him their mentorship by teaching him music theory and song composition, and their band, The Blasting Company, is featured on LAKE.
Cherland spent four months taking the concepts he learned from The Blasting Company and tucking them into the folds of fifty songs, an experience he described as borderline religious.
“The routine did feel special, because the vision of writing an entire album helped me settle into the act of writing day after day, and the whole time I just believed there was going to be a forest through the trees,” said Cherland.
At the same time, he was facing the extensive costs that go into recording and producing an album. Cherland made a case to his fanbase for crowdfunding, and the response blew him away. Within a matter of weeks, he was able to meet his funding goal.
What resulted is an album that honors the playfulness of Cherland’s signature acoustic style, while incorporating refined technical music components that create rich sonic landscapes. He decided to release two singles prior to the entire album: “Drugs,” and “Rocket.” Each of these songs explore the power of dreams, the journey of personal loss, and the weighty, ever-present souvenirs of love.
When asked how he approached this project, Cherland said, “You don’t really get to pick what an album is about, do you?” After experiencing the death of a close family friend, much of his music composition was informed by the process of navigating grief, faith dynamics, and human intimacy. “People almost get to that point of sharing their burden and then won’t let it out. They don’t understand that it’s an honor to bear their pain with them. That’s what life is about — being in it together,” he said.
That’s the ultimate project of LAKE. To give listeners brief moments of presence. To help them break through barriers. To share the weight.
Cherland began writing songs late at night while studying at UC Santa Barbara. His early inspirations included Sufjan Stevens, City and Colour, Ed Sheeran, and the High School Musical soundtrack (his favorite movie!). “I felt like I was seeing myself for the first time,” Cherland said. “Being athletic, but secretly artistic. I really enjoy being a blend of the two.”
In his mid-twenties, Cherland chose music over a tech career and has since made a living playing everything from clubs and corporate events to parties and weddings while self-releasing a string of increasingly accomplished records culminating in 2022’s Call Waiting. His debut full-length record captures his tender songcraft, poignant lyricism, and tremulously emotive vocals more vividly than ever before.
LAKE is available to listen on Spotify, Apple, and Soundcloud.
Learn more about Conner Cherland at www.connercherland.com