Emerging Taranaki four-piece FIN RAH ZEL release their new single ‘CLOSER’, a gentle melodious track infused with a smooth R&B groove and observational lyrics from the heart.

With his latest song ‘Closer’, Taranaki singer/songwriter Brian Norton reflects on that often conflicted, confusing experience of being young, male and In a world obsessed with image, where people put everything into their physical presentation and the need to have what he describes as ‘the cool factor’.

Singing: “he walks around with his head held high, he wears a smile for the people passing by, covered in tattoos with the cool shoes on”, Brian is describing someone who looks totally fine from the outside, behind the veil, but beneath the façade is struggling internally with all manner of core issues to do with themselves and their perceived place in the world.

It’s a tendency he notices among young guys he observes around him at work, and as a trainee builder mentor, and even in himself. Brian explains: “You know, dressing up cool, making things look real mean, wearing good brands – but sometimes there are other things going on inside.”

‘It can be so hard to say what’s on your mind. When you’re brought up tough, you close the door when it feels like you’re on the line.’

He continues, ‘Closer’ is about the masks we wear, and how they hide the real person behind the disguise, creating barriers to true communication. The song urges people to open up, to be the ‘real you’, that it’s also cool to talk about the stuff behind the mask, and that talking can bring us closer”.

For the Taranaki-based singer/songwriter writing, performing and recording songs is all about communicating – whether it’s an idea, a story, a fragment of life, a feeling. He isn’t concerned about pushing a particular message, preferring the music to do the talking, backing up his thoughtful lyrics with a compelling chord sequence and melody infused with the feeling he wants to impart to the listener.

Says Brian: “It’s not just the lyrics – it’s more the feeling I’ve tried to put into the song itself through the sounds and melodies. I think there’s a real lightness to it as well.”

A recipient of NZ On Air’s New Music Development Fund, Brian teamed up with Producer Sam Johnson, recording the song at Rhythm Ace Studio, south of New Plymouth. The two collaborated together to inject fresh, original layers and depths to the partially finished song, tweaking lyrics and adding Brian’s rich, warm harmonies.

Brian says he enjoyed the creative collaborative process, and learned lots working with Sam about the possibilities of what you can do with the raw material of a song.

And he’s super proud of the result, saying “If you’re having a tough time, I want you to hear this song and I hope it might change how you feel.”

Not content to sit on their laurels, this young band continue to impress with their dedication to growing their catalogue of warm, heartfelt tunes. Listen out for more new music from Fin Rah Zel coming in 2023!

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