Singer and songwriter Killian Hough, 21, cites Lana Del Rey as one of his influences, and that influence is immediately apparent in the song “Spiked Arnold Palmers (Interlude)” from Hough’s debut album. The first few notes of the song transport the listener into a dreamlike, beachy world—though the lyrics are not so much a dreamy, easy escape than a thoughtful diary entry. The juxtaposition is not an accident.
“My sound is kind of a mixed bag… I really want people to take away that you can be a complex person… there are ups and downs. One of the most important things I want listeners to take away is that mental health is important. Don’t be the person who looks the other way or blames the struggler. A few of these tracks are definitely a call to action.” Given that it’s Mental Illness Awareness Week, “Spiked Arnold Palmers” dropped at an opportune time to spread such a critical message.
On the instrumental side, the beachy vibes distinguish Hough from his musical influences, which also include The Mamas and The Papas, Frank Sinatra, and The Weeknd. Intrigued? You should be. Hough is on a mission to bring back a sound you didn’t know you were missing. “I am an old soul in a lot of ways, especially musically. I really love incorporating [the] folk and surf elements I was raised with. I really want to bring it back.”
If this is what Hough is bringing, we’re ready for it. He puts his heart and soul into his music, and it shows. The “mixed bag” sound is a sound in itself, and we wouldn’t be surprised to hear Hough playing a festival in the future. “If we are talking West Coast or Midwest by the river…that is where my music belongs, I think.” Until then, we think Hough’s music belongs in your earbuds.