From humming songs on the radio as a toddler to contemplating the complexities of My Chemical Romance during his teen years,

Louis De Tilly (COL ’16) has always had a deep appreciation for music. Now, with years of classical training and songwriting practice under his belt, he anticipates the release of his first EP on April 30.

In his earlier days, De Tilly tried his hand at a variety of instruments. “My mom started me on violin. I didn’t like it. I only went [to the lessons] for the candy,” De Tilly said. “Two years later, of my own volition, I signed myself up for piano, and I really enjoyed that. And then one Christmas, a few years later, I asked for a guitar, and that was when my songwriting began.”

His first song was an upbeat track called “Skydiving,” and, from there, he began to explore a variety of musical styles. “When I started, the songs were more upbeat and cheerful. Then I went through a phase where they were not dark lyrically but dark musically — chords that make you feel a bit uneasy but are really cool,” De Tilly said.

He suggested that his changes in style over time might simply be due to getting older and being exposed to a variety of artists. “When I listened to the Red Hot Chili Peppers in my teens, it was more cheerful. When I listened to folk, it was a bit sadder. And now it’s a lot heavier and a bit more electronic because that’s the modern sound that’s coming through more nowadays,” he said.

When writing a new song, De Tilly finds that composing the music itself is the easy part. “For me, lyrics have always been tough because it’s a very vulnerable state when you write how you feel,” he said. “When you manage to get a genuine expression, you don’t feel like you could put that to music as entertainment. It feels like it should be by itself as poetry.”

De Tilly has developed a method for his songwriting that encapsulates his strengths as an artist. “When I write my songs, I write the music first and then I improvise lyrics that flow with the sound really well,” De Tilly said. “The lyrics will make sense, but they will be made up as a tool for the sound, just like another instrument, instead of actually trying to say something. But a lot of the time it does end up saying something.”

While Pompadour — his EP titled after his stage name — is still in its preliminary stages, De Tilly plans to create four to six tracks using a combination of guitar, vocals, synths, digital sounds and background vocals. His ideas for the EP are influenced by current trends in alternative pop music with elements of hip-hop, pop and rock (thanks to the new electric guitar he got for Christmas). As a result, his work does not fit neatly into one genre, but this is what makes it unique.

“When you write music, you always consider it your own,” De Tilly said. “It takes other people to decide where it fits into music in general.”

If he finds success in his current musical ambitions, De Tilly hopes to make a career in the industry.

“I would want to become a producer or work in the music industry in general,” he said. “Not necessarily on stage because my music is more for fun, but behind the scenes making stuff happen.”

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