We caught up with rising L.A. artist Tim Atlas and talked about everything from his latest release to performing in front of Rihanna and Pharrell Williams. Check out our full interview:

Firstly, we have to talk about your latest single. It was released on World Mental Health Day and it’s called ‘Sidestep’ – we would love to know what inspired this particular track?

I can’t recall a particular moment that inspired this track, but I remember the feeling. When I enter a social setting, I always have this underlying fear that I won’t know anybody or I’ll bore them with a mediocre conversation, and it leads to me trying to facilitate a conversation, while pulling from anything I can just to avoid a lull moment. This usually ends in anxiety and pure exhaustion. So when I’m sitting at home prior to going out, I think to myself – would I rather do that or sit at home and be free of someone’s judgement/my mind’s perception of it? More often that not, I choose home and fortunately, I got a song out of it.

Will it be included on your upcoming EP, which is set for release in the new year, can we expect to hear more of that same shimmering pop sound?

Yes. Expect some chorus-y guitars, warbly synth sounds and programmed drum machine samples.

You previously performed for Rihanna and Pharrell, which is just incredible – what was their advice and how has it helped to shape you as an artist?

They encouraged me to be myself but to remember that being an artist includes being an entertainer. Getting out of my studio-hermit-mode and becoming THE dude on stage are two totally different atmospheres and personas. So to change modes to fit each role has been big for me.

You moved to L.A. to pursue your music career, what have been the highlights so far?

Being surrounded by artists has been one of the biggest perks. Everyone is always writing and collaborating. I’m not sure if other artists have experienced a competitive nature in LA’s music scene, but I’ve never felt that at all. I think people just want to make quality shit, and I’m happy to be around that regularly.

You’re a self-producing artist with a highly impressive sound, how do you succeed at making quality music independently?

In terms of production, the resources are so readily available for anyone to make a song. But aside from gear, it takes a lot of persistency, patience, and a belief in what I do. It’s easy to get in your head about what sounds good and what doesn’t. But to surround myself with a team that often validate my ideas or push me to reach for more has played a huge part in me writing these tunes.

If you had to pick one artist or band that has had the biggest influence on your music so far, who would it be and why?

If I had to choose one, I’d probably go with Feist. She’s always toggled the line between pop/soul/folk but it makes so much sense as a fan. I want that for my career.

The last couple of years have seen you gain millions of streams on Spotify, what are your ambitions for 2019?

I hope to see some of these streams translate into a touring fan-base. Until I witness a room filled with people singing a song I wrote, there’s no way for me to fathom the amount of streams we’ve acquired. Also hoping to travel more & make a full length record.

Listen to Sidestep below and be sure to keep up to date with Tim Atlas online here.