SAGE CHARMAINE x ROCKY LYNCH Collaborate on Remix of her Debut Single,
By: Angie Piccirillo
Musical collaborations these days are often spawned from the offices of major music label marketing teams. Sometimes their pairings are so absurd it often will make you question how 6ix9ine ended up on a song with Nicki Minaj, or how Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon ended up on an Eminem song. However, some of history’s best songs came from musical collaborations — like “Lady Marmalade” ft. P!NK, Christina Aguilera, Mya and Lil Kim, all the way to “Beauty and The Beast” with Celine Dion and Peabo Bryson.
For all the collabs that were planned by someone else, some artists strictly reserve their collaborations for people they’ve met and worked with already, or sometimes, they keep a running list of people they dream about collaborating with from afar.
For 15 year old indie-pop songstress Sage Charmaine, she’s had her collab “wish list” as long as she can remember. Writing songs since she was just seven years old, she dreamed of singing with legendary pop stars like Michael Jackson, and emo kings like Gerard Way from My Chemical Romance. Though collaborating with such popular icons is likely a pipe dream, Sage’s “wish list” of collaborations runs all the way from some of the most famous musicians, to artists she’s recently found on Soundcloud.
For her, their fame seemingly isn’t as important as their talent or what they might be able to bring to the table as an artist. “Clairo, Cuco, YBN Cordae & Nahmir, and Denzel Curry… the list is quite long,”
“The two biggest things I look for when deciding whether or not I want to work with someone is if their music is interesting and unique to me, and I also look for the kind of person they are, to make sure I can agree and get along well with them. The people on the list inspire me and make me want to work with them because of how raw, meaningful, and cool their music is. I love working with musicians that stand out from everyone else and then seeing their take and feedback on something I’ve done.”
Ending up accidentally (and successfully) in acting as a youngster, Sage would see many of the same faces over and over again by way of auditions — and though she never met any of the Lynch brothers at that time, she feels she saw them grow up in the media along with herself. She undoubtedly can relate to attending multiple auditions for Disney and Nickelodeon shows for the past ten years, not unlike the brothers Lynch.
Though she wasn’t necessarily a crazy R5 fan and didn’t have their posters lining her walls, she did know of Rocky Lynch. After some previous false starts (all unreleased) with other musical styles that Sage felt just weren’t right for her, flash forward to 2017, when Sage’s first single, “Cherries” was released as her debut from a new batch of songs under the moniker Sage Charmaine. “I was still growing up as a person and figuring everything out. I didn’t even know myself 100% yet so I wasn’t sure who I wanted to be and what I wanted to sound and look like. After lots of trial and error, I found myself only a year ago barely starting to piece myself together as a person and artist.”
The tune was originally written alongside the famously rumored-to-be Britney Spears’ actual singing voice, Myah Marie Langston, and was produced by PJ Bianco, known for his work with Nick Jonas and Demi Lovato. The song was considered to go against “normal” song structure according to some music bloggers, who asserted it was missing a traditional bridge, and clocked in at just two minutes — considered pretty short for a song these days. However, Sage isn’t concerned about normality or meeting the status quo, especially when it comes to her music. “I don’t want to be a ‘normal’ or ‘basic’ pop star. I don’t like, nor do I want to wear the same clothes every other young female singer is wearing and I don’t want to act or sound the same either. I love being ‘different’ because that’s what makes me stand out. I just love being a genuine artist that can say, wear, and do whatever I want.”
Regardless of the mixed reaction to the structural differences of the song, Sage’s voice was acclaimed. The single earned over 100k spins by the end of December, just a few months into Sage’s new brat-pop-with-an-edge version of herself — the version of herself which she considers to be the most authentic. “I would describe my sound as ‘alternative/indie pop’ since it has a little bit of grunginess mixed in with the traditional pop sound, on top of what’s usually a trap beat. Artists I’d say I’m similar-sounding to would be Tame Impala, Hey Violet, Paramore, and Lana Del Rey.”
After a few months, and releasing three follow-up singles, the idea of a remix emerged and Sage was on the lookout for who would be the perfect person for the job to tackle her first very catchy single. Though she had gone up and down her wish list of collaborators, she wasn’t quite sure who would be right straight off the bat.
Meanwhile, in March 2018, Rocky Lynch, previously known as the lead guitarist and 1/5th of popular Hollywood Records band, R5, had announced the start of his new side project with his brother, Ross, called The Driver Era. The brothers had just released their first single, “Preacher Man,” a song with the same pop-melodies we formerly loved from R5, but this time with edgier production. The project spawned from Ross and Rocky wanting to show people that they weren’t exclusive to R5, and boasted a more mature sonic angle to their already successful pop stardom.
The Driver Era announcement was met with surprise from the large community of R5 fans — mostly concerned about the end of R5 — but ultimately excitement surrounded the new project and song. A music video for “Preacher Man” was released shortly after the single, which only solidified that past fans were more than ok with the new project,¸and the tune was considered a total bop.
Shortly after the original tune was released, a remix entitled “Preacher Man RockyRemix” was released, which appeared to be a re-imagined version of the song under Rocky’s solo moniker as a producer and DJ. The remix was much more funky than the original, and showed us a side of Rocky that hadn’t been necessarily seen before… though Rocky has been making music for most of his life, this was really his first time to shine with his production skills at the forefront without his band mates — and it was a ultimately a groovy success.
It was this remix that was the deciding factor for Sage to choose Rocky for the
“Cherries” remix. “I love the ‘Preacher Man’ remix because of the way the song makes you feel. I love songs that give you specific feelings when you listen to them, and it just put me in a happy, dancy mood,” she says. “I just loved the instruments and music in that remix. The production, the editing, and the effects he chose really added to the song. I love Rocky’s specific production style as a whole — which is why I knew he’d be the perfect person.” As for the funky groove style Rocky seems to have on his remixes thus far,
“I had hopes that he’d bring those elements into the remix. I think Rocky has a strong skill in deciding where to build up in a song and where to break it down.”
Rocky took a very simple approach to the remix, seemingly not over thinking the process: “I liked the [original] hook a lot. Normally, when I remix songs — I don’t reference the original too often. I like the remix to not just be a dance remix, but a whole new idea of the song.” Rocky’s take on this sweet little pop song is undoubtedly going to make his stellar production skills shine bright, and chances are, this so-called hobby of his will go much further. “I enjoy all aspects of creating a song. I produce more often because I tend to be working with someone who doesn’t produce. I’ve done some
sessions where I didn’t produce the track and was just a writer, but I’m not as satisfied with the end result,” he says.
It’s obvious that producing comes easy for Rocky, but it’s just one of many of the aspects he brings to the table when it comes to creating music.
“I normally do everything simultaneously: Production, melody, lyrics — and I’ll start mixing pretty early on too,” he says. This obviously isn’t Rocky’s first rodeo in the music biz, and Sage hopes to learn a lot from him. “I want to put out more and more music and work with more artists. I also want to keep excelling and growing,” she adds.
As for the end product for this particular collab? Sage can’t wait for fans to hear this new version. “I released the original song all the way back in December (2017) so I think bringing it back alongside all my new stuff will be super fun and cool. I think after hearing the old “Cherries” so many times I prefer the remix now, since it’s way different. Both versions are fire though!” Rocky adds, “I dig it. My LA friends dig it. Sounds great
in my car. Couldn’t ask for a better turn out.”
Besides being the first collaboration between Sage Charmaine and Rocky, the “Cherries” remix seems to be just the start of a budding musical friendship. The two don’t appear to be stopping with this remix, as sharing their favorite music tracks with each other during this very photo shoot has led them to explore writing new songs together. “She has nice music taste,” Rocky says. And while remixing songs may be another side project for Rocky at the moment, he won’t cease exploring and collaborating with new artists. “Right now it’s basically a hobby. I like dance music. I like making music that you can groove to. I start a lot of these remixes on planes.”
Now, the only real remaining question is: who’s on Rocky’s “wish list” of collaborators?
Stream Sage Charmaine’s latest song, “Cherries” featuring Rocky Lynch below and be sure to grab it on Apple Music.
This spread appears in the pages of TB72 Cherries — SAGE CHARMAINE X ROCKY LYNCH taken from The Work of Art Issue 2018; out now and available to buy here.
This Bitch print exclusive has been produced by
Photographer: Maeghan Donohue | @kreativekommune
Talent: Rocky Lynch |@rockylynch + Sage Charmaine | @sagecharmaine
Stylist: Chainé Leyendecker | @chaineley
Hair: Lauren Nicole | @lomckee
Makeup: Mel Daniel | @mdanielmakeup
Production Assistant: Cory Baker | @legendcb5
Story: Angie Piccirillo | @whatangiesays