For all of its supposed glamor and excitement, there is a psychological toll, a feeling familiar to almost any performer, that results from the act of getting on stage. The spotlight can both illuminate and cast a long shadow; it is often difficult not to feel exposed under its blinding yellow light, as though you have suddenly realized you are a fraud, devoid of anything to say.
In his new folk-imbued single, “Three Still Listening,” Chavis Chance imagines a young singer-songwriter experiencing the trial of self-doubt with poignant beauty and remarkable sensitivity. The imagined musician prepares a debut for months, only to find that tickets are not selling. Left with a meager audience of mostly friends, only three of whom remain when the curtains fall, doubt and anxiety accompany toppled expectations.
In “Three Still Listening,” Chance’s private sound matches the introspective and private theme. A solo acoustic guitar provides the hook, a quirky folk-blues intro, giving way to rolling chords and Chance’s potent voice. His melodic and harmonic language is stunningly rich, full of chromaticism, dissonance, and chordal suspensions, creating a constant tension that tugs at the heart as well as the ears.
Single notes on the piano soon poke through the sound of solo guitar, an almost pointillistic effect that unfolds into full chords, later joined by cello and choir. The chords are sustained by the added voices, building further tension, suddenly dissolving as the song comes to a stop.
In spite of its theme, Chance’s powerful new tune shouldn’t struggle to find an audience.
“Three Still Listening” is available on all major streaming platforms.
Written by Jacob Jahiel
FOLLOW CHAVIS CHANCE: