[Interview] Nathan Hartono on His Latest Single “I’m Fine” | campus.sg

Nathan Hartono
Photo: Jon Cancio

By Velda Wong

Nathan Hartono’s latest single, titled “I’m Fine”, is an electro-pop English single mixed and produced by Singaporean EDM artist MYRNE, and is taken from his forthcoming EP slated for release in late 2021. The official music video features Nathan as a crash test dummy who sits through a series of art attacks starting with raw eggs and squashed tomatoes, culminating in flying hammers and getting punched in the face by a mysterious boxing glove.

Describing the music video as a “visual depiction of what life feels like sometimes, an unending barrage of nonsense that we are forced to smile through because that’s what other people expect of us,” says Nathan. He continues to push his creative boundaries and produce more music that will be released throughout 2021.

We asked Nathan about his creative process in coming up with “I’m Fine.”

Photo: Jayden Tan

Share with us the inspiration behind this song?

It’s the inner dialogue that goes on in my head whenever someone asks, “How are you?” Because when has there ever been an easy answer to that question?

Your lyrics “Most times I get so confused, Hear the beat, can’t keep the time, Is my heart just over-used”? How were you feeling when you penned these lines?

I am first and foremost a people pleaser. Or at least I try to be. Nothing makes me feel worse than to let others down. People like me tend to spread themselves very thin for the benefit of others, leaving us at the end of the day feeling drained. It is  as if we have overused our capacity to care for everyone but ourselves.

The overall lyrics and melody of the song seem to give off the vibes of being “resigned” to life or fate. Is that the underlying message? To live and let live? And whatever is meant to be will be?

I don’t think there is an “answer”, nobody really has a true answer to all of life’s insanity and unpredictability. Sometimes it is a joyous celebration, other times it is a hailstorm of shit. How you hear and see me in “I’m Fine” is a fairly accurate representation of how I face it all.

“Making up my mind but I am so confused” sounds really relatable. Were you caught in a similar situation that resulted in this feeling? Can you share more and how you overcame it?

I personally find it hard to know how to feel a lot of the time, especially in 2020, now bleeding into this year. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all doom and gloom, I still find life to be an exciting journey, full of adventure and wonderful experiences. Existence just becomes so confusing when more and more limitations are put upon it. I don’t know if I’ve overcome it. But I have this song now, and it definitely helped to compartmentalise those emotions and see them outside of myself.

Your song seems to also convey a feeling of inner strength and resilience, by admitting that we are confused, yet we will be fine at the same time (“No need to worry, Don’t even waste your time”). 

Haha, I’m happy you saw it like that! It wasn’t my intention, but that’s the beauty of songwriting, it can mean anything you want it to. My original intention with the lyric was directed at the person asking the question of “how are you?”. My inner voice wants to answer with “no need to worry, don’t even waste your time” because I don’t want to burden others with my bullshit. So if anything, it is quite the opposite of strength and resilience, it was coming from a place of low self-esteem and self-loathing. But I like your interpretation too!

What other kinds of songs can we expect/look out for in your forthcoming EP slated in late 2021?

That’s a great question, I don’t have a good answer other than, expect MORE!

The official music video of “I’m Fine” is now available on Nathan Hartono’s official YouTube channel: