Elon University alumna Rosie Darling ’18 released a new indie-pop single, “Nail in the Coffin,” on April 21, along with a music video. The song is a collaboration with Swedish alt-pop artist Boy in Space that tackles the issue of how a relationship should end and what the last interaction should be, according to Darling.
“Everyone loves a good breakup song but, for me, there were other elements of not knowing when a relationship is over or a friendship is over or when to move on,” Darling said. “How much closure do you need to have?”
As she has been out of college for almost five years, Darling said she finds that maintaining relationships is difficult due to constant growth throughout her 20s.
“You’re a young adult and you’re growing and evolving and some of your friendships don’t necessarily evolve with you,” Darling said.
To reflect this feeling of knowing a relationship is ending, the music video was filmed in Amboy, California, and in Sweden, with Darling and Boy in Space never interacting in person. Dressed in a hot pink pantsuit, Darling roams around the desert at sunset, singing about being scared to let go and packing her significant other’s clothes into a box. Boy in Space, on the other hand, is in a snowy Sweden landscape, essentially roaming around as well, sharing Darling’s concerns.
The two only come together either in a faded visual effect or side-by-side, separated by a thick border. “I still feel you but you’re lost,” is the repeating lyric sung by Darling and Boy in Space, as their similar vocals blend together alongside a simple piano and ethereal echo.
“I live in L.A, he lives in Sweden, and just showing the two different environments was a nice way to show the physical distance but also represent the emotional distance in the song as well,” Darling said.
As of the video’s release date, “Nail in the Coffin” has 357 views and continues to climb every minute.
Contingent with the theme of the video, the song itself was written, produced and mixed primarily over Zoom. Despite being physically distant in the song creation, Darling admired Boy in Space’s vocal ability and talent regarding instrumentals like guitar riffs.
“I love all his music because he doesn't hold back,” Darling said. “There's always one part in the song where there's a huge arc and this crazy moment.”
Darling has been a fan of Boy in Space for many years and she described this opportunity of collaboration as a “fun full circle moment.” She hopes they work together again in the future but also wants to see how the release performs.
“Nail in the Coffin” is one of three singles that will appear on Darling’s debut album, set to come out later this year. Darling said she has worked on this album for a few years and is excited to put out a bigger project with more contemplation on the sequence of songs and lyrics. In fact, Darling called herself a “lyric person.”
“I put so much care and time into perfecting the lyrics of a song that sometimes when I do interviews and I’m asked about things, I’m like, ‘Oh, just listen to the song,’” Darling said. “I've already done the part telling you the story.”
Aside from lyrics though, Darling is happy with how sonically cohesive the songs are thus far. A few producers she has been working with include Justin Gammella, who works with pop artists FINNEAS and Ashe, and Freddy Häggstam, who works with Bebe Rexha and the Chainsmokers.
Darling said while her album is reminiscent of her more pop-style EP’s, it also has a lot of “organic elements,” like piano, drums and strings.
“It’s pretty cinematic,” Darling said. “I definitely feel like it’s a lot of songs that would be in the credits of a movie.”
During her time at Elon, Darling was only involved with music for fun. She collaborated with other musicians on campus, performed at The Oak House and posted covers on the internet. Now, she’s released two EP’s and has over 2 million monthly listeners on Spotify, and has music videos on her YouTube channel with hundreds of thousands of views.
As advice to current Elon musicians, Darling encourages them to follow in her footsteps, as well as to try new things and work their creative muscle.
“I tried a cappella for a year and it wasn't my thing, but I learned a little bit more about math in music, like notes and harmonies and things like that, and also about performing. Having an opportunity to perform in front of however many people fit in Whitley Auditorium gave me experience and also, it's a college performance, so it's low pressure, no one's paying you to do it,” Darling said. “It’s more so the experience and collaborating with who's on campus because you have four different grades there. Until you get in there, I feel like you don't know what your potential collaborations are.”
“Nail in the Coffin” can be streamed on Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes, Tidal, Deezer, Amazon Music, YouTube and Soundcloud.