Fitz has released his first solo single “Head Up High” without the rest of his band, Fitz and the Tantrums. He also announced his first solo album for 2021 release, with more details to be revealed later.
“Head Up High” is a feel-good anthem about staying optimistic. The acoustic guitar played on the verses is unusual for Fitz, but the massively-produced pop chorus is not. A wall of vocal effects, bass, drums and a post-chorus trumpet hook complement the catchy tune. It was co-written and co-produced by Ryan Daly, who also produced Fitz and the Tantrums’ last album, All the Feels.
Fitz talked about what inspired the song in a press release, “I wanted to do a tune centered around the acoustic, which is very different from Fitz and the Tantrums. We’ve only used an acoustic guitar on one song in four albums! The chords and lyrics spilled out of me. Ryan and I logged into the ZOOM session, and you could read the weight we were carrying on our faces. Collectively…not as a city, community, country, or even continent…the whole world is carrying the weight of what the Global Pandemic has meant. We’re all experiencing it at the same time. So, the statement rang out, ‘You’ve got to keep your head up’. The message feels so relevant. Life is not a sprint; it’s a marathon. I needed to hear that message and express it in a song to rally everybody to keep their heads above water.”
An accompanying music video features several different animation styles around Fitz and his acoustic guitar. In it, a confident-looking Fitz is unperturbed by the events around him. During the first verse, rain fills a city until it floods and he’s suddenly wearing a diving suit just as the water reaches his head. Throughout the rest of the video, he survives falling from space, driving dangerously in expensive cars and busting out of a statue as columns collapse all around him.
Fitz also had a lot to say about how it feels to have faced rejection for 15 years and through determination, finally made it big, “I didn’t even get my first break until I was 38-years-old. By that, I mean I could sell a bunch of tickets to people other than my friends! It wasn’t until I turned 40 that the band experienced any real success. I busted my ass and faced so much rejection for a good 15 years. I put down this dream more than once because I was so heartbroken and devastated by the industry. However, I had this monkey on my back that said, ‘You’ve got to try again’. To have the opportunity to make what will be my fifth album overall is mind-blowing. It’s already an incredibly unusual path. To make it even more usual, my wife and I were lying in bed and laughing once we finished the contract. I was like, ‘Can we take a moment to appreciate the fact I’m a 50-year-old man who just signed his first record deal?’.”
The solo album doesn’t mean there’s necessarily going to be a break from playing as Fitz and the Tantrums either. Just this month, they played quarantine-friendly shows at Red Rocks Amphitheater and a couple other locations.
Photo credit: Marisa Rose Ficara