Christian Tropiano Talks Debut EP “Handshake”

Kat Harlton

Christian Tropiano recently released his debut 5-track EP “Handshake“, a collection of songs stemming from the desire to connect with his audience. Each song is crafted from an intimate and special perspective anchored in the singular experience of being human. As for the sound, you can hear echoes of John Mayer and vocals that convey real emotions.

We had a chat with Christian about his debut EP, the creative process, and what he’s learned along the way.

Kat: Can you talk about the inspiration behind your debut EP ‘’Handshake’’?

Christian: Handshake is an opportunity for me to introduce myself both personally and musically to listeners. I sing about deeply personal issues like mental health and relationships, while offering subtle changes in genre between each song, including R&B and pop. I have always listened to and written a variety of musical styles, so it was important to me to showcase my interests on my debut release. ‘’Handshake’’ by no means includes everything I like to play and listen to, but it’s a robust introduction that leaves room for me to explore my sound on future releases.  

Kat: What do you hope fans take from single ‘’Shadows’’?

Christian: The main takeaway from ‘’Shadows’’ is the permission to emotionally open yourself to someone new. ‘’Shadows’’ is a celebration of finding healthy love after a period of self-reflection following a previous relationship. Vulnerability is a trendy topic lately, and although some of the discourse around it can be manufactured to boost views and likes on social media, it’s ultimately a good thing. Without becoming vulnerable at the time that I met the person that inspired “Shadows”, I wouldn’t have an experience to write about. The song wouldn’t be nearly as meaningful. I didn’t set out to make a statement against toxic masculinity or anything like that – I wrote from an honest place, which happened to be about getting over yourself to make room for someone and something new. 

Kat: What do you find is the most challenging part of your creative process?

Christian: Understanding the creative ceiling for a song is a challenging but rewarding part of my process. When I have a song idea, its potential seems limitless. I want to write everything I can about a particular idea, but songs are better when they’re concise and specific. It’s challenging because if I think an idea is worth writing, I want to execute it perfectly, which can lead to overthinking it. Taking “Shadows” as an example, I could have written a handful of extra verses, but at a certain point, you just start repeating a message using different words. The rewarding part is that I’ve learned to hone in on my process so I can still feel like I’ve expressed myself as much as possible. I believe it makes my writing relatable, to the point and anchored in a well-told story. The process of refining a song down to its strongest form makes songwriting its own kind of high for me. It motivates me to always chase the next song.  

Kat: What has been a career highlight for you so far? What have you learned along the way?

Christian: There are two highlights for me – the release of my debut EP “Handshake”, which is tangible, and falling in love with the creative process. I consider this both an achievement and an ongoing process. I’m obviously very excited to have written, recorded, and released my first collection of songs. At the risk of sounding corny, I’m even happier that I maintained a healthy relationship with music now that I’ve made that relationship professional. Before deciding to pursue a music career, part of me worried I’d fall out of love with music if I turned it into a job. Thankfully, the reality is that now I’m even more passionate about making music, and my excitement is reinforced by my knowing I’m just getting started. Ever since releasing “Handshake”, I’ve been hyper-focused on writing, both on my own and with other writers. I think whatever I put out next will mark a huge evolution in my sound. Again, I’m just getting started, and I think it’s worth following along to find out what’s next. 

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