Chaz Cardigan bares all in “Holograma”

The new EP bleeds the past, present and future of the singer-songwriter


Photo taken and approved by Joelle Grace

In a year built on uncertainty, Chaz Cardigan has watched his career take flight. Born Chaz Mckinney, the Nashville-based artist,  has had triumph after triumph in 2020. From debuting his first major-label release “Vulnerabilia,” to having his track “As I’ll Ever Be” featured in the popular film series “To All the Boys” and even having his single “Not OK!” chart as a Top 20 Alternative track. Now, McKinney released his second studio project “Holograma,” on Oct. 22. 

“The whole EP is pretty much about like flipping perspectives,” McKinney said with a snap. “It’s all about context for things changing and recontextualizing your ideas and your perspectives on things,” he continued. The eight-track EP is a push and pull, ranging from topics like faith and sexuality to self-acceptance and former relationships. Each track tells its own story while still joining in harmony to create an overarching narrative. As McKinney sat down in a press conference earlier this week he explored the deeper meanings and moments of his latest EP. 

“I think I really made songs I wish I heard as a teenager,” McKinney said of the EP. He admitted some of his influences to be Third Eye Blind, The Goo Goo Dolls, Lana Del Rey and The Killers among others, all of which can be felt throughout the listener’s journey. “It’s music that makes me feel young, but for my experience, the music that reminds me of being young,” he started. “It’s these light, hooky pop songs, with swimmy, sometimes nasty, guitars in them.”  

Making the songs he wanted meant building them from the ground up. McKinney wore the hat of not only writer but producer as well. “My relationship with producing isn’t separate from my relationship with writing,” he explained. “I always thought if I wanted to make music…I have to know how to produce.” In a way, this gives McKinney an edge, his sound became his own purely because he crafted it, but he confesses “Holograma” is comprised of the least tracks he’s produced on his own. “I have a hand in all of them and I’m usually playing all the instruments on them,” he started, but only one track he did all on his own. While each track can stand out on its own, here are a few of the highlights. 


“It makes me feel warm,” said McKinney when asked about “Room,” a track he’d actually released in late September. McKinney has a knack for painting a scene, with each record packing on the descriptives, but “Room” is the epitome of his talents. “The song is about the bedroom of the first person I was in love with. Whatever that means when you’re in high school,” he divulges. His lyrics “Old cell phones in the drawer / An ID card you didn’t use anymore / An old map of Ecuador” allow you to feel like you’re in the room where it happened, but also weigh you down with your own personal nostalgias, sparking memories of our own first loves. “I have never really been as invested in a relationship since that first one because I’m always chasing that initial high,” he uttered, words that have never struck a deeper chord. He summed it up as “reliving, but not staying stuck in the past.”

Jesus Christ I’m Lonely

This is the track that McKinney admits to doing all on his own. “I was adamant about doing this because it’s the most personal one on there,” he said, and I couldn’t agree more. “Jesus Christ I’m Lonely” stands out among the rest, reminding me slightly of Joan Osborne’s “One of Us.” The track reflects on McKinney’s own faith and his relationship with spirituality as well as society’s own faith dynamic. The lyrics are quick-witted, but still an emotional rollercoaster. Lines like, “Yeah, we love to talk Father George when we’re praying / Uncle Sam and Mother Mary getting it on / Why’s it so hard to share some love with your neighbor? / The immigrant, the radical, the prodigal son,” requires a deep reflection, something I don’t often find in a classic pop song. This is what makes him special, his ability to write so transparently, his ability to move you.  

Change Your Mind

For McKinney “Change Your Mind” had the potential to grant immunity in a zombie apocalypse. “I actually thought about that exact question while writing this song,” said McKinney. Begging for a much-needed explanation he explained himself, “I think ‘Change Your Mind’ is both the most fun and has the most amount of like tension and release.” The song opens with a WALK THE MOON like beat, reminiscent of their track “Shut Up and Dance.” Yet, the track somehow feels uniquely it’s own. It’s the type a song that would get everyone on their feet at a grade school dance, uplifting with a hint of romance. McKinney likened its essence to Fall Out Boy’s “A Little Less Sixteen Candles, a Little More ‘Touch Me’” saying, “It’s like this really upbeat pop song, but they’re [Fall Out Boy] vampire hunters. That’s exactly what ‘Change Your Mind’ is for me.”  

“So much of ‘Holograma’ was written as my life was totally changing,” exclaimed the singer. Even with all the change, the singer-songwriter admits that “Holograma” in comparison to his other works, is far more sure of itself. There’s profound confidence throughout the EP; listeners feel like McKinney knows what he’s doing. “Holograma” has it all, whether you need a good cry or some good bedroom pop. It’s the first body of work I’ve encountered in a while that allows for reflection, introspection and an inquisitive mind. “Holograma” goes there, while still being easy on the ears, but effective on the heart.

“Holograma” is streaming now on all platforms.

Email Nasya at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @nasblackshear.

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