Andrew H. Walker, Getty Images Nine days after the deadly tornado that touched…
- Posted on Oct 12th 2012 5:30PM by Shauna Farnell
"I would say it's absolutely changed me," the 34-year-old Pennsylvania-Illinois transplant says of fatherhood. "But when I look at the songs, I think there are some ghosts. I'd like to think I'm writing about what's going on right now. Some emotions are very broad. To me, it's pretty new. The people being written about before are not around anymore. But ghosts and demons, they stick to you."
Fitzsimmons, who was raised by musical parents who both happen to be blind, visits the subject of adoption in his new tracks, but not obviously so.
"The big thing striking me now is I never knew what it meant to be connected like this to someone," he says, cueing his singing voice. "The songs aren't like 'I'm a dad and stuff.' It's about being connected to someone with blood or without, someone making an adoption plan, not giving up a child, but that whole process. It's about being a kid, how it's being colorful, complicated and sad."
Naturally, Fitzsimmons' days are busier now than they were seven years ago, when as a grad student studying mental health counseling and entertaining himself recording music at home. He was first discovered by a Los Angeles talent scout who requested his songs for "Grey's Anatomy."
Now, caring for a 20-month-old child requires a lot of attention and the songwriting has to be worked in strategically.
"Actually, I buy a box of Huggies and give them to her and she deals with that," Fitzsimmons jokes. "No. Really, I'm inundated. It's required a lot more prioritization. I can be a little more on the procrastinating side, but if you only have an hour window, you let that moment be conducive to being productive. You don't have a choice. I'm pleased with how it's going. In the last month or so, I have a nice handful of songs. I'm looking into getting back on the horse. You start to get itchy again to go out and play."
Fitzsimmons doesn't expect to shape the way his songs reach people, and has especially learned through all the various ways his music has been conveyed in TV shows that each listener has his or her own interpretation.
"Over in Europe it's fair game who uses songs for what -- they have to pay but don't need clearance. There was this show that was like 'Survivor' meets 'Fear Factor.' They used one of my songs in a scene where someone was eating deer genitalia. It was a love song. If they'd asked me if they could use it like that I'd have said no. But now I think if someone found one of my songs from that, it's cool."
When certain entities do ask Fitzsimmons to use his songs, if he feels so inclined, 'no' is not a word he is afraid to utter.
"Some folks were putting together a commercial for a drug company. I'm a consumer of psycho pharmaceuticals and I had no problem recommending them to people when I was a therapist, but I don't ever want my songs to be aligned with something like that," he says. "I'm not trying to be Pearl Jam about it. I'm not too cool. But some things are only appropriate for non-commercial use."
As for how his music touches people, Fitzsimmons recalls the first time he came across one of his musical inspirations, Elliot Smith, after hearing Smith on the "Good Will Hunting" soundtrack. He says that believing in one's music is the key and all the exposure it gets (save for endorsing anti-depressants and the like), only provides more opportunities for listeners to relate and find meaning in their own ways.
"If you believe in the art you're making, who am I to judge if someone watches a show or movie that they connect with if they find their songs?" he says, adding that if he could choose a vessel for which his art could serve as a soundtrack, he'd pick one of Wes Anderson's earlier works.
"To be a little more selfish and greedy, I've always been a huge Wes Anderson fan, so that would be really cool. I would have had to be around for 'Bottle Rocket' or 'Rushmore.'"
Time will tell who approaches Fitzsimmons for his upcoming releases of new life-inspired tracks. Don't worry, though. From his descriptions, they will likely still be good ol' sad songs.
"Anderson Cooper was interviewing Adele and he asked if it was necessary to be in a state of heartbreak and tragedy personally to be able to write something about it because she now says she's madly in love. It's so ridiculous to think that everyone is perfectly happy," he says. "Now I'm in a period of writing and I think about the people in my life. I've been through different life experiences and recently adopted a baby girl. I'm not writing sunshine rainbow songs. I tend to connect with the more difficult parts of life. With this little girl, even with the most wonderful, precious things, there is still somebody suffering."