Delacey has finally unleashed her debut album, after years of success songwriting for some of music’s biggest artists. The Orange County native has worked with the likes of Demi Lovato, Zara Larsson, The Chainsmokers, and co-penning Halsey’s #1 hit “Without You.”
Real name Brittany Amaradio has been surrounded by music her entire life, songwriting and playing piano at the early age of 7. Her musical palette growing up included everyone from Elvis and The Beatles to the Spice Girls and the Backstreet Boys. Being the rebel she was in high school, she knew college wasn’t for her — so she upped and left to New York City.
But shit hit the fan quick. In her sunken times working for a photography agency during the day and performing open mics in the evenings, she wrote a record that would change her career forever: “New York City.” Inserting real-life emotions and feelings about the struggle of making it in your career, and simultaneously pairing it with hope, The Chainsmokers would go on to cut the record.
Fast forward to 2020, the 27-year-old continues her strong pen game: but for her own music. After 6 years of professional songwriting and only a year of releasing her own songs, Delacey unleashes her debut project titled Black Coffee. The metaphor you’ll understand through listening.
Flaunt caught up with Delacey over the phone as she’s quarantined in her apartment in Silverlake to discuss her journey moving coast to coast, naming her project Black Coffee, her top artists in rotation, recording with G-Eazy, and more!
What part of Orange County are you from?
We moved around a lot, but mostly from San Juan Capistrano. It’s by the Laguna Beach area, really south. I’m a beach girl.
Do you miss the beach?
Yeah, because I’m really far from the beach now! It’s funny because in LA, you can be 2 miles from something and it takes you an hour to get there. [chuckles] So I never go to the beach really, but I do go to Orange County a lot because I’m super close with my family.
What was the household like growing up?
It’s a small town, really mellow. I grew up with a lot of love in my family. I went through a lot as a kid, like a lot of people do. We went through a lot as a family but in general, we had a lot of love. We stayed so close. We’re all each other’s best friends still.
At what point did the music thing become for real?
When I graduated high school, I moved to New York City. I’ve been into photography my whole life and I worked for a photographer. I got this job off of my photographs, I lied and said I went to college even when I didn’t. I got this job (which I really shouldn’t have gotten), but I got it for my photos. I moved out there with everything I had in the bank, which was nothing so I was living in a shithole. I moved out there with one of my best friends. The whole time I was there, I only cared about music. I was writing on my guitar, doing open mic nights.
I decided to come back to LA. I didn’t know anyone out here because OC and LA or so separated, but I’m like “I’m going to try, I’m going to figure it out.” That’s how I’ve always been when I want something: I go after it and get it. I decided to give it a real try. I was recording demos, commuting back and forth from OC to LA. Somebody heard one of my demos, signed me to a little publishing deal as a songwriter and an artist. I had no idea that was even a career before then, I was so excited. Long story short: one of the songs I wrote when I was in New York City was my first pop cut. It got cut by a big artist, that was my start.
What song was that?
It’s called “New York City,” it came out with The Chainsmokers actually. It was really cool for me because I was living out there. I was so depressed, lost, and poor. I thought “what am I doing with my life? Am I ever going to be somebody?” I remember when I wrote the song, I was looking out at the city on my guitar. When I went back there, it was playing on the radio on Z100 in New York. So crazy. There was a Billboard article about it [chuckles], my mind was blown.
Can you talk about also writing Halsey’s “Without You”?
I wrote that with a couple of my friends: Louis Bell and Amy Allen. It came together really quickly and Halsey took it right away. She wrote on it too and put it out. That song’s crazy how big it got, I can’t even believe it.
I was going to ask, did you think it’d be what it was?
No, you never know. You honestly never know what a song is going to do. You write it and you really love it, it’s personal to you, but you never know how much it’s going to connect with other people. A lot of things come into play as a songwriter: the right person taking it, the right timing, everything. You just never know.
You’ve been an artist always, that’s always the case with songwriters. Was it hard to transition to focus on your own artistry?
I like how you put that, songwriters are all artists. It happened not on purpose only because I got comfortable as a songwriter. Also making a lot of amazing friends in the industry who were artists, seeing their lives and their struggle, that didn’t really appeal to me so much — as much as it did when I was a kid and I thought it’s what I wanted. There was definitely a point when I thought I‘d never put out music myself.
I struggled with that a lot because of all my relationships in the industry, a lot of people would say “you should put out this song, your voice sounds so good on it. It’s so personal coming from you.” The transition happened because I had this turning point in my career where I was feeling so lost. Nothing was really going right for me. I wasn’t having the success I needed to even buy gas honestly, or to pay rent.
I heard songwriters don’t get paid fairly.
It’s really hard. You get paid eventually… it depends. We don’t get paid fairly as much as we used to, so it’s hard. I was at a low point in my life, in my career. I was feeling really lost. I was being pulled to sign a record deal, but it didn’t feel right. I was confused, why did I fall out of love with music? What am I supposed to be doing? Am I supposed to be an artist? I grew up performing my whole life, maybe that’s why this isn’t working because I never pursued that route.
I decided to go to New York City because one of my best friend’s a producer out there. Ido Zmishlany, he’s out in Brooklyn. I called him up and said “can we make something?” I went out there for a month and we wrote a whole album. Later, I barely played it for anyone because even then I’m like, “maybe this is nothing. I’ll keep this forever to myself.” I played it for very few people, and L.A. Ried was one of them. He signed me [to HitCo]. We clicked so well, it’s been amazing ever since. Haven’t looked back. [chuckles]
How does it feel to release your debut album, Black Coffee?
It’s weird because of everything that’s going on in the world. I had this release date for my debut album for months and months. When COVID-19 hit and this whole pandemic happened, it was so stressful because I was really scared for all my loved ones. For everyone, for the world, for our future, for people’s jobs. I’m such an empath so I’m feeling it so much from people that it made me so depressed. I got paralyzed with anxiety. I was really struggling to feel excited, also feeling guilty for ever celebrating that. Thinking people would care about something like that when something more serious is happening.
As time went on, I realized my fans and listeners, even as a person who loves listening to music, it’s really great that we can still make art through this. We can still appreciate art, especially when we’re sitting in our houses really locked up. I’ve been really enjoying discovering new things, new films, new art, new music, learning new skills. I decided to be positive about it and stick to it, because who knows when it’s going to be over? There’s no time like the present. I’m excited, it’s really amazing. The reception’s been great, it was the right timing even though I couldn’t celebrate it in a very real way. I couldn’t throw a big rager, but I celebrated with my family. We played a drinking game and got really wasted, so that was fun. [laughs]
The album has been the themes: love, sex, fear, strength. Can you touch on that?
I’ve struggled with the idea of love my whole entire life. I’ve always been so cynical when it comes to love, I’ve always self-sabotaged. I also pick people who are really bad for me, I think on purpose. That was my whole life. I never really wanted to get married or be with one person forever, I was super cynical about it. I’d just gotten out of a super toxic relationship and a year later, getting into a super healthy one when I was writing this album. Falling madly in love for this amazing person.
I love sex. I was having great sex. [chuckles] Vulnerability is really amazing because as a writer (especially in pop), I hate having to censor anything. Looking too weak or seeming too vulnerable, when fuck! We are too vulnerable sometimes, we are really weak. Especially in relationships, we get insecure. I didn’t want to filter anything. I had it exactly like it was. I told the truth.
What were you going through when you recorded “Black Coffee”?
The love we think we deserve, we accept. It was really unfamiliar, this amazing relationship was uncharted territory for me. I was feeling undeserving. I was starting to self-sabotage it and I could tell. But he was so amazing that I wanted to dive into it and make him a better person too. Also him accepting me for all those things: my cynicism and my darkness. The whole album was summing me up in a weird way, not just in relationships but in general. I talk about my ex a little bit in it too. The whole black coffee: unfiltered, no sweetener. That’s why I named my album after it.
How’d you link with G-Eazy on “Cruel Intentions”?
We have a lot of mutual friends, obviously being in the industry. I’ve always wanted to work with him. He’s super talented, I’ve always been a fan. We didn’t plan for it to be a G-Eazy/Delacey song. I was more songwriter hat when we had that session. I was with my friends who had written “Him & I” with him. They’re doing a collaboration, I got pulled into the room as a writer. I sang it because I’m the singer in the room. He wanted me to sing it, we loved it. Both of us believed in the record for so long and it never found a place. It never found another person to jump on, never really fit into exactly what G was doing, but we both believed in it. I’m like “why don’t I put it out?” We loved it so much, kept coming back to it. He’s like “fuck yeah,” we put it out. We recorded a video, I’m really excited.
How do you create a vibe in the studio?
Sometimes I write my lyrics first, or I have concepts because of my daily life. Whenever I’m going through something, I’ll jot things down constantly just from when inspiration strikes. In a studio, I need to hear those chords. [chuckles] However many chords it is, the magical chords are what will flow a song for me.
3 things you need in the studio?
I need tea because I’m psycho about my voice. I take such good care of my voice. Water. Sometimes I like to have wine. Good people. I find my core people that I like to create with and usually keep my people around me when I write.
Who are your top 5 artists in rotation?
Billie Holiday is always my #1. She’s my most listened to every year on Spotify every year. I listen to Drake a lot honestly. Every single person does. I listen to King Krule a lot. I listen to Fleetwood Mac all the time. I listen to Nat King Cole, Miles Davis, Chet Faker, it’s a weird mix.
How’s quarantine life treating you?
At first I was enjoying it, up until this week. This week, I’ve been starting to go a little crazy.
Aren’t we all though? I’m trying to stay really appreciative, that I have a roof over my head or I have food. That I have a place to quarantine. I’ve been feeling so restless and productive, which is hard for a person like me. I’m also trying to appreciate that because usually I’m go-go-go, I have no routine. For once, I have this routine (which is doing nothing). I’m doing yoga. I’m reading. I’m taking piano lessons again. I’m trying to make the best of it. This is the first day I’ve put on lipstick and a shirt. I’m in sweatpants. [laughs]
What are some goals for yourself as an artist at this point?
I want to be able to make more music, obviously. I want to be able to do shows, which is hard right now. I hope soon, I can get out there and do lots of shows. I’ve shot lots of visuals, I’ve done a lot of the things I’ve wanted to do, but I really want to do more shows. I’m dying to do that.
You’ve performed in Los Angeles right?
Yeah, I had a residency for a little bit. I’ve done my fair share of shows, but I still want to get out to more places. I haven’t seen a lot of areas that I know I want to play in.
What advice do you have for an aspiring Delacey?
It’s hard because everybody’s path is so different. Don’t compare yourself to other people’s paths because they’re all so different. Me and my friends who are successful, none of our paths are even remotely the same. Some of them went to college, I didn’t go to college. Some of them lived here and lived there, started at this age and some started later and are successful. You have to believe in yourself and keep going. If you have what it takes, you won’t give up and you’ll probably make it.
Anything else you want to let us know?
Look out for me doing more Live shows on my Instagram. They’re cute, I’m in my own music room at my house. I sit here and sing. They make me feel like I’m doing something with my life. [laughs]