We recently got to talk to Roland Spreckley, a top-tier songwriter who has written for major artists both here and abroad, including artists like BTS, Steve Aoki, Kiiara, Ava Max, as well as many other artists signed to SONY, Big Hit, Warner Records, Atlantic Records, and Columbia.
One of his biggest hits so far has been the BTS x Steve Aoki smash, “The Truth Untold,” which currently has over 170,000,000 streams on Spotify.
In our interview with Spreckley, he covered what it’s been like to work closely with such big-name artists, his songwriting motivations, and what it was like diving into the music industry after relocating to LA.
You can find the full interview below.
You’ve worked with some of the biggest artists in the world. Does that ever become intimidating or is it simply part of the job?
I would say at first it was a little intimidating but now I’d say it’s simply part of the job. I think once you realize that they are human and are going through the same experiences as everyone else, you can relate to them on a human and emotional level. That’s where the great songs come from.
We’d like to hear about your initial decision to focus on songwriting specifically.
I have wanted to be a songwriter since about the age of fourteen where I would make simple songs, just me and the piano. It’s funny, a lot of songwriters want to be artists too, but I’ve never had the inclination to do anything else but write. I love creating, that’s the fun part for me, and the idea of me getting on a stage and performing sounds horrific, especially as I suffer from crazy stage fright. So I’m glad there are artists out there who love to do that so I can write songs for them. I get so much joy from writing something that people react to and there’s really no other feeling greater than that.
How quickly after moving to LA did you feel comfortable in the city and the music industry as a whole?
Ooo, that’s a good question. I feel it probably took me a couple of years and I still wouldn’t say I’m completely comfortable here! Once I signed my publishing deal and could start paying for myself I thought that would make me feel comfortable, but instead, it made me more hungry for success. Then once I had my first Major Label cut with Kiiara, all I thought about was the next song that was coming out. And then so on and so on. However, now I definitely trust myself a little better and trust my intuition when it comes to writing and working in the music industry. Being in LA a few years has taught me to get used to failure, that not all songs you write are gonna be hits and that’s ok. It’s those few songs that you write that will stand out in the end and you only get there with patience and determination.
Tell us more about the process of writing The Truth Untold. Did it go through a lot of changes?
The Truth Untold was first written as a piano ballad in English that I wrote with Jake Torrey and Annika Wells and was produced by Noah Conrad. The song was originally called ‘I Still Want You’. Then my A&R at APG sent it over to Steve Aoki who loved it and then added some of his production on it in the vein of getting it for BTS’s new album “Love Yourself: Tear”. After that, we then had to send the song off to get translated by Korean translators who helped the song become what it is today. Collaboration was the key to Its success.
After so many millions of listens, is there a particular track that you’re especially happy you’ve gotten to share with the world?
I love all my releases and am grateful for all of them, but if I had to pick one I’d probably say “lonely” by Noah Cyrus. This song Is piano, vocals, and a choir, and I love the more mature themes it talks about: loneliness, depression, and mental health. To see fans of Noah’s really react to the song and saying how much it helped them and their struggles was really empowering for me and reminded me why I write songs in the first place.
Have you been able to continue your work over the past year? Have recent events affected your workflow in any way?
I have been able to continue my work but it’s definitely not the same. Now all sessions are done over ZOOM, where normally I, the artist (or another writer), and the producer have to come up with the song over video. I’ve gotten used to it now but at first, it definitely was a little weird. I miss being able to bounce ideas off each other in the room and feeding off people’s energy which is hard to do on ZOOM. However, I’m grateful that I still get to write with talented writers and producers and just hope we can all get back into a room together soon!
Do you have any upcoming projects that you’d like to mention?
Yes! Hopefully with AJ Mitchell, David Guetta, and this artist Sorana. Sorana is this new artist signed to Atlantic Records that I’m really excited about, so look out for her name in 2021!