Every year a shiny new song of summer comes around, usually dropping out of nowhere before becoming the season’s unofficial anthem. For your 2021 consideration, we present: Lily Kincade’s “Real,” premiering exclusively today on PopCrush.
“Real” is an effortless summer anthem, something Kincade says should “make you feel free and has a great driving beat to it—you can play it at 2:00 AM with the windows down, when it’s dark outside, or when it’s sunny and you’re going to the beach. It should make you feel good inside and want to get up and dance.”
The lush, saccharine electro-pop track, which Kincade’s been teasing on TikTok for weeks (“I love that I can be totally myself on TikTok”), is summery pop at its most cinematic and feels as if it were plucked off the soundtrack for a neon-hued ’80s teen rom-com.
Taking cues from the emotional storytelling of Carly Rae Jepsen’s cult 2015 album, Taylor Swift’s synth-drenched 1989 (Kincade calls herself a “huge Swiftie”) and Selena Gomez’s more sugary, pop-leaning hits, “Real” is a big, bittersweet ode to a real love that simply wasn’t meant to last.
Written alongside songwriters Kaci Brown and Sam Gray in roughly two hours during a “magical” first writing session with the pair, the song was born during a time when Kincade “had a lot of changes going on” in her life.
“I had just moved to Nashville from Los Angeles in February of 2020 and was going back and forth between the two. After the first trip back to Los Angeles I noticed that it felt different than when I was living there full time. I quickly realized who my, no pun intended, ‘Real’ friends were,” the singer admits. “While the song is about losing someone you love, it’s also about learning that you can love someone and let them go. You have to remember all of the moments, both good and bad, that that you have with someone. They’re what shape you as a person.”
Kincade hopes people will feel free when listening to her new single: “No matter what they’re going through, their feelings are valid and there is nothing they need to hide. There’s always someone else who has had the same feelings and you are never alone. I want them to be able to both cry to it in their room and to jam to it with their friends in the car—with all the windows down.”
Listen to Lily Kincade’s “Real,” below: