Aidan Bissett '21 was bored.
A sophomore in high school who had recently moved back to Tampa after seven years living in Lake Oswego, Ore., Bissett had played football basically his whole life. However, his passion for the game had waned, and he stopped playing.
A guitarist since the second grade, Bissett started a band, called Offshore, with classmates Adam Dieck '21, George Guerra '21, and Brett Fedorovich '21. Bissett played guitar and sang vocals, Dieck played lead guitar, Guerra was on bass, and Fedorovich was the drummer.
But his bandmates' hunger for athletic competition outweighed their passion to play music. So Bissett was on his own, trying to find a productive way to consume free time previously filled by sports. He decided to dive further into the musical realm.
He downloaded Logic Pro, a digital audio workstation, on his Mac and began fooling around with it. He had no experience singing, drumming, or producing, but he decided to commit himself to learning the software to create originals.
Little did he know that newfound commitment would lead to a major record deal less than two years later. This spring, Bissett signed with legendary Capitol Records, joining an epic list of luminaries who have produced music under the iconic label such as Nat King Cole, Judy Garland, Frank Sinatra, Garth Brooks, the Beach Boys, Beck, the Beastie Boys, Katy Perry, and Halsey.
As well as a popular band from the '60s called the Beatles.
On April 15, Bissett released his latest single, "Communication," his first in conjunction with Capitol Records, with a video slated for release the following day, April 16. (Click here to access "Communication" on your choice of streaming services, and click here to access Bissett's artist page on the Capitol Records website.) The up-and-coming Indie Pop artist signed with Capitol after his first three self-released singles – "Different," "Worst Girls of All Time," and "More Than Friends" – had been well received on Spotify, Apple Music, and TikTok.
After his short-lived band broke up in 2019, Bissett began taking singing lessons and studying popular music. With the talent and ear to teach himself music theory, Bissett spent countless hours in his room studying, creating, and fine-tuning.
"I would break down instruments, and I would go in and kind of lay out what instruments they are using, how they're layering them, and why they're laying them a certain way," he said. "That gave me an idea of how to arrange choruses, verses, and bridges."
Bissett started more than 120 different songs before forming just one into a single he actually released, and he had a big breakthrough in January 2020. He took an online, 30-day course in Pop music production on a website called Monthly.com. It was taught by a Dutch music producer named Blanks, whose YouTube channel has more than a million subscribers.
The first assignment for the class was to write a song intro. Bissett sat down to complete it, laid down a few chords, a synth, and another synth mixed with a guitar melody. The eight-bar progression he made wasn't complicated. But it was promising.
"I remember it was like 3:00am, and I was ecstatic," Bissett said. "I was literally running around my room listening to it over and over again."
Blanks commented on Bissett's assignment and said he couldn't wait to listen to the finished product. Six months later, Bissett released his first single, "Different." In the time between writing the intro and releasing "Different," he worked meticulously on his music and on cultivating a social media presence.
When COVID-19 forced nationwide community shutdowns in March 2020, Bissett used it as an opportunity to get familiar with TikTok, one of the fastest-growing social media platforms. He began posting musical riffs, short comedy sketches, and viral challenges, and he quickly garnered a following of 10,000 users in only three weeks. After reaching around 50,000 followers, he announced the release of "Different" on TikTok on July 10, 2020.
In just two months, "Different" had over 100,000 streams on Spotify. He followed that release with two more, "Worst Girls of All Time" and "More Than Friends," the latter of which has eclipsed a million streams on Spotify.
The consistent performance of the few songs Bissett released got the attention of Capitol Records, which has connected him with producers and artists such as Toronto-based Verzache, a 23-year-old with more than 3.8 million monthly listeners on Spotify alone.
"It's been a crazy ride, and I'm just excited for what's to come," Bissett said. "This is my dream, so it feels like I'm living in a dream."