Link to Jason Scott's article in American Songwriter Magazine here!
Halston Dare has always leaned heavily upon negative emotions, from depression to heartache, in her songwriting. With her brand new track, a sparkling dance-pop anthem called “Pinnacle,” often feeling peak Gaga or Katy Perry, she flips her approach right on its head. Instead, the pop songwriter seeks out more invigorating and bright emotional layers for a dizzying new entry in her songbook.
“Oh, baby, I can take you to the pinnacle / So crazy, open up your supernatural / Tonight, just you and I / Making stars align,” she sings over glitchy, cosmic production. Dare exudes command over her style and lyrics, fusing her confidence into the song’s backbone to give the listener a bit of a super-charge, as well.
Finding it “really hard to stay creative, positive, and hopeful” in an ongoing global pandemic, Dare knew she needed to recenter herself and dive back into her songwriting. So, she teamed up with prolific pop writer Shane Stevens, known for his work with Ariana Grande, Selena Gomez, and Little Mix, and producer Jordan Sapp (Jason Derulo) to craft one of the year’s boldest should-be-smashes.
“I was so nervous,” Dare says of the songwriting meet, “because I had no idea what was going to happen that day ─ but I knew that an incredible song was going to come out of it.”
In an early brainstorming session with Stevens, the two resolved to “dig deep into the emotional, beautiful, positive, and physical sides of my relationships” for the thematic core. “Pinnacle” explodes as a glitter bomb, emanating every ounce of adrenaline that comes “when you’re on cloud nine in a relationship,” Dare explains. “That spark just synergized to become something bigger. My fans have never seen this side of me before. [This song] outweighs all the songs that I’ve put out. It’s emotionally deeper and bigger than anything I’ve ever created. It will have you on the edge of your chair. I can’t wait for everyone to hear this new, edgy, intense and explosive side of me.”
“We can take it to another heaven / And we don’t gotta die to feel alive,” Dare coos in the run-up to the second chorus. Her lyrics are ferocious and daring, paired against a stunning synth backdrop you’d find deep within 1980s club culture ─ or in a Jane Fonda workout video. It’s freeing without being high strung; in fact, Dare’s latest entry fits snuggly next to any current popstar.
Originally from Houston, Dare grew up listening to such artists as Donna Summer and Whitney Houston, influences that certainly run amok in her catalog, and began songwriting herself at 13. She has since written with many other go-to pop writers, including Tushar Apte (Demi Lovato), Whitney Phillips (Justin Bieber) and Michelle Buzz (Katy Perry), and opened for Danity Kane.
Listen to “Pinnacle” above.