By KRISTINA NGUYEN, Four Points News
Local teenager Teghan Devon Himelfarb has released her extended play, “The Heart of Things,” on iTunes this summer. Himelfarb, of Steiner Ranch, has been writing music since she was ten years old, crediting her father, a former drummer, as the catalyst for her passion. This EP, however, is one of her first professional ventures.
The production process started with recordings that Himelfarb sent via voice memos, where were then refined at Century Recordings in Dripping Springs under the direction of producer Nick Jay and co-producer Zak Loy, who is also Himelfarb’s guitar teacher. Because of her busy schedule at Vandegrift High School, Himelfarb could spend only a week in the studio. On the EP, she contributed vocals in addition to background guitar. Accompanying musicians Clint Simmons, Mike Ross, Hayden Vitera, and Nick Jay helped develop the sound. Himelfarb cites the journey as a “learning experience.”
The EP contains the tracks “Side Effects,” “Hericane,” “Society,” and “Christopher.” Himelfarb wrote the first three tracks last fall, last winter, and in May, respectively. The EP was released on July 6.
She was inspired to write the leading track “Christopher” after viewing “The Imitation Game.” The film follows the life of a gay scientist in England during WWII who helped crack the enigma code using a machine called Christopher, which was the name of his childhood love.
“I just wanted to start with something that builds everything,” Himelfarb said. She describes the song as “not too hard, not too soft.”
The seventeen-year-old songstress touches on topics relevant to today’s youth, tapping into what it means to be a teenager. “Side Effects” was written about a friend who succumbed to the effects of peer pressure, and constantly resolved their problems through partying. “Society,” which Himelfarb credits as her favorite song to perform, reveals the artist’s thoughts on conformity and identity.
“(‘Society’) is about how we want to fit in, but we kinda hate what we’re trying to fit into. We make society up, but we don’t like it, and we complain about it and say we wanna change it, but really, it’s us that we’re trying to impress. It’s kind of a backwards cycle,” she said.
Himelfarb’s favorite track to listen to, “Hericane,” also follows the turbulence of young love.
“(‘Hericane’) is about a girl who is a reckless heartbreaker, but doesn’t wanna be. She just has a hard time with people and letting them in, and she’s falling for someone and doesn’t want to hurt them. At first, she’s like ‘Don’t come near me, I will hurt you’ and then, at the end, it’s kind of like ‘I’m warning you, stay away.’”
The name of the EP was influenced by “The Imitation Game,” but can also be interpreted as the overall theme of honesty. Himelfarb explains it best when she says the EP “tells the truth about things.” Although she was nervous to release “The Heart of Things” and share her personal lyrics, she likes showing a different side of herself through her music.
“My music… it’ll probably tell you more about me than I will tell you about me. For some reason, I’m better with words when I’m writing about that and using a melody and rhyming. It just gives you a look into my head. I think it’s honest, I think it’s raw and edgy, and I definitely don’t think anyone expected that from me, which was fun, hearing the reactions. I think it’s just nice giving people a look into what I’m thinking, which is also scary because I’m not a big fan of being vulnerable.”
Himelfarb wants to release a full album with songs that didn’t make it on the EP, such as “Hazel Grace,” which she recorded with her friend Jackson Moody. Himelfarb loves to experiment with different writing styles, especially with creating songs that are from other perspectives. Over the summer she learned more about form, something she hopes to experiment with in future songs, saying “rules are meant to be broken.”
Himelfarb had time to explore these future musical aspirations and learn about production this summer during a music industry program at The University of Colorado at Denver and a recording program at Syracuse. Himelfarb hopes to attend the Berklee College of Music with a major in songwriting and production following her graduation next year from the Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan. Wherever she ends up, Himelfarb knows making music will continue to shape the course of her life.
“You know when you’re young, and you’re lying on the grass, and you look up at the sky. and there are clouds, and you think you want to grab one? It’s like I’m looking at clouds, but instead they’re lyrics, and I can grab them and I can make them anything I want. It just feels like anything is possible. And I don’t have to show it anyone, it can just be for me. But when I do show it to people, they actually like it,” she said.
Himelfarb isn’t simply blowing her own horn — she has been featured at various venues such as Funk n’ Waffles. Himelfarb envisions herself with a website and cards to hand out at her gigs that allow for free downloads of her songs. For now, she communicates with fans through her Instagram @teghandevonmusic where she posts updates on her music, performance times, and previews of her upcoming songs. Her music is also up on her soundcloud at soundcloud.com/teghandevon, and “The Heart of Things” is available on the iTunes store.