On his new EP, “Joyride,” Joey Contreras has a twofold aim ― to deliver “some good bops” paired with a heartfelt message of “value and self-worth when it comes to love” to his listeners.
The pop and musical theater singer-songwriter made good on that mission when he performed songs from the EP before a wildly enthusiastic crowd March 18 at the New York nightspot The Green Room 42. One of the night’s most memorable moments was Contreras’ tender performance of the country-tinged ballad “How to Be Alone,” captured for posterity by David Levitz in the above video, and available exclusively on HuffPost.
“Joyride,” which hit retailers and streaming platforms March 22, marks new terrain for the California-born Contreras in one major way. His two previous releases, 2010’s “Love Me, Love Me Not: The Music of Joey Contreras” and 2014’s “Young Kind of Love,” saw his work sung by Broadway artists Jeremy Jordan, Natalie Weiss and Ben Fankhauser, among others.
This time around, however, he chose to perform each of the six tracks solo.
“It was a vulnerable decision, but one I’m glad I made,” Contreras, who cites Kacey Musgraves and Harry Styles as musical influences, told HuffPost. Calling “Joyride” his “most cohesive” work to date, he said, “It took awhile for me to build the confidence to tackle this specific solo project, but once I started to land on a collection of songs that felt right, I knew it was time to invest my time, heart and money into this body of work.”
The March 18 concert was a celebratory event for Contreras in more ways than one, too. The show featured a surprise appearance by his longtime beau, Brian Russell Carey, an actor and a musician. Immediately following the encore, Carey got to one knee and proposed.
Calling the moment “wild, perfect and so special,” Contreras said, “My relationship with him is such a safe and inspiring space both romantically and creatively and I’m so lucky to have him as a partner through life.”
Following the release of “Joyride” last month, he plans to continue work on a new musical. Though eager to see his music performed on Broadway one day, he’s got his eye on the pop charts, too, and would love Britney Spears or Kelly Clarkson to record one of his songs.
“I’m a storyteller and I like songs with good bones,” he said. “Ultimately I strive to make music that communicates and connects whether that be on the dance floor, in your AirPods around the city or in a theater.”