What happens when you combine the emerging talents of pop and theater songwriter Joey Contreras, actor-singer Antonio Cipriano, and dancers Tyler McKenzie and Jeff Sykes? Apparently, a soaring pop anthem and an angsty pas de deux.
On Monday, Contreras gifted fans with a new single, “Wild,” which Cipriano performs as a solo. The video accompanying the track is a stunner, starring McKenzie and Sykes as two lovers caught in an emotional and physical tug-of-war conveyed through interpretative dance.
Contreras, whose albums “Love Me, Love Me Not” and “Young Kind of Love” have earned him a following in New York cabaret and theater circles, sees “Wild” as an observation on the shifting landscape of love ― specifically, nonmonogamous relationships.
“Open relationships have been a very big conversation between me and my friends over the last couple of years,” Contreras, a California native, told HuffPost. As for “Wild” specifically, he said the song is “a story about someone who is understanding of the thrills, but also the insecurities, of making the decision with a partner to open up a relationship. There’s no judgment. It’s more so an acknowledgement, a conversation and a meditation.”
The song’s release comes at a prolific time for Contreras, whose music has been recorded by Jeremy Jordan and Lilli Cooper, among other Broadway luminaries. He’s also co-written a new musical, “Forget Me Not,” that will have two readings in New York this fall. On a more personal note, he and longtime beau Brian Russell Carey, an actor and musician who directed “Wild,” plan to marry in Utah later this year.
Many of Contreras’s “Wild” collaborators are rising stars in their own right. Cipriano is slated to make his Broadway debut in the rock musical “Jagged Little Pill” later this fall, while McKenzie is appearing on the national tour of “Hamilton.” Choreographer Cayel Tregeagle, meanwhile, appears on the national tour of “Hello, Dolly!”
Whether in the pop or theatrical spheres, Contreras has said his aim is universal: to deliver “good bops” and a heartfelt message of “value and self-worth when it comes to love” to his listeners, regardless of how they identify. To that end, “Wild” is no different.
“I just want people to be seen,” he said.