Unyielding optimism. That’s what you could call this next musical chapter for independent pop singer-songwriter, Courtney Govan. For Govan, music has always been the driving force behind creativity, passion, positivity and life. From gaining over 350k followers on TikTok for posting videos of herself singing to playing the Auditor on Fox’s Hit New Musical Game show, I Can See Your Voice, it’s no secret that being an artist is destiny for Courtney Govan. Having just released her debut music a little over a year ago, Govan is bringing something essential and unique to her to the world of pop music – honesty, truth, and a spark of light.
With an energy so radiant, you can’t help but applaud after hearing her sing, Govan’s talent for establishing connection through her songwriting does not go unheard. Her debut EP, Feelings, released in 2020, revealed song stories that were open, honest, and sometimes heartbreaking. Its creation allowed Govan to tap into her most vulnerable and to pull from her heartache and turn it into art. However, after a year of promoting the more dark-sided songs she first put out, the artist decided it was time for a new outlook on life.
Govan is an artist with a mission “to help everyone who comes across her music feel, seen, safe, beautiful, sexy, powerful but most importantly, unstoppable in the skin they are in.” Her latest bubbling hit single, “Serotonin” does exactly that. In a bright and confident take on the human need for the brain’s “happy chemical,” Govan embraces the future instead of looking back on the past.
“I wrote [Serotonin] as a response to my EP, Feelings.” she shares in a statement. “I wanted to create something that not only made you get up and dance but also something that truly captured how important it is to go out and find your happiness. Whenever I get in my own way I am going to blast this song and sing it at the top of my lungs and I want my fans to do it right along with me! “
Going viral on TikTok and amassing over 20k streams on Spotify in five days, the song which was written by Govan and produced by Pascal Pahl has now become a fan favorite, and growing. With a sound fused from a mix between Kygo and Whitney Houston, Govan’s powerhouse vocals make the track all her own. From embracing self-confidence to advocating for mental health, not only has “Serotonin” become an inspiring go-to track for fans in search of light on a dark day, but the singer, herself, is also quickly becoming the star role-model the pop-music world has been needing for a long time.
On the day of “Serotonin’s” Music Video Premiere, Courtney Govan opened up to The See Through to talk about the inspiration behind her positivity, her songwriting, and how social media has helped her find her way in pursuing music.
Congratulations on all your success so far! “Serotonin” is such a fan favorite. Can you tell us what prompted you to write that song?
Thank you so much! It has honestly been such an amazing experience being that this is the first time my music has blown up like this! Before I wrote “Serotonin,” I had just released my EP Feelings, which was truly an emotional experience for me. It was my first time releasing a body of work and it represented a lot of my own trauma and life experiences so I definitely felt extremely vulnerable when I released it. After about a week I realize that when I listened to my own music it really did feel like I had to let go of a lot of those feelings and where I was in my life now was just finding my joy and finding the things that made me happy. So I think looking at where I am in my life and how far I have come in my own mental journey, I felt like I was ready to move on so I wrote Serotonin to actualize those feelings.
So many people over the past year have battled with feeling low, and truthfully, the lack of serotonin is depression. Yet your song is upbeat, uplifting, and makes people want to dance. You chose to make this song about positivity — Why was it important for you to keep an optimistic outlook?
To put it quite frankly, I think we all spend enough time beating ourselves up in our own heads, that every once in a while we have to just acknowledge that and say, “I don’t care I am choosing to be happy today.” I know in the giant world that is mental health, doing that is way easier said than done. The thing is, choosing to be happy is going to look different for everyone. For some, it might simply be waking up before noon and that is just as valid as anything else. I wanted to create a song that was upbeat and make people dance because those things still exist whether or not you’re struggling with mental health. My song isn’t meant to erase the thing you’re struggling with, but to simply embrace the idea that your struggles are a part of you and that doesn’t mean you still can’t enjoy your life.
What was it like to make the “Serotonin” music video? Did you feel like your visuals for the song were coming to life?
Making the serotonin music video was an absolute dream. As an independent artist it’s really important to highlight the fact that I had such a small team of my friends work so hard to create such a beautiful video on such a tiny budget! I’m lucky to be surrounded by people who do work at the professional level of the industry and respect my artistry and my vision for my music. I really feel like the cinematography by Luke Sargent really brings this song to life in such a poetic way. Coming up with the concept for the video with my director and dear friend Jack Walterman, actually happened quite naturally. I grew up in San Diego, California and to me there’s something so special about spending all day with your friends, doing all of the things that you love, and not having a care in the world. Along with featuring my best friend since preschool, Jenna Hyatt, every location that we shot at holds a very special memory for me in my life. I love so much that I get to share a really special part of my past with my listeners.
Did the presence of music in your life growing up inspire you when you were younger?
Music has always inspired me! My family isn’t necessarily musical in the sense that they are performers but they do have awesome taste! I listened to a lot of the B-52s growing up with my Dad. I’ve always been surrounded by music and my family has always nurtured that love so I’m extremely grateful that they never tried to steer me away towards a more “practical” dream.
When did you know that you wanted to make music your career?
You know what’s funny is I don’t think I ever decided that music was going to be my career. It was just something that was a part of who I was as a kid growing up and decided to never leave me. For as long as I can remember I have always been “the girl who can sing.” Music has been it for me since day one and I haven’t let anything stop me yet!
I love your Serotonin Summer Playlist! Who are a few artists that influence your music and singing style?
Thank you so much! My Serotonin Summer pPlaylist is pretty much all incredibly talented independent artists that I have discovered from TikTok! What’s even better is that they’re all also incredible people!
When it comes to my music and my singing style I try to be as authentically myself as possible. One songwriter and performer in particular that has really inspired me throughout the last couple years has been Lennon Stella. She has a really powerful way of telling really strong stories through her lyrics. When I first started writing, I used to get so lost in the idea that I had to write in a certain way in order to be radio ready and relatable. I didn’t want to be too sappy or poetic to the point where it would be cheesy. I guess I felt that my way of writing was not going to reach anyone but watching Lennon create such lyrical depth and bring that into the pop world felt like permission to trust my writing and to do the same. She is a dream collab for sure!
Your EP Feelings is honest in a way that I think is absent in most pop songs today. Why is it important for you to tap into honest conversations such as feelings of anxiety on “Panic” or even just having a lack of serotonin. Why do you choose to make songs that reflect these deep feelings?
I think that there is such a stigma around pop music that it can’t have deep meaning. It’s important to me to tell the truth in my music and I do that by allowing myself to truly dig deep and find the core of what the song is about. It’s important to have these conversations in all forms of music and that shouldn’t exclude pop. I try to write the music that I needed when I was going through it. I choose to make these songs because I know that somewhere out there someone needs to hear it and I wanna be there for them.
So many people have found your music because of your growing audience and deserved success on TikTok, but do you find social media has a creative haven for you or is it often a fuel of pressure?
SO EXCITING. I have always looked at social media as an endless pool of opportunity. Of course, it can get stressful at times especially when you’re wanting to stay on top of things while also putting out content that you’re proud of, and in my case while also having a full-time job that’s not content creation or music! I am very close to finally being at the point where I can be a creator full-time so that is very exciting. There is always going to be pressure with social media because it is a job, but it has also brought me so much joy that far outweighs any negativity. I’ve been posting on social media since I was twelve, and this is the first time in my entire career where I really feel so much love from my followers and supporters! I would honestly do anything for them and I’m so grateful for them because they are the reason that I am so close to doing the thing that I love for the rest of my life.
I know you’ve revealed before that you’re a Capricorn! Do you believe in astrology, stars, good karma, and connection, and do you think it influences any of your creativity?
Oh absolutely! I am a firm believer in astrology, and I truly believe that the universe has things mapped out for us! I think it influences all aspects of my life including my creativity. There are so many signs all around us and every once in a while I try to capture one in a song.
What do you hope your fans take away from listening to your songs?
The number one thing I want my lovely Govan Coven to know when they listen to my songs is that they are valid, their feelings matter and most importantly they are never alone!
As an independent artist, Govan is spearheading her artistry and making music all on her own, which is why listener support is one of the most important things for building her creative career! Stream “Serotonin” available on all music platforms today, and check out the song’s brand new music video for a feel-good reminder of all the good vibes that are still yet to come.
Photography by Courtney Govan