Nick Cozine had never had a panic attack before. He knew what they were, of course, but until he moved to Los Angeles a little over a year ago, he’d never experienced one for himself and had no idea just how frightening, overwhelming and debilitating they can be. To some degree, however, it happening was a blessing in disguise, because it helped kickstart the 30-year-old producer/musician to start focusing more on his own songs, drawing from that awful experience to write “Night Terrors.”

Gentle but full of an understated urgency, the song’s infectious guitar loop combines with his beautiful, fragile vocals to capture how he felt when it happened. It’s an emotive retelling of what he went through that pulls you right into the depth of that darkness.
“It almost felt like a small bout of psychosis,” Cozine recalls. “It was so terrifying. I remember thinking I was going to die that night. I woke up and had a writing session that day, but I wasn’t even sure if I could do it. Luckily, it was with one of my closest co-writers, so I decided to just sense it out and see how it went. I put on this guitar loop and we talked about what I’d just experienced, because I’d never in my life gone through anything like that.”

Some two or three hours later, the song was complete, and with it, a new chapter in Cozine’s musical career began. It’s much more personal and vulnerable than anything he’d done before, but it also takes into account the depth of experience he’s gained from co-writing with and for other (mainly pop & hip-hop) artists over the past decade. Understandably, that personal, emotional resonance had a profound effect on him.
“I was in tears at the end of it,” he admits. “Finally being able to talk about instances in my life and put that into the world really excites me, because a lot of the time, I feel when I’m writing for other people that’s not really the case. Now I get to tell my story.”

Still, those pop & hip-hop sessions shouldn’t be discounted as an influence on MNYS’ unique sound. Doing so has instilled in him a knack for making incredibly catchy melodies, and widened the pool of influences he draws from when it comes to his own songs. At the same time, it was “Taste Of Ink” by The Used—still Cozine’s favorite band to this day—that first made him want to make music, and that remains an audible influence on him now. In fact, the guitar loop that carries “Night Terrors” is very much a nod to the emo/pop-punk scene that first inspired him to be a musician. Unsurprisingly, then, signing to Pure Noise was incredibly exciting for him.
“I look up to so many of the bands on the label,” he beams. “It’s so fucking cool! It’s literally a dream come true. When I write now, I’m really always chasing that feeling of discovering my favorite band at the age of 14 or 15. I want to have that version of me discover me, because the best thing about discovering music is never knowing when a song is going hit you.”

That, then, is Cozine’s aim for both “Night Terrors” and the string of singles planned to follow it—to pack a powerful emotional punch that lands right in the heart. As such, his songs very earnestly address moments in his life where he’s suffered emotionally or mentally. There’s no filter and no bravado—just him at his most vulnerable, committing his insecurities and emotional anxieties to tape with the help of production duo Paperwings, who he considers two of his closest friends. Yet at the same time as laying those fears on the line, there’s also an important underlying message—to chase happiness and pursue doing what you love. For Cozine, that is, and always has been, making music. Before, he was doing it as a side hustle while working countless jobs – from a coffee shop to the corporate world, but those environments were making him incredibly miserable. Now, by concentrating solely on music, he’s free to truly be himself.
“I grew up with not very much,” he admits, “but family was always there. So despite making more money than I’d ever seen, I started to become really unhappy. There was this pivotal moment when I was working at a hedge fund when I overheard a conversation in the office where they were bragging about which brand of tie they were wearing. I just thought ‘This is so fucking whack. It’s so stupid. I would rather hang out with my friends, make music and see my family.’ Even when I have what the outside world would perceive as wins in the music industry, it still doesn’t make me as happy as when, every Sunday at 1pm, my mom calls me on FaceTime and I get to talk to her for an hour-and-half. So I stopped caring about that other stuff and started chasing happiness.”

To that extent, MNYS doesn’t just mark the culmination of a decade in music behind the scenes for Cozine. It’s his way of chasing happiness, even if he’s doing so by staring at his most fragile self in the mirror. But reconciling those two things is very much the point—the catharsis of the project and the honest, heart-on-sleeve emotions are very much part of that quest for happiness that lies at the heart of it.
“All I’m doing is telling my truth with this project,” he says,“and part of that is acknowledging that I do have obstacles to overcome and I’m working on them every day. That’s why chasing happiness is so important to me. Right before “Night Terrors”, my worst fears had genuinely manifested themselves into my real life and that was the scariest moment ever. But now I’m able to tell the story of my life and get my message out there. The 14 year-old me would be ecstatic right now, but, honestly, so is the me right now, because this is the most important thing in my life.”

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