The compelling story of Sub Urban, the boy who dropped out of school and then went viral

The compelling story of Sub Urban, the boy who dropped out of school and then went viral

Words by Fergus Neal

New Jersey-based alternative singer, songwriter, producer and creative, Sub Urban, has released his highly-anticipated debut EP, Thrill Seeker.

Danny Maisonneuve, aka Sub Urban, released his debut single ‘Cradles’ in 2017, and the song went viral. The accumulation of nearly half-a-billion streams on Spotify was the fruition of some difficult decisions made by the then 17-year-old.

“Eventually you kind of disassociate the fact that these are all actual people,” says Maisonneuve.

“It’s impossible to comprehend that broad of a number. You accept it and move on. I was happy with the success of ‘Cradles’ but I want to follow that success up. That’s the biggest pressure bomb. I want to be able to create more songs that have viral moments. Regardless of where they find it, I want the music to speak for itself.

“It’s tough being a new emerging artist. That was when the solo project began, with ‘Cradles’. That was Sub Urban. And immediately people were asking for new music and I’m like, ‘I’m trying to keep up’. It was difficult.

Maisonneuve dropped out of high school at the age of 16 to pursue music, a decision that retrospectively paid off, but momentarily served as a stressful period for both Maisonneuve and his parents.

“I dropped out of school for this when I was 16. It was very tough for both of my parents when I first started making music. All my friends when they looked at me dropping out immediately associated that with, ‘Wow he is going to make no money in music whatsoever’.

“But I knew things were going to get crazy when the internet started to produce more musical hits. I knew there was something to it. My parents didn’t see that at first. I saw it and I was confident in myself immediately after dropping out of school.”

The success of ‘Cradles’ and Sub Urban’s recently-released EP, Thrill Seeker, has validated his leap of faith, transforming his parents from naysayers into fans.

“Now my parents trust my judgment and they’re incredibly proud of me. It’s really something to redeem all the weird trajectories of the past few years. It’s been a painful journey, but it’s been very satisfying and now I’m in a whole new role.

“They’ve been constantly watching the numbers from afar. My dad constantly reports on radio and whether there’s a jump in numbers on Spotify. He’s so invested. And my mum is constantly looking at articles and social media. It’s a beautiful thing to see. From where we all were five years ago to now.”

We chatted to Sub Urban in episode 11 of our Ferg Goes Live podcast. Give it a listen below:

Check out the other ten episodes of Ferg Goes Live via Spotify and Apple. You’ll find chats with Aunty Donna, Netflix co-founder Marc Randolph, DMA’s and more.

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