In this moment of increased anxiety and uncertainty, what we need now, more than ever, is not to fear our inner demons. What we need is to confront them and perhaps, befriend them. What we need is We Three‘s brand-new album, Dear PARANOIA, Sincerely Me. Sixteen tracks of pure pop joy, We Three – siblings Bethany, Manny, and Joshua Humlie – mix introspection with jubilation, pairing paranoia with euphoria on an emotional album that will undoubtedly raise your spirits. Dear PARANOIA weaves an engaging tapestry of different colors of genres, an album that touches the lowest of lows while lifting you to the highest of highs.
Dear PARANOIA sees the band evolve its sound from its self-titled 2018 debut (the same year they were introduced to the world on America’s Got Talent.) “This record was way more hands-on,” Manny tells HollywoodLife. “We’re taking the time to get in there and create the sound as it actually was and where it needed to be.” Though the sound has evolved, the band remains dedicated to delivering earnest and personal lyrics in its music. Whether it’s about being strong enough to admit vulnerability (“Nightlight”), the complicated feelings that come with a less-than-stable romance (“Chase Me”) or desire to make a sincere connection (“i wanna love somebody”), Dear PARANOIA reaffirms We Three’s talent at writing songs that make you think while making you dance.
While sharing their new album with HollywoodLife, the band talks about what went into its making, the concept behind the “i wanna love somebody” music video, and where you’ll find them the second that the COVID-19 pandemic is over.
HollywoodLife: Your new album Dear PARANOIA, Sincerely Me opens up with the track “Dear PARANOIA” and ends with “Sincerely, ME.” A lot of self-inspection and battles with doubt happens in between. What inspired these bookend tracks (and, subsequently, what inspired you to pick that album title?)
Manny: I think paranoia was always the lead word for describing this record. When the record was coming to a close, I was like, “How do I describe this thing?” It was paranoia. Then someone said, “Dear Paranoia,” which made the letter format and added the “sincerely, me”. That created the idea of the tracks being the body of a letter. Instantly I knew that those lyrics were a hook to a song, and the fact that they were the album name too was awesome.
Bethany: So, the actual song “Dear Paranoia” came after the album was titled.
The video for your lead single, ‘i wanna love somebody,’ is full of contrasts: an upbeat song with serious/dark lyrics, a funeral that turns into a joyous celebration. What was the motivation to pair these apparent opposites together? And did you have this video in mind (the funeral setting, etc.) as you put it together?
Bethany: I think we had the casket initially or the funeral.
Joshua: We had the song, and then the idea came.
Manny: It was more comical than anything else. It was interesting that everyone took it as a huge celebration at the end. We didn’t intend it that way, but we can totally see how it seems like that. I think it’s a really cool concept because I don’t think a funeral should ever be anything besides a celebration.
Bethany: And the cool part was bringing in a director, and they had the concept of having everybody dance.
Manny: It was a really good call because we were walking a very fine line with that video because it could be very dark and I think him having people choose to dance at the end and make it a celebration gave people hope at the end. So great job, Derich!
Dear PARANOIA, Sincerely Me comes two years after your self-titled debut album. What did you do differently with this than with We Three? Like, was there a lesson you learned when it came to songwriting/recording when putting together the first debut that you remembered for this?
Manny: Sometimes, you have an idea that you know will work, but when you’re working with a bunch of other people, you’re not hands-on and pressing the buttons yourself. You can’t get what you wanted down and actually recorded, and I think that happened a lot on the first record where things got settled. There were a whole lot of things that got created on this album that wouldn’t have been there. This record was way more hands-on. We’re taking the time to get in there and create the sound as it actually was and where it needed to be.
Bethany: I think it was not just in the studio being created. A big portion was being created in Manny’s bedroom, which I thought was really cool. It was a lot more hands-on.
Joshua: Better songwriting and arranging overall, too.
Bethany: We felt like there wasn’t limits this time. When we heard what it was, we didn’t settle, and we went after it.
Manny: The other thing is that there was a sea of songs to pick from. The last album we were kind of scrambling to get all 12 songs, and these were more handpicked.
When last you spoke with HollywoodLife, you said the vibe of your debut was to provide “high energy music” that is “honest, because if it’s not honest, it’s not worth putting out there.” From the sounds of it, Dear PARANOIA, Sincerely Me follows suit, but was there a particular mood or “goal”?
Bethany: I don’t think we ever go in with a specific goal I think, personally, we really like organic creativity, and we know the concepts will come together because they always have in the past. So, if we try to be too hands-on and start with a goal, I don’t think it ever works for us.
Joshua: I just think it was a natural evolution of the first and the second project just coming out of the honesty of the first two. It was just the evolution of what came next.
Manny: Yeah, I don’t think there was a goal. There definitely was a feeling that was trying to be captured in this record, though, and there wasn’t a feeling trying to be captured in the last one.
You famously appeared on America’s Got Talent, where you wowed judges (including guest Martina McBride.) Reality television shows can sometimes be like potato chips – in that you can never really eat/do just one. If you were to compete or appear on another show – from The Great British Bake Off to RuPaul’s Celebrity Drag Race – which would it be?
Bethany: I would pick a show that taught me how to cook. I’m not good at it but if I could learn how to do it and get to eat all the food.
Manny: The Great British Baking Show, yeah? That’s the one. Collectively?
Joshua: Yeah, I think that’s the consensus.
What has been your rock during this time of quarantine? A lot of people have turned to exercise as a way to ward off their anxiety, others (myself included) have done a deep dive into music as a way to stay afloat.
Manny: I mean just writing songs.
Bethany: Mine has been exercise, I have never worked out as much as I have now.
Joshua: I think it has been an even split between exercise and writing.
Finally, what is the first thing you’re going to do once things start to resume? Is there a restaurant you miss? Getting a cappuccino from a local coffee house? Flying a kite?
Joshua: There are so many local restaurants that I can’t wait to get back to once all of this is done.
Bethany: I want to go on tour as soon as humanly possible.
Manny: I just want to go back to Europe and get a cappuccino.
Bethany: London will probably be our first travel stop in Europe.
Joshua: Joe’s Juice bar
All: Joe’s juice bar!
Dear PARANOIA, Sincerely Me is officially on all digital streaming platforms on May 1.