With each new release, Brooklyn-based singer TOTEM has been fine tuning his sound in pursuit of pop perfection. With previous releases, “Up & Down” and “Shadows,” he fell just short. But with new single, “Hanging On,” he’s finally hit the mark.
While the song has “pop smash” written all over it, it’s more than just a few insatiable melodies and a seismic chorus—it’s got something of a message. Together with fellow singer-songwriters Christian Medice and Stalking Gia, TOTEM wrote the song following Donald Trump’s election win.
Like so many around the world, the group met the news with both anger and frustration. TOTEM, who comes from a family of immigrants, has concerns about the effect of Trump’s controversial policies on immigration. So, like any politically responsible artist, he’s channeled those emotions into his music. The result is “Hanging On.”
Speaking with Entertainment Weekly, TOTEM had this to say about the track:
“This was actually one of the first songs I wrote after the election.” He continues, “After being in North Carolina during the returns, I had to take a couple days before finally coming home and getting back to work. I’m a pop songwriter, so I wanted to take all of this disbelief and betrayal I felt and channel it somewhere without making an overt protest song. My co-writers Christian Medice and Stalking Gia were also feeling disillusioned, so we reflected that in this narrative of a relationship that has lost its feeling of safety.”