Travie McCoy of Gym Class Heroes
Travie McCoy of Gym Class Heroes
Travie McCoy has always been the unique one, the one ahead of his time, the one that didn’t fit into an existing box, and the one that always chose to forge his own. Growing up as a bi-racial kid in Geneva, NY, he grew up loving hardcore and punk rock, along with hip hop and R&B, and instead of choosing one lane, he created a genre-bending sound that changed what modern alternative and pop looked like. He formed Gym Class Heroes, a group that found a community in the alternative/punk space, but shot into the mainstream with hits like the 3x Platinum “Cupid’s Chokehold” and “Stereo Hearts.” But as a solo artist, he hit new heights, and jump-started the careers of a number of up and coming artists, with songs like the 4x Platinum, “Billionaire ft. Bruno Mars.”
Through all of this, Travie started battling with addiction and depression, leading into a real moment of rock bottom that almost ended his career and life. After getting into recovery and working through his constant demons, he started feeling creative again, and decided that he was going to be true to himself and his craft. He wanted to write music that he 100% believed in - that he could pour out his heart and soul into - and that could be the cathartic vehicle of self-expression that he was missing.
The result is Never Slept Better - the most honest, unpretentious, and devastatingly powerful album of his career. With an album title that references Richard Connell’s “The Most Dangerous Game,” Never Slept Better encapsulates the past 10 years of Travie’s life with brutal honesty. It is a journey telling the trials and tribulations of addiction, mental health crises, and navigating the shady characters and frustrations one finds in the music industry, to get to a place where he could finally be at peace.
It wasn’t easy, but creating the album was extremely therapeutic. On “I’ll Never Be Loved feat. Hamzaa”, Travie recalled recording the song in a studio straight after he got out of rehab. “I literally cried through the entire tracking,” he shares, “I wrote nothing down and let raw emotions spill out, all the feelings that I wasn’t able to get out in rehab.” On another track, “A Spoonful of Cinnamon,” Travie extols, “This song honors people in my life that I had lost.” He writes about his battles with bi-polar disorder and drug addiction, and his heartbreak and devastation with the loss of loved ones, including his grandfather. “There was a moment where I was getting weekly phone calls to tell me people I knew had passed away. I’m bi-polar and being isolated was a strong reason to relapse, but I didn’t, and I made it through.”
Never Slept Better could have been a dark, depressing tome, but with Travie McCoy, where there is darkness there is also joy and hopefulness. Tracks like “Stop It” and “Loved Me Back To Life” have the trademark Travie playfulness and soulful wit that fans have come to expect. But it is the catchy pop song, Full Monarch” that marries the two sides of the album, with a tongue-in-cheek song about escapism and a relationship gone bad, that stems from a poetic moment at a show in Chicago where an injured monarch butterfly emerged to uplift the spirits of a wounded soul.
After years of navigating treacherous waters, Travie McCoy has put together the most honest, vulnerable, raw and emotional music of his career. And he’s never slept better.