Eric Contractor is a musician who seems to embody a world of beautiful darkness. Whether singing with his deep, dark-timbred vocals, exploring emotional depths in performance, or reaching incognito for connection in the alienated modern world, Eric seems to carry this theme of darkness, this chiaroscuro in his art.
Whether singing acoustic, or with fuller instrumentation, the focal point of Eric’s music is certainly his voice. Classically trained, Eric’s voice is a distinctive baritone that evokes a Baroque intricacy and an archaic chant mysticism, and is woven into a modern, art-rock context. Once you consider his poetic lyrics, modern atmospheric productions, soulful phrasings, and a striking harmonic sensibility, you have a sense of the bitches brew Eric calls “Bel-Canto Art-Rock.”
For Eric, music was an enchanting force in his life since childhood, from which he has vivid memories of The Mamas and The Papas, Ella Fitzgerald, Motown, and J.S. Bach’s Toccata and Fugue playing around his house. As it is for countless other young musicians, music provided an escape, and a fantasy world away from an awkward adolescence. Eric recalls “When I first found my voice, I would sing for hours when I was home alone. Once I finally got the courage to perform, not only did I find a creative outlet, but it helped socially as well. It was through music that I made some good friends.” Indeed, from the beginning, music has been Eric’s way to connect in difficult times.
Continuing his journey, Eric went to New York to study music, and began his journey as a songwriter. The grand scale of the city, with its kaleidoscope of culture, diverse neighborhoods, and inhabitants, gave Eric the raw life experience to fuel his songwriting. In New York, Eric consistently studied his craft, playing countless stages, and worshiping at the pantheon of greats such as The Talking Heads, The National, Lana Del Rey, Brian Eno, and Aphex Twin. In a live setting, Eric loves practicing the fine alchemy of song, with its ability to emotionally transform a room and its listeners.
Eric has recently spent time collaborating and incubating new material. Aside from his music, Eric has been developing his visual world, with surrealistic video art, and relishing the analogue quality of film photography to signify the out-of-time appeal of his music. Together with his collaborator and friend, Eric took inspiration from the dark worlds of photographer Cindy Sherman and film director David Lynch to evolve the visual statement of his act.
Continuously honing his craft, Eric has been writing and recording demos in his basement, which ultimately yielded his upcoming single “Working Dude.” This single is an exploration of modern surreal absurdities, whether they pertain to politics or personal values in our media-saturated culture. Eric says “the song is largely a sardonic reflection of our current alienation, our distraction culture, and the dubious barometers of self-value. The accompanying video will be an 80’s MTV-era, hyper-colored (and hyperactive) visual statement mixing in all of this, with some fun too, actually. Ironically, it’s an upbeat song that I think works on every level of depth or superficiality.”
As was previously mentioned, Eric’s work continuously deals with issues of darkness and isolation, and when considering his lyrics and rich-colored visuals, you get the sense of an artist delving into the underside, or subconscious of himself or society. Eric muses that “As a Night Owl, I guess I ponder the thoughts and impressions that lay on the margins of daily life. At night, I have the space to hear my own voice and create. Through this process, I hope to connect with myself, and ultimately others through my work.” Indeed, if Eric’s music exists in a world of beautiful darkness, he is certainly hoping that he can find you there, too.
"Clear as day- Eric Contractor certainly stands out amongst the crowd....incredibly distinctive voice." - Aquarian Weekly Read Full Article
"The guy should have broken indie by now: he is a one man Morrissey with a bit more range and just as much strangeness...the thought of Contractor digging into "Night Escape," one of my fave albums of 2011, is salivatingly great!!!"- Rock NYC Read Full Article (Must See Concert: Eric Contractor)
"Waiting for the Magic" is, well, magical. The introduction is jazzy, and a bit of a mystery – you just don’t know what wonderful journey you’re about to embark on as the notes flow out of your speakers. A soothing voice by Contractor is a perfect way to compliment the lovely tune. His song, “Kissing up the Rain,” exemplifies his deep voice and his folk-pop potential, and would compliment a movie’s soundtrack because of the way he tells a story."- Alessandra Malito, Freelance Reporter
"I’ve been an Eric Contractor fan for years now and my major complaint is that he is still alive – not that I wish him dead of course, he is a really nice guy, but because of his haunting vocals and song constructions, his beautiful damaged persona, his ghost of Jeff Buckley (not to mention Roy Orbison) personality." - Rock NYC Read full Article
"Eric Contractor is a true original. All 11 songs are gems, all perfect. It is an amazing achievement and, released April 2011, is immediately one of the best albums of the year. " - Rock NYC Read Full Review
"On his debut album, Night Escape, Eric Contractor is a Byronic creature, his gorgeous baritone sweeping through songs of lost love and wee small hours. Even the album cover finds him bathed in dark, moonlight blue, as mysterious as his deeply felt songs. "Prince Of The Shadows"...is a mesmerizing song neatly built on a quasi-Flamenco lick and it achieves the suspension of disbelief he seems to be aiming for." - Rock NYC Read Full Article
"The surprise of the year has been Eric Contractor whose debut album Night Escape, is...of immense power and beauty." - Rock NYC Read Full Article
"The music of Eric Contractor creates male vocal-led odes to love, longing, and loss that are infused with a romanticism that digs a few layers beneath the surface. There really is no confusing Mr. Contractor with Justin Bieber as to sincerity or passion. Secondly, in mining the wealth of the past and not trying to make it fit an easy, money making formula, this artist has both courage and insight. Our society is in the throes of forced, inevitable and often terrifying change, and Eric’s voice and music offer a safer and more thoughtful past, bringing comfort to this road weary sojourner." - Heroes of Indie Music Read Full Review
"Eric's songs exhibit the emergence of a strong talent. He is on his way to finding a lyrical style all his own." - Louis Karchin, Pulitzer Prize nominated composer.
"Singer/songwriter Eric Contractor recently released his debut album entitled "Night Escape." The sound in this album is very cinematic. Eric captures the mood in the opening track with his strong, almost hypnotic voice, while his music swirls in the background. Eric's deep, baritone vocals bring up comparisons to Johnny Cash on the country sounds of "Never, Never." Eric puts on his seductive suit with his suave vocals on "Driving Down The Coast." He then comes back with the up-tempo, Talking Heads sounding "Ain't No Love." His voice fits perfectly in the ballad "Prince of the Shadows" as his vocals never overpowers the song. The album finishes with his strongest effort in "Visions of Aphrodite." - JP's Music Blog Read Full Review
"I listened to the album, it's very awesome. I definitely get a mystical vibe. His music sounds like something you would hear on a coffee shop radio station. Simply put, his music is soothing acoustic rock. I thoroughly enjoyed his set." -Tristate Tunes Read Full Article