You might recognize Aidan Gallagher as the time-traveling Number Five in Gerard Way’s comic-book-turned-Netflix-series The Umbrella Academy. Or perhaps if you’re around the same demo as Frank Iero’s children, then you know Gallagher as one of four quadruplets on Nickelodeon’s Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn.
While he has proven himself as an actor on the rise, the multi-talented teen has even more up his sleeve as a burgeoning musician. With his first single, “Blue Neon (Club Version),” a week away from hitting streaming services, Gallagher chatted with AP about what to expect in this next endeavor.
Gallagher began acting at age 9 and pursued piano soon after. In addition to the keys, he also plays guitar and sings. As part of his pursuit in music, he’s taken a deep dive into the technical side, producing his own music and loves how “super-creative and challenging” the process is. However, his fascination with music stretches back even further: His acting career taking off first was a mix of accident and luck.
“I’ve always loved music from a very young age,” he explains. “I just felt really close to it, and I’ve been singing my whole life. Acting was an accident of wanting to learn directing but then finding out I liked acting. I wanted to do a few episodes to watch the process of a set but then got cast in a starring role [on Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn] that lasted four seasons by pure luck.”
As far as how his two passions compare, he acknowledges that acting came easily while music takes a bit more work.
“Music expresses how I’m feeling and what I’m thinking, [and] acting is just something that I enjoy and have been very lucky with,” he elaborates. “I do feel I’m good at acting, and it comes easily to me. I do enjoy figuring out a character like Five and giving it everything I’ve got.
“But music is harder than acting,” he continues. “With music, I write the music and lyrics, then play and record it on piano and guitar, then produce it on Logic before sending to be mixed and mastered. That all takes a lot more knowledge and skill than acting. It’s a longer process as I explore how to mold the song. Each song develops in its own way with its own requirements. But I love this process, and every year I’ve learned more. A few years ago, I hired producers to record me, and now I know how to do it myself.”
Gallagher grew up exposed to a variety of influences from John Mayer to Ed Sheeran—as evidenced by his acoustic-based upcoming release. However, he also cites Tom Petty, Queen, Quincy Jones, Foo Fighters and Nirvana as some of his favorites as the result of all the music documentaries he watches.
While he admires many of the aforementioned bands and solo artists, Gallagher sees himself fitting into the latter camp for the time being. He has tried to work with other musicians in the past (including a recent live performance of the upcoming track that ended up acoustic instead) but has found a preference working solo.
“I had a band when I was 11, and it was difficult because they were all teenagers and had different levels of commitment,” he explains. “As a kid, you have to balance school and a social life with your music, and it’s hard. And I have to balance acting, too!
“I think bands are problematic,” he continues. “It’s much easier to be a solo artist today like Shawn Mendes and Ed Sheeran because you can focus on your own vision for the music. The songs are all being produced [by me] with a modern-pop sound that I’m into right now, so they will be more full and layered but true to my sound.”
Gallagher will certainly be staying true to his sound when his first song, “Blue Neon (Club Version),” officially hits streaming services March 22. My Chemical Romance fans may cringe at that date’s mention as it marks the day the band shared a blog post announcing their demise.
“I picked that date because it was the end of something important to me and now the beginning of something important to me,” he clarifies. “Yes, I’m referring to the end of MCR and the beginning of my voice. The MCR fans are awesome and have been very supportive of the show and—to my surprise—of me as well. I’m just doing what I love, and I’m so grateful for the love.”
“Blue Neon (Club Version)” hits streaming services March 22, but you can check out the original release below and preorder it on Amazon now. Gallagher will be dropping more music from his upcoming EP and embarking on a tour with further information coming soon. Keep up with Gallagher here.