By Isabella Schneider
Zachary Caragan Bour used the pain he felt throughout quarantine to inspire his musical career that led him to 270,000 Spotify streams by the end of 2020.
The music artist goes by the stage name Caragan, which is his mother’s maiden name because she’s the one who inspired him to try music. He said his purpose in creating music is to release his emotions, but also to connect with his family.
“Caragan is the best representation to show that I am what my family has made me,” Bour said. “I’m able to represent my mom’s inspiration to me through music. It also ties into what I’m really shooting for which is just a Filipino American who’s hoping to make his family proud through music.”
Once he decided to publish his music, Bour didn’t just roll out of bed one day and create a hit single. He said COVID-19 stunted his growth as an artist, forcing him to mature and to translate feelings of being stagnant and stuck into relatable songs.
Once Bour overcame this obstacle, he was able to work towards his EP “Eve” which released on March 5. Eve is a three-song EP all about the emotions Bour went through in the past year.
“Eve is a journal of all the stress I put myself through for a single person this last Fall in the pandemic,” Bour said. “I was very anxious and worrisome, and I didn’t know where to put it. I thought I’d put it in three songs.”
Bour said that the whole thing came together in three days. He usually lays in bed for a few hours before he gets to work, debating on whether or not he wants to record. However, once he gets up he is hyperproductive, which is how he put the songs together so quickly.
Bour said that since he was in a creative rut last summer, putting Eve together so quickly was a turning point. He’s hopeful that audiences will relate to the emotions he put into the EP and understand the messages he’s trying to convey.
“I’m throwing out all the negative emotions the pandemic threw at me and turning them into something beautiful,” Bour said. “I hope people can understand that it’s tough being sad, and if you’re not always crying it doesn’t mean you’re sad.”
Bour celebrated the release of Eve with a Zoom party because he wanted to connect with his listeners. As a budding artist, Bour said his connections are tight. He also shared the meaning behind his songs, which won’t be shared outside the Zoom community.
The artists following are mainly friends. He found his success by being proud of what he was putting out and being comfortable asking friends to push his music forward.
He also blames luck, saying that the Spotify algorithm favored the term “Cozy” which was the title of one of his first songs.
“Cozy came out after Christmas, and having all those views felt like a late Christmas gift,” Bour said. “I didn’t expect it at all, I actually thought it was a prank at first. That was the kick of me finally believing in myself.”
Bour said that while he is grateful for the fanbase he has, he ultimately wants to grow into something much bigger so he can pursue larger goals. Some of his future goals include hosting in-person concerts and releasing a summer single or music video.
Bour plans to achieve these goals by working solo. He produces, writes, and performs all of his music because he enjoys creative freedom.
“I enjoy working with others but I feel bad imposing my opinion,” Bour said. “I don’t want to compromise friendships with music. I worked with a band in high school on a song and wanted to change it but I couldn’t because it wasn’t mine.”
The freedom and creative control help Bour when he’s writing his songs. He said he draws inspiration from past mistakes. Thus, he tries to remedy past issues through music in order to help listeners avoid the same mistakes.
For example, “Keep Falling” was Bour’s second single and it detailed what happened to him when he pushed a friend’s boundaries. He said it described mistakes he made around Valentine’s Day.
“It was pretty much a song about telling somebody ‘hey you know I know you’ve been through a lot but I want to be there for you,’” Bour said. “But you can’t just push people’s boundaries. You have to be able to respect them, and not force anything more. It made a really good song and I hope people can take away from that.”
Listen to “Eve” now: