Brett Altman describes himself as a late-bloomer, having not performed in public until he hit 20. With that said, the Hoboken singer-songwriter must have broken out of his shell fairly soon after that. All considering, by 21, Altman was performing for a crowd of 17,000 at Penn State in the midst of a talent competition—which he had gone on to win. Now, the artist has honed-in on a midsummer’s sound between the blues and folk-pop stylings of John Mayer and Jason Mraz. Forming a duo with Max Perkins, the songwriting team’s newest single released on the road to Altman’s debut EP is “Vacancy Signs”.
At its core, “Vacancy Signs” is a song about having your head in the clouds. There’s no deeper meaning past the all-too-relatable feeling of a youthful crush quickly whiling all of the hours in the day away. It’s elevated by a slick production value met by Altman’s sweet, soulful croon. All in all, it’s an earworm of an indie pop tune that sets Altman’s forthcoming EP release in a positive light.
Regarding the song, Altman tells PopMatters, “this was the first song I co-wrote with my duo partner, Max Perkins. We were inspired by the concept of crushing on an older woman. We knew it was a relatable message, when daydreaming about someone who is off limits and/or unattainable can get in the way your productivity and focus. The song is intended to be a playful and humorous one, as the storyteller is obviously not grounded in reality. So often we are self-aware that our thoughts are getting the best of us, but sometimes we just don’t care.”
Regarding his relationship with Perkins, Altman says, “Max and I first met during a roommate interview process in the summer of 2017. Max was moving from California to New York to pursue a songwriting master’s degree and our mutual friend, Allie, introduced us (since she knew I was looking for a roommate). We were all set to sign on the dotted line when he surprised me with the news of bringing his two furry feline friends into my apartment. Due to my allergies, I told him it was either me or the cats. While he ended up choosing his cats over me for roommates, I’m glad that he opted for a musical partner who could hold a tune and a microphone simultaneously.”