Liam McMullan, Purple Prince of the City

A couple beats of silence, then the chorus:

Hey bud you’re gettin pretty big, so make a song up about being a kid,

Hey bud you’re getting really big, make me a song about being a kid,

Oh … oh … oh … oh …”

A moody pop song was born.

“I want to make something that’s legitimate and good,” Liam said. Mr. Young “brings in the beats that make people dance without even thinking about it, and I try to bring in lyrics that at least sound good. … I’m not trying to make stupid, silly songs. I’m trying to make songs that mean something, and if you’re actually looking at what the meaning could be, you’re going to find out something more.”

“You want to grab someone’s attention with every song and have them listen to the whole album,” he continued. “In all my favorite albums, every song is really good. I love all music; if you saw my iPod, it’s 160 gigs. I love all Bowie and Bob Dylan and pretty much everything. Nine Inch Nails to fucking Barbra Streisand.”

Over the years, his parents have remained friends, but their relationship has made him a little cynical about the whole relationship thing.

He had his first kiss at 15, he told me between sips of a Jack and Coke at a bar down the block from the dungeon. He lost his virginity at 18 to his high-school sweetheart of two years, Amy; a blue terry-cloth wristband now covers a tattoo of her name.

“It took one second, and it was just done,” he said. “I was just like ‘Ahahahahah!’ Now it just goes on forever. And I have thes
e migraines now that do really hurt like balls when I’m having sex. I start being a dick then. I’m like, ‘Um you can move around a little bit—I don’t have to do all the work.’”

He started smoking weed over the summer of 10th grade

“Since I smoked at that time, I’ve had the desire to smoke for a while now,” he said. “Smoking weed is pretty good; I haven’t gotten many complaints about it. It helps with my migraine pains. I’ve been getting migraines, because we’ve been in the studio for so long with blasting music.”

He thinks love is a dangerous thing. “It is what everyone craves; it is an idea,” he said. “I fall in love all the time. I love my girlfriend. And I love my ex-girlfriend. But love is different, love changes.”

His current girlfriend is 28, he said above the din of the bar. He said he’s always gone for crazy-type girls; his ex, Amy, recently texted him to say she thinks she has a borderline personality.

A few days later, on his way down Broadway to the Fame audition, he admitted he hadn’t read his sides—the scratched notes made by the director and producers in the margins of the script. He doesn’t like to check his e-mail. But he’d had a look at the script, and he’d shaved the peach fuzz.

He wasn’t sweating it. Whether he got the part or not, it would not be “my ticket to stardom,” he said. A warm breeze brushed his thatched hair back against his forehead. Tinted Wayfarers protected his eyes from the sun. His girlfriend called. He said he’d have to call her back; his cell phone was running out of juice. They broke up three days later. Things had come to light, he would explain.

Liam McMullan, Purple Prince of the City