Nathan Sharp is a multi-hyphenate Internet sensation whose credits include singing, playing instruments, and voice acting for the dating simulation game Dream Daddy. Fans of gaming YouTube channels, however, may know him best as NateWantsToBattle. Sharp adopted the video game-inspired nom de plume in 2012 when he launched his YouTube channel of the same name, which also focused on his passions of anime and music.
Once Sharp began posting his own covers of pop hits and reworks of anime and video game tunes, the moniker became his stage name as an independent recording artist. Today (May 31), he premieres an EP of 10 original tracks titled Paid In Exposure via Billboard. The project is out Friday (June 1).
The new EP is a follow-up to NateWantsToBattle’s 2017 album, Sandcastle Kingdoms. Sharp explained the writing process leading up to the EP’s release, citing a year of major changes and outlooks on life. “There were some major events that all happened so fast-paced and back to back and this album, lyrically, is the narrative of that roller coaster,” he told Billboard. “Creatively, it has more character and more illustration than anything I’ve worked on before. Sonically speaking, I wanted every song to be different, but still belong on the same album.”
As a result, Paid In Exposure is a cohesive rock project that’s full of energy, loud guitars, and catchy refrains. It was released on Sharp’s own label Give Heart Records. The label is also home to other YouTube performers including the metalcore band Ghost Fight, of which Sharp is a member.
The EP opens with the massive punk sound of “Until the Wolves Come Out,” which prompts listeners to live loud and howl to the moon. “Scream it out loud to the wolves come out,” Sharp sings over the lively guitars. Paid In Exposure also includes the haunting single “Phantom,” as well as slow-building tracks like “Take Me Anywhere” and “Call It Off.”
Throughout all ten tracks, Sharp — who cites alternative rockers like Green Day and Panic! At The Disco as influences — explores myriad topics like soul-searching and heartbreak for a heavy-hitting project that can resonate with those who love his anime-inspired compositions, new listeners, and everyone in between.