No matter how dark things get, Surf Mesa remains a dreamer. The 20-year-old songwriter and producer spent much of 2020 honing the escapist energy of the nostalgic electronic ballads he’s been working toward since he got a copy of FL Studio in third grade. The Seattle artist makes “music for good feels,” which made his music a breath of fresh air in a tough year. Both of his beloved 2020 singles — “ily (i love you baby)” featuring Emilee and “Somewhere” featuring Gus Dapperton — offer romance and refuge for tired minds, drenched in gossamer synth and fueled by insistent drums. And his latest, the delicate “Carried Away” with Madison Beer, continues in this windswept tradition, the sonic equivalent of staring into the sunset and imagining a better life more full of love. This placid mindset has clearly connected. “ily” was recently RIAA certified Platinum after almost 2 billion global streams and nearly 4 billion TikTok videos. The song hit #1 on Billboard’s Dance/Electronic chart and #2 on Top 40 radio, and “Somewhere” is right behind it, landing on Spotify’s hallowed New Music Friday out of the gate and garnering placements on dozens of playlists across platforms since. His whirlwind rise also earned him remixing duty on Marshmello and Halsey’s “Be Kind,” and Shawn Mendes’ “Wonder” — both fitting titles for Surf’s heartwarming music to enter mainstream EDM and pop. By year’s end, “ily” placed on Spotify and Amazon’s top songs lists, setting him up for even bigger successes this year — VEVO has already named him a DSCVR Artist To Watch for 2021. And yet, after all this, he continues to make music at home alone, the same way he’s worked since he was a kid holed up in his room making beats between Counter-Strike matches. He has humble aims: to make catchy, chill pop music and give others a way to “feel better about their day.” Listening to Surf, it’s hard not to.