Singled Out: Clinton Washington (The Voice)
I was in the middle of writing and recording my album when this melody kept coming to me. It probably lasted about a week and eventually I recorded the 10 second melody into my phone. I put it aside and wrapped up the first half of the album (which at this point was only supposed to be 4 songs). I gathered all the almost-final cuts of my songs and sat in my apartment and listened through them. They were moody, dramatic, and synth-driven. They sounded cohesive but they didn't quite tell a story. I wanted a story. I needed that heartbreak song. Something that made you and me feel something, in a very real way.
That's when I remembered this little diddy that I couldn't escape. I pulled out my phone and listened through the rough humming pattern and the production started coming together in my mind. Even though I was almost out of money, I decided the song had to get recorded, even if it was only 10 seconds long. I called my engineer and booked some studio time for the next day and hoped I could pull a song together in the meantime.
I turned off all the lights in my apartment. And I thought about what kind of song Adele and Alabama Shakes would come up with if they were male, alone, and almost broke. I'll admit, that's usually how my songs start anyway. I felt like they'd write a song about their pain, so why not write a song about my pain? Of course I've never set anything on fire, but I've sure wanted to. So I wrote about what crazy Clinton would do if he had a broken heart and lighter fluid.
I started hearing an organ and a raw production of live instruments. Maybe even some tambourine. It started to take this shape of an organic sing-along, with stacked harmonies and layered melodies. I wrote the lyrics with a rough idea of verse melody and a strong idea of the chorus and hook. Now, it was just a matter of putting all these ideas together.
The next day, I went to the studio and worked with the brilliant Nick Miller, who made the song come to life as we built the song piece by piece. We spent all day fine-tuning the builds and progressions and rewriting what eventually became the anthem for my album. It's a song I still love singing along with because although the story is dark and heated, the melody and instrumentation is fun and interesting. I feel like I should include a final reminder that I don't actually burn things down (but it's fun to sing about).
Hearing is believing. Now that you know the story behind the song, listen for yourself and learn more about the album right here!