Singled Out: Maia Sharp's Nothing But The Radio
Most musicians I know don't want to dance. One of the many reasons why a lot of us choose to get on stage is because the dance floor (and what we may do on it) is scarier. So when every musician and engineer who worked on the final version of "Nothing But the Radio" spontaneously started dancing at some point is our session, I knew we'd found it.
"Nothing But the Radio" has had many lives. It was born as a mid-tempo, slinky, minimalist production that my co-producer, Linda Taylor and I kept rethinking and revising in the studio and live as a duo. "Radio" was one of the first songs written for the new album The Dash Between the Dates and that huge head start of one song over the others can be a double edged sword. You get more time with it but then…you get a lot of time with it. A year or so later, when the rest of the album was written and ready to go with all things creative and business in place, the day had come to finally lock in "Radio." What was it going to be forever? No more going back.
This is a perfect example of why co-production is so valuable especially when one of you is the writer and artist. I was just too far inside, having trouble visualizing a version of this song I had performed 100 times and recorded 3 times as ever being much different than where it started. Little changes were fine but I just wasn't clearing out my search history very well. Old ideas were always lingering and whining at me to be preserved. When it was time to hunker down and make the album, Linda could break up with all the old versions and start fresh with a this-should-be-fun approach. Basically, turn off your worries and turn on your hips. It's considerably faster than its birth BPM with horns, strings, castanets, tubular bells, toy piano, guitars galore, Wurlitzer pretending to be bass and then of course, bass too joins the party and all over a drum groove that might make you picture a cutaway from an Austin Powers movie.
"Nothing But the Radio"s lighthearted message over a big production is the first single from and how we start off the new album. I wanted people to know that I don't always take things so seriously (anymore) even when they get serious like in the next song, the title cut "The Dash Between the Dates." If my scheme (part evil, part good) has worked, then we struck a good balance of light and dark in this next offering.