Songland this week comes with a special prize for the winning songwriter! Not only will Aloe Blacc record the winning song, but it will also be featured in “Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw.” So the stakes are higher than ever!
But which of the four songwriters will take home the win? And how does it all play out? Read our Songland recap below and watch to find out!
Kyle Williams is from Oklahoma, just like Ryan and Ester! He says he’s a songwriter and performer who thinks about music 26 hours a day. His song, “I’m Just Getting Started,” is about someone who’s worked their whole life to achieve something. Now that they’ve seen success, they’re standing their ground and not going anywhere.
This song is empowering and strong. Aloe Blacc wants to rearrange the chorus to add to the drop. He and the producers work together to put drums into it and change some of the lyrics to fit the movie. Kyle is paired with Ryan Tedder to bring it all together.
Afika (which means “He has arrived”) talks about how writing music brings him happiness. He is from Brooklyn, New York but his parents immigrated from Swaziland. Afika says when he wrote his song, “Chosen,” he had almost nothing. It’s about being in a hard place but having faith that it’ll end well on the other side. The lyrics emphasize that he is chosen!
“Chosen” is a great mix of a sung chorus and rapped verses. It sounds perfect for a soundtrack too! It kind of gave me Kanye or “Lose Yourself” vibes, which was used in another successful movie, “8 Mile.” Aloe Blacc compliments how “vibey” the song is. Ryan says that it’s “too much of one ingredient” and needs more dynamics and diversity. They rework it a little and it’s already sounding much better. Unfortunately though, this was the end of the road for Afika. He did release “Chosen” himself though!
TVTE (pronounced like “tate”) is from Wilmington, Delaware. She started songwriting to prove that if you have a dream, follow it. And that you can overcome any obstacles and addictions, especially being from a rough community. Her song “Call For a Hero” is about being your own hero. She says she relates to Aloe Blacc because her songs mean something and have a message like his.
After her performance, Aloe said her lyrics “almost made him throw his hat,” which is a huge compliment! The “Fast & Furious” director also mentions that it’s a perfect fit, lyrically, for the story of the film. Aloe says the chorus doesn’t lift the song though. He wants to change that part and make it more impactful. But overall, their feedback is positive! TVTE is paired with Ester Dean to produce the song.
Last up was Steve Fee, a singer-songwriter from Franklin, Tennessee. He said his inspiration comes from growing up in church, but also mixed with top 40 music that he loves. His song “Same Blood” is about brotherhood and coming together. This is a message that needs to be heard, especially now!
Shane said he could not stop thinking about ways to make this song better after hearing it. The “Fast & Furious” director mentions that it would be a perfect fit for the dynamic of the movie. When Aloe Blacc sings it after some back and forth, it comes together so well. He honestly sounds perfect on it! Steve works with Shane McAnally to rework his song.
TVTE (with Ester Dean)
Ester wants to rearrange this song to fit both Aloe Blacc and the “Fast & Furious” movie. TVTE says she respects Ester so much as a songwriter/producer and is excited to work with her. They take the song from having six parts down to three to simplify it more. Aloe wants to make this a declaration song about being a hero more than anything!
When she performs it a second time, TVTE is much more confident. She brings so much more energy and strength to the song. It definitely sounds like the declaration song Aloe was looking for from “Hero.” Ester talks about the work TVTE put in and how well the song would work in “Fast & Furious.”
Kyle Williams (with Ryan Tedder)
Ryan wants to work with Kyle to make the song less alternative and more urban. He says to think less Imagine Dragons and more “Fast & Furious” or AWOLNATION. It has more swag and sounds more modern after the session with Ryan. They honestly completely reworked the beat while keeping the strong melody and lyrics intact.
The second time around, “Getting Started” is much more urban and contemporary sounding. Which is perfect and fitting for a soundtrack! Ryan says they redid the lyrics too to make it more powerful. And in my opinion, it worked wonders and made all the difference!
Steve Fee (with Shane McAnally)
Shane begins their session by talking about how the melody lends itself to a deeper meaning. Steve tells the story about why he wrote this song. A young child in his church had cancer and he noticed the journey he and his single mom were going on. After he passed, Steve connected with his mother. Now, he’s been married to her for five years! Shane wants to bring out that meaning and make it more gospel sounding with a piano backtrack.
As soon as Steve started his second performance with the choir behind him, it hit completely differently than the original song. He seemed more in his element! Aloe said it “felt so good” and the “Fast & Furious” director complimented the story too. Aloe also loved what Steve and Shane did on this track in general.
Which Song Does Aloe Blacc Record for ‘Fast & Furious’?
Once all the performances ended, Aloe Blacc had a tough decision to make. He truly seemed to love all three songs so this could have gone any direction! But he decided to record…Kyle’s “Getting Started,” produced by Ryan Tedder! This was a great choice and seems like a perfect fit for the new “Fast & Furious” movie. Plus, it’s available now!
But wait! There’s another twist! While “Getting Started” will be featured on the soundtrack, it’s not the only winning song this week. Aloe Blacc also decided to record and release “Same Blood.” Both songs are available everywhere you listen to, download, and stream music.
Songland starts a five week hiatus now! It will return on NBC, Wednesdays at 9/8c on August 14th. Until then, tune in to the recaps on our YouTube channel to get your Songland fix.