We’re going back to country roots this week on Songland! Country group Old Dominion is looking for their next hit, which will also be featured in a Jeep commercial. And four songwriters are bringing their best, hoping to win the honor!
Let’s take a look at what went down on episode seven of Songland, featuring Old Dominion.
Katelyn Tarver is an actress and singer, known for her roles on Big Time Rush and Secret Life of the American Teenager. Her song, “Young,” is about love making you feel young again. It focuses on how she wants to be “young forever” to spend time with her loved one. The tone seems perfect for a commercial. And the producers love it too! Shane McAnally says that it “took [his] breath away.” The song seem likes a perfect fit, especially with Ester’s suggestion to change the lyric to “I just wanna stay young forever FOR you.” Old Dominion mentions that the lyrics may be too feminine for them though. In the end, Katelyn is paired with Shane McAnally to rework the song.
Jacobi.e is the second songwriter up for the night. Like Katelyn, he is also based out of Southern California. Jacobi.e is currently working at an ice cream shop, with dreams of making it big in the music industry. His song, “Westside,” is about chasing dreams and the lengths he would go through for his love. A fitting message for his story! The quick lines give his pop song a little R&B vibe. Old Dominion says he has a lot of “cool melody nuggets” that make the song. Jacobi.e is paired with Ryan Tedder to produce “Westside.”
MACI, a pop singer-songwriter based in Nashville, is up next. We don’t learn much about her from the show, which is the first bad sign. But she says her song, “Take A Ride,” is only her second song. And it’s an electro-pop banger! The song has all the judges nodding along, but it’s hard to picture Old Dominion signing it. The lyrics are perfect for a Jeep commercial though! I mean, the title is “Take A Ride” after all. The producers don’t love the lyrics are rework it, but they inevitably don’t pair MACI with any of the mentors.
The last song came from Fayetteville, Arkansas native, Jake Scott. Now based in Los Angeles, Jake has found some success from his original releases. His Songland song is called “Is This Love.” It’s a song about feeling love for the first time. Shane McAnally isn’t feeling it for Old Dominion, saying that it doesn’t fit their style. But when Ester and the band go off using the melody/beat from Jake, the song really comes together. All it took was a little change to the chords! Jake Scott gets paired with Ester Dean to work on his song and reimagine it for the country band.
Katelyn Tarver (with Shane McAnally)
Shane McAnally admits that he loves ballads, but wants to “bust [Katelyn’s song] open” to make it tougher. He says it needs to sound like a band’s song from a man’s standpoint. Shane wants to add a pulsing beat, reminiscent of songs in the 80’s. And as soon as he does that, the song comes to life!
In the second performance, Katelyn has a man come in to sing lead vocals. This way, Old Dominion can picture the song as if they were singing it. And that tactic works beautifully! The song has been reworked to fit with a country band performing it. It sounds much more Old Dominion and it’s easy to picture a Jeep commercial with this as the background. The CMO of Jeep loves it too, saying he is “blown away.”
Jacobi.e (with Ryan Tedder)
Ryan Tedder compliments Jacobi.e on his melodies, but wants to change the lyrics to be more about spontaneity. He adds a guitar riff to set the backtrack and they update the song title to “Where the Road Ends.”
Jacobi.e’s second performance is generalized better for a Jeep commercial. It’s more fitting for a wide audience, allowing Old Dominion to picture it being their own hit. The melody stayed similar though, allowing room for the quicker lines that make the song unique. Ester says she could hear the song “on the commercial and on the radio.”
Jake Scott (with Ester Dean
Ester starts her session with Jake by saying that she wants to customize the song for both Old Dominion and Jeep. Because of that, she changes the lyrics to be an anthem about a road trip, rather than a generic song about love. When you’re tailoring a song to something specific, you have to work to your strengths!
Jake was the last artist up to perform again. “Journey,” the new title for his song, had much stronger country vibes. It definitely felt like he and Ester made it perfect for Old Dominion. But it still had the catchy melody of the original! Old Dominion says it’s a “completely different song,” complimenting how they adapted it to the artist. The CMO of Jeep says, “what you wrote is not a song, it’s pure poetry.” That seems like quite the compliment!
And the Winner is…
Old Dominion had a difficult decision to make. When contemplating the three songs, they had good things to say about each one. For Katelyn’s, they said it’s something they could picture themselves doing. On Jake’s, they noted the strong lyrics from Ester’s session. And with Jacobi.e, the country group loved how it would appeal to a younger demographic.
After their discussions with the CMO of Jeep, Old Dominion finally came to a decision. And the winner is…”Young” by Katelyn Tarver! I definitely think this was the right choice for the country group. It works perfectly in the Jeep commercial too!
In addition to the commercial, “Young” by Old Dominion is now available everywhere you listen to music. Tune in again next week when Leona Lewis comes to Songland for her next hit!