Songland is back for season two and the premiere episode did not disappoint. Country superstars Lady Antebellum were looking for a song to bring them their sixth Grammy. They wanted a song that was fresh and new and would push them. Here’s what happened when Lady Antebellum came to Songland.
First up is Tim Halperin who is a former American Idol contestant. He made it to the top 24 on season 10. Tim currently lives in Nashville and once handed Ryan Tedder his EP at a school concert. He got cut from every sport he played in high school which prompted him to turn to music. His original song “Losing You” depicts the story of his new marriage. He realized marriage is something so much bigger than him and he has to make sacrifices. He is willing to do whatever he can to keep his marriage together.
The producers agreed that his song sounds like a hit and that it has more of a rock feel. Ryan felt like the lyrics could be changed a little bit to establish a better story with the song. Hillary Scott and Charles Kelley sang the chorus of the song and the harmonies were perfect. His smooth delivery of the song and piano playing was a hit with the producers. Tim was paired up with Ryan to work on the song.
Steven Battey is already a writer for numerous country artists. Songland seems like the perfect place for him to be. He is from Savannah, Georgia and built a connection with Charles and Dave because they are also from Georgia. Steven used to be a street performer and sang doo-wop music. He performed the song “Feels Good To Me” and it had all of the members of Lady Antebellum bobbing their heads along to the song. It honestly sounded like a song that would be sung by the band.
The producers agreed that the melody sounded a lot like something that Lady Antebellum would sing. Ryan felt like the song was missing a chorus. They asked Steven if he could make up a chorus on the spot. They’ve never made anyone on the show do that before. Hillary said that the song has so much potential. Unfortunately, he did not make it on to work with one of the producers.
Madeline Merlo is a Canadian artist looking to bridge the gap between pop and country. She also currently lives in Nashville. One of her main influences is country superstar Shania Twain. Her song “I’ll Drink To That” was immediately a hit with the judges. We got to hear Madeline’s amazing song which was released before the episode aired in a promo. Ester Dean and the members of Lady Antebellum loved the groove and the melody of the song. They called it “funky.” Ryan Tedder suggested that they should make it more of a “Summer song” with reggae vibes. This then resulted in all of the producers singing along to Merlo’s song. It made her emotional. Hillary Scott said that she emotionally connects to the song. It’s no surprise here that Madeline will be working with Shane McAnally.
Ryan Innes competed on season four of The Voice back in 2013. He received a four-chair turn and earned a spot on Team Usher. While he was eliminated during the Knockout Round, Innes released his own album. Songwriting is what helps him process what is going on in life. His song is about letting people go on the journey they need to and understanding that when they come back around to home, it might be a different place than they started out at. He thinks Lady Antebellum are storytellers and they would understand his song.
An avid performer in Salt Lake City, Charles actually recognizes him and has seen him perform before. “Long Way Home” is a soft ballad that absolutely tells a relatable story. The producers agreed that there is no chorus. Ester said it could be like a teenage love and they find each other again. Ryan thinks that everything about the performance was a 10 and that they’ll have to figure out how to craft it to Lady Antebellum. Ryan was paired up with Ester to work on the song.
Ryan Innes (With Ester Dean)
Ryan took to the studio with Ester to make the song more emotional. They restructured the song to make it more suitable to be on the radio. Ester believes the song should take a more pop approach. Ester also wants to work on finding a strong hook and strong lyrics that relate to a wider range of people. For the second performance, Ryan was joined by a cellist and the song had a new hook. The producers love the lyric “even when I’m slow, it’s just the long way home.”
Madeline Merlo (With Shane McAnally)
Madeline and Shane worked on a new drum pattern for the song. He said her song sounded “very current country radio.” He wants to come up with something new with more of a reggae vibe. The old song sounded a bit more emotional and less fun. They created some fun lyrics that they think would be more authentic. For the second performance, the song was renamed to “Champagne Night.” Hillary loves it and clapped along with delight. The song sounds totally different than the first performance but it really made it stand out as a cool new country anthem. Lady Antebellum gave a standing ovation and agree that the song is a hit. They love the lyrics “doubles and bubbles.”
Tim Halperin (With Ryan Tedder)
Ryan wanted to elevate the song. Charles voiced that he wanted to turn the song into a duet during a FaceTime conversation. They created harmonies that shine and included more instruments such as the cello to bring more emotion to the song. Tim performed the new song as a duet with singer Hayley Orrantia. Ryan sang along as he watched the performance. It sounded smooth and the harmonies were very in sync. Hillary said that the song gave her “full-body goosebumps.” Charles loves the melody change because it makes the song sound more country. Ester said she could envision hearing that song on the radio.
And The Winning ‘Songland’ Single For Lady Antebellum Is…
Madeline Merlo and Shane McAnally’s “Champagne Night!” There is absolutely no surprise here that this song is the one that impressed the band the most. It has an insanely catchy hook and you could tell by the way everyone was grooving in their seats that it is a hit. Since they are embarking on a tour, Lady Antebellum thought it was the ultimate fun party song that would really get the crowd moving and the bottles of champagne flowing.
Next week on Songland, Latin artist Luis Fonsi will be looking for his next big hit after the smash success of his song “Despacito.” Tune in next Monday night to hear some amazing original songs!