‘Songland’ Martina McBride Recap: The Perfect Blend Of Pop & Country Does Exist!

Samantha Agate
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Country legend Martina McBride is looking for a song that tells a story on Songland. She is excited to support young songwriters and give them an opportunity to have a voice. Could this 14 time Grammy nominee finally have a chart-topping pop-country song that will earn her first win? Here’s what happened when Martina came to Songland.


CKAY Wants A Strong Woman Like Martina McBride To Bring Her Song To Life

CKAY is a singer/songwriter from New York City. She began singing opera when she was 12 at the Apollo in NYC. After that, she made the transition into writing. Her song “Heroes” is about not answering to anybody. She wants a strong female like Martina to sing the song. She hopes that people that hear the song can be their own heroes and feel empowered. Martina loves CKAY’s voice and thinks the song will be sung by a whole arena full of people if she were to perform it. Ryan Tedder thinks that the chorus and the pre-chorus could use some work. The producers agree that the song has an “Adele” feel. That is a huge compliment considering that Adele is one of the most successful artists of the past decade. She will be moving on to work with Shane McAnally in the studio.


H A L I E Has A Young & Fresh Approach To Country Music On ‘Songland’

H A L I E is a 19-year-old from Missouri who now lives in Nashville. She quickly realized that there are so many people in Nashville that also want to become songwriters. H A L I E has a tremendous love for music and who better to present her song to than country superstar Martina McBride? She says that music has “brought her every blessing in life.” Halie’s brother is Michael Tyler who is a very successful songwriter. Her song is called “Girls Like Me” and it’s about how some girls are afraid to be themselves because of what other people think of them. But, she wants to highlight that nobody is perfect and that’s ok.

Her goal is to get her song on the radio which is hard because country radio is dominated by males. The producers love the melody of the song and felt that it grabbed their attention. Martina just wants to tweak the lyrics and tailor them to herself. Ester swapped some of the lyrics around to give it more of a relatable feel for Martina and the producers love it. She will be moving on to work with Ester Dean in the studio.

WOLVES Are Trying To Bring A New Style Of Music To ‘Songland’

WOLVES is a duo from Los Angeles consisting of members Marc Avery and Sean Carney. They create pop alternative music so it is definitely a little out of Martina’s country wheelhouse. Nonetheless, they are extremely talented and looking to capture Martina’s attention. They call their style of music “Surf Trap.” Sounds interesting, doesn’t it? Their musical inspirations include Janelle Monae, Post Malone and Coldplay and they have actually already had major success on the Billboard charts. They began songwriting 15 years ago. The song they are performing is called “Miracle.” Marc wrote it from his heart with his mother in mind because she needs a miracle. Martina likes the melody of the chorus. Ryan feels like the song needs to be totally re-written just to give it more of a glimmer of hope. Unfortunately they were not chosen to move on to work with the producers.

Jeffrey James Is A Songwriting Veteran Looking For His Big Break

Jeffrey James is an R&B and pop singer from Nashville. He has worked on the music for several television shows such as Shameless and Criminal Minds. Jeffrey didn’t always know that he wanted to be a songwriter but he realized in high school that he had a knack for songwriting. He considers himself a “middle–class musician” because he makes a living writing songs for other artists. Songland truly is the perfect place for him. His song is called “We Can Be (Heroes).” It is a motivational song to remind people that they can always find a way out of dark situations.

Ryan really likes the chords but Martina isn’t a fan of the word “heroes.” Shane McAnally really likes the melody and rhyme scheme. He just feels like the lyrics do not come across well and need to be changed. Ester thinks that the song needs a new B section and hook. He will be moving on to work with Ryan Tedder.

CKAY (With Shane McAnally)

Shane works on the lyrics a little bit. He says that since CKAY’s range is similar to Martina’s, she can really play with her vocals in the song. Shane brought in some big drums and some string ideas to create an anthem. They reworked the vibe of the whole song and made it more intimate. This pairing was truly amazing because they were able to bounce ideas off of each other so well and create an anthem just like Martina wants. For the second performance, the song is definitely a lot faster. Shane felt this was the right move so it could be a song that Martina opens her show with. The lyrics also became more fresh and unique.

H A L I E (With Ester Dean)

The narrative that Ester wants to go with on the song is Martina talking to all of the daughters of the world. She wants it to sound different than other songs Martina has done about the same topic. Ester suggests they make the song bigger in production to give it more of a wow factor when Martina hears it. H A L I E drew from her own experience with her mother and incorporated some of her mother’s advice into the song. For her second performance, H A L I E made Martina cry. The changed lyrics really made a huge difference and made the song super emotional. Ester repurposed the song and moved things around in a way that made it super catchy and full of life.

Jeffrey James (With Ryan Tedder)

Ryan wants the song to read logically. His goal is to punch up the lyrics so that more emotion radiates from the song. Re-working this song is definitely a challenge, but that’s the beauty of Songland. Jeffrey feels very confident about the changes made to the song. For the second performance, Jeffrey was joined by background singers and the performance was very touching. The song has a totally different feel and honestly can give you chills. The producers along with Martina absolutely loved it.

The Winning Song Is…

“Girls Like Me” by H A L I E and Ester Dean is the winning song. Honestly, any song that is good enough to make an artist cry truly is special. H A L I E and Ester were an amazing paring and really brought an authenticity to the song. Martina is one of Halie’s country music idols so it was definitely bittersweet for her to have this moment. This song was tailored to include the perspective of Martina who is also a mother of three girls. Honestly, this song and performance were very empowering. Check out Martina’s version of “Girls Like Me.”


Tune into Songland next week to see artist Julia Michaels choose the perfect song for her. She has never had anyone else write a song for her so the episode will definitely be interesting.

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