Social media is filled with the same question “What should I watch next.” My answer is always the same, “watch Songland.” Songland is music. It’s the birth of an idea, it’s pure, it’s positive, it’s exciting and expressive and what this country needs right now. That’s the Twitter version, if you want to learn more, keep on reading.
My kids and I have a lot of discussions about “the arts” Vs. sports.
The pressure in our country to spend thousands on youth sports is tremendous from an organizational level, a parental level and the peer level, it’s a lot. When we made the decision for our son to no longer play tackle football, it not only crushed him, but he lost several friends over it.
I have a point.
My son and I talked a lot about how every athlete has an “expiration date,” you can’t play forever and you have to enjoy the time you play and then move on. Athletes become “legends” but I told him if he wants to be “immortal,” live forever, make an impact on the world, then music is where it’s at.
Let’s play a game…No Googling!!!
Who was the MVP of the Superbowl three years ago?______
Finish this: They paved paradise to put up a_________
How many home runs did Big Papi hit in his last season?
Finish this: Some will win, some will lose, some were _______
Here’s an easy one. Who was the center for the Chicago Bears when they won the Super Bowl?
Finish this: We don’t need no education, we don’t need no _______
A singer, a song writer, a musician, can write a song about Sitting at the Dock of a Bay in 1967 and it can circle the globe forever. Luis Alfonso Rodríguez López-Cepero, a Puerto Rican song writer can jot down a single word, that turns into an idea that births the most popular song in the world…Desposito. Yup, now it’s in your head also.
Music makes the world spin and this is where Songland starts. See I told you I had a point.
I didn’t want to like Songland… at all. Last year, in it’s premiere season, there was “nothing to watch” so I turned it on as background noise while I looked at Twitter.
Songland seemed like another ‘talent show” where singers, get all glammed up, belt out covers, while celebrities drink out of branded cups, the audience cheers and the light show goes crazy. Right, it pretty much describes a mix of several shows. We have seen it!
Here’s the deal, Songland came on and literally pulled my eyes away from Twitter and firmly glued them to the screen. I could not stop watching.
As I said up there. Songland is music. It’s the birth of an idea, it’s pure, it’s positive, it’s exciting and expressive and what this country needs right now.
Hell it’s so positive it inspired me to write this.
The concept is so simple it’s beautifully nerve wrecking to watch.
Three of music’s top producers: Ryan Tedder, Ester Dean and Shane McAnally are the hosts of the show.
They sit alone in a very cool recording studio with a band on one side and a different musical guest every week. These aren’t washed up names that the producers scrambled to fill the seat. Lady Antebellum, Luis Fonzi, Aloe Blacc, The Jonas Brothers are a few of the stars who take a seat in the studio to find their next hit.
This is where it’s gets good. They are not there to rip the song writers apart, roll their eyes, or insult them. Nope, they are all there to collaborate, guide and lift up complete strangers who are chasing a dream and get “one shot” (Eminem).
Undiscovered songwriters simply enter the studio, no fireworks or flashing lights, they say “hi” and generally freak out a bit because they are standing in front of musical superstars. Then they pitch/sing their original creations to the superstar recording artists in the hopes of creating a music collaboration of a lifetime.
This is where it gets better…. The panel doesn’t sit there and “judge” like every, single, other, show. They become a part of every pitch as they listen. They are grabbing guitars, writing down lyrics, busting out drum machines and scatting, all in an effort to take each song to another level and to teach… on a competition show.. What?
The songwriters, listen to the feedback and get this, don’t get mad or defensive or throw a diva fit, they jump into the creative pool and right there start to collaborate with the panel to build something better.
Of course there is an elimination element. Four song writers pitch their songs and three get to move on to the next part. Even then it’s not mean spirited, Charles Kelley from Lady Antebellum asked the eliminated song writer from his episode to “look him up in Nashville, so they could write a song together.” Can you imagine a certain V-necked Brit doing that, after he eliminated someone!
This is where it gets even better!!! The three remaining song writers don’t go to hair and make-up, they take off with Tedder, Dean and McAnally to work on their individual songs based on the feedback of the stars and the panel. We get to watch the creative process firsthand, as they write, play and take a good idea and make it better. It’s a behind the scenes look at the effort and thought that goes into every word and beat that is crafting a song.
The last part. Yes, it gets even better!! Now that they have worked with the producers on their songs, the three song writers come back to the studio and perform their new versions of the songs for the star of the week. Even here, the individual producers aren’t pitching the star or begging America to vote for their mentee, they are singing, dancing and cheering on all of the song writers, it’s like they can’t control their love and enthusiasm for the process, as they jump out of their seats and sing along.
Yes, one songwriter gets their song produced and performed by the star of the week, even that is done with class and style. There is no long pause and massive spotlights or confetti falling from the heavens, just a high five, a lot of hugs and the opportunity to live out a dream.
if you are one of the seven people who read this blog, you know my youngest son is autistic. He will most likely never score a winning touchdown or strike anyone out. He does love music and is pretty good at playing the piano. When I watch Songland, it gives me hope for him, for the dreamers and creators who believe in filling our world with their words.
As we are all searching for something positive to make us smile, give us hope and even stand up and cheer, Songland is that “something,” it’s real, it’s positive, it’s the best of who we are and yes, it’s the best show in America.