Track by Track is our series where the artist tell us a little about their newest work.
In The Light by Melissa Bel
It worked out very well that I went straight from Las Vegas where I met my now-boyfriend (and the reason I moved to England) to LA to write for the album. Needless to say I had plenty of inspiration for songwriting after that weekend! Real Tonight is a pretty accurate to the point where I was just talking to Justin (my producer/corwriter) about what happened and those became the lyrics. For example, I said “I found a British boy. I like the way he talks”. And Justin was like “Yes! That’s the line!”. Definitely one of my favourite tracks, I love the funky groove on it. It makes me wanna strut down the street. Or anywhere.
In the Light
The last song I wrote for the album, and possibly my favourite song I’ve ever written! I wrote it a couple of weeks after meeting Alex in Vegas, and it just spilled out in a couple of hours while I was in my apartment in Toronto. It’s the one song on the album that wasn’t a cowrite, and writing happy songs is so much harder than writing sad songs, which makes me extra proud of it. My good friend who wrote my bio described it as “encapsulating the naked hope and fear of finding profound, visceral love”. That’s what I was going for!
This was one of the first songs written for the album, back in March 2015, and was a cowrite between myself, Justin and Drew Lawrence (who cowrite “Jar of Hearts” by Christina Perri). I was so excited about when we did this track because I’d never heard myself singing a pop song like this but still with so much soul. It was written about more or less what it sounds like…a relationship that you know needs to end but just can’t get out of.
The first line of this song, “Everybody knows, everybody knows that you’ve got a reputation”, came to me one night in bed just before I fell asleep. Then I took it into a session in Toronto with Adam Royce, who produced the song, and we decided to write a good, old fashioned, feel good pop song. I had a lot of fun writing this one since it was entirely fictional other than being slightly inspired by someone I briefly met who had that “tattooed, too cool” thing going on. Girls, you know the type.
Big Boys Don’t Cry
I cowrite this one with Justin and Ryan Cabrera, and was 1 of 2 songs we wrote in just a few hours one afternoon in LA. It started with one of the guys playing some chords and me riffing on a melody, but I can’t even remember where we got the lyrical idea from. Once we had “Big Boys Don’t Cry” as our hook we ran with it and came up with a sassy breakup tune. I can’t believe I got “Nsync” into a song lyric…I used to be completely obsessed with them.
She Should’ve Been Me
The big ballad on the album. I was going through a bit of emotional turmoil at the time over a few different things (can you tell?) and this was one of those songs I just needed to write to get it out of my system. It was tough to nail the production on this one because I didn’t want it to be too overboard, but wanted the dynamics to shine through. Love singing this one live as it seems to make such an emotional connection with the audience.
This was the first song I wrote with Justin and Drew Lawrence in LA, so I was pretty nervous at the beginning of the session, but quickly realized we were totally on the same page musically. I wanted to combine my blues and soul influences with a more current, more ‘pop’ sound, and this was my first song that achieved just that. I was on the verge of a long-overdue breakup when we wrote this, so it was kind of me getting all of my frustrations out in the open. Songwriting. Cheaper, and just as effective as therapy.