Songland is an American songwriting competition series on NBC that premiered in May 2019.[1] The show, produced in cooperation with the Universal Television Alternative Studio, 222 Productions, Live Animals Productions and Dave Stewart Entertainment, sets out to give undiscovered songwriters a chance to create a hit. It gives the viewers a look at the creative process in action.[2] Contestants are selected to work with producers and a well-known recording artist to release a song.[3] The show tries to elevate the traditional role of the songwriter in the process of creating music from "unpleasant secret" to being the celebrated "magic ingredient".[4] On September 10, 2019, NBC renewed the series for a second season.[5]

Songland
Created byDavid A. Stewart
Directed byIvan Dudynsky
StarringEster Dean
Shane McAnally
Ryan Tedder
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes11
Production
Executive producer(s)Audrey Morrissey
Ivan Dudynsky
Adam Levine
Dave Stewart
Chad Hines
Production company(s)Universal Television Alternative Studio
222 Productions
Live Animals Productions
Dave Stewart Entertainment
Release
Original networkNBC
Original releaseMay 28, 2019 (2019-05-28) –
present (present)
External links
Website

Origins and premiereEdit

Musician and composer David A. Stewart, formerly of the Eurythmics, conceived of Songland.[2]

The show premiered in May 2019, with three producer-hosts: Grammy-nominated producer and songwriter Ester Dean; Grammy-winning producer, and lead singer of OneRepublic Ryan Tedder; and Grammy-winning songwriter Shane McAnally.[2]

PremiseEdit

Each episode, producers Ryan Tedder, Ester Dean and Shane McAnally will team up with songwriters to create the next big hit to be recorded by a guest performing artist.[6] Four seemingly unknown songwriters audition songs they’ve written by singing them live for the three producers and that episode's guest star(s).[2]

They do so in Songland's makeshift recording studio equipped with sound mixing equipment, and sometimes with live musicians and extra singers.[4] They immediately get feedback for the song’s lyrics, message, and musical construction, often with specific ways to improve the track.[4] Reviewer Nancy Stetson commented:

“It’s enlightening to see how a song can change just by slowing it down or speeding it up, or moving the chorus, or emphasizing the beat or shuffling parts around.”[2]

From four prospective songs, three are chosen and matched up with one each of the three producers to develop a final version for approval; those re-worked songs are then sung again with one chosen as the winner.[4] The winning track is released the same night as the episode is aired, with the viewers witnessing a song produced for consumption in roughly 45 minutes.[4] It gives the viewers a look at the creative process in action.[2]

BackgroundEdit

Songland attempts to rework the often thankless and grueling job of songwriting.[4] The general public rarely notes who wrote the lyrics, or the music that catches attention, instead the credit is generally given to the singer,[2] the typical narrative being that they're anonymous "cogs in the well-oiled pop (music) machine".[4] A song is optioned, sometimes passed to other artists, who may wait months or years to record it, or just a hook from it, and all for the singer's own glory.[4] The show tries to elevate the traditional role of the songwriter in the process of creating music from "unpleasant secret" to being the celebrated "magic ingredient".[4]

EpisodesEdit

Color key:

       Songwriter’s track won, the recording is released by the musical guest
       Songwriter was in the top three
       Songwriter eliminated before final round

Episode 1 (May 28, 2019)Edit

Order Songwriter Song Producer Result
1 Max Embers "Back Home" (retitled "Lookin' Up") Ryan Tedder Top 3
2 Tebby Burrows "We Need Love" Shane McAnally Winner
3 Sam James "Shinedown" N/A Eliminated
4 Ollie Gabriel "Something New" Ester Dean Top 3

Notes: John Legend chose the song from Bahamian-born and Miami-based Tebby Burrows because he felt that, of the four songs, it had “the biggest journey from where it was to where it is now.”[7]

Episode 2 (June 4, 2019)Edit

Order Songwriter Song Producer Result
1 Josh Logan "Boxes" Shane McAnally Top 3
2 Charisma "Invincible" Ryan Tedder Top 3
3 Adam Friedman "Be Nice" Ester Dean Winner
4 Ray Goren "Oh Lord" N/A Eliminated

Notes: will.i.am ultimately opted to record all three finalist songs;[8] at the end of the episode he announced that he would remove three songs from Black Eyed Peas‘ next album to add “Be Nice,” as well as “Boxes” and “Invincible.”[9] He also told fourth place Ray Goren that “Oh Lord” is “a career-making song he should record for himself”, and that he would be a featured singer on Goren’s track.[10]

Episode 3 (June 11, 2019)Edit

Order Songwriter Song Producer Result
1 Jack Newsome "Lying (Next to You)" Shane McAnally Top 3
2 Jess Jocoy "Easy" N/A Eliminated
3 Daniel Feels "Crush" Ester Dean Top 3
4 Darius Coleman "Better Luck Next Time" Ryan Tedder Winner

Notes: Kelsea Ballerini is the first country music artist on the show, and said that she is attracted to songs that provoke a strong reaction in her, whether that reaction is dancing or crying.[11] She added that Darius Coleman had created a country hook whether he intended to or not.[11]

Episode 4 (June 18, 2019)Edit

Order Songwriter Song Producer Result
1 Able Heart "Greenlight" Ester Dean Winner
2 Remmi "Flickering" (retitled "Do You Think of Me?") Ryan Tedder Top 3
3 Ori "No Pressure" N/A Eliminated
4 Rynn "Crowded Places" Shane McAnally Top 3

Notes: Philadelphia songwriter and beatmaker Able Heart has been a ghost-writer up until the show; he also had never sung live.[12] The Jonas Brothers’ “Greenlight” went to #1 on the U.S. iTunes sales charts.[13]

Episode 5 (June 25, 2019)Edit

Order Songwriter Song Producer Result
1 Brandin Jay "No Money Alright" (retitled "We Got Us") Ester Dean Top 3
2 Kole "Hurt Me" Ryan Tedder Winner
3 Zachary Kale "All Over Again" N/A Eliminated
4 Josh Wood "Alone" Shane McAnally Top 3

Notes: Trainor picked the song because of its lyrics “about the aftermath of a breakup and making sure you always rise above the drama” being empowering.[14] The Tarzana, Los Angeles, writer, singer and producer Kole’s “Hurt Me” is “a fun and sassy dance-pop cut” with “a hooky jam”.[15]

Episode 6 (July 2, 2019)Edit

Order Songwriter Song Producer Result
1 Kyle Williams "Getting Started" Ryan Tedder Winner
2 Afika "Chosen" N/A Eliminated
3 TVTE "Call for a Hero" Ester Dean Top 3
4 Steve Fee "Same Blood" Shane McAnally Top 3, released as a single

Notes: The winning song, "Getting Started" by Kyle Williams aka producer Willyecho, was used for the Fast & Furious spin-off Hobbs & Shaw (August 2019) directed by David Leitch,[16][17] who helped decide on the song which features rapper J.I.D. They were looking for a “song that is motivational and inspiring with swagger”.[18] Aloe Blacc also chose to record "Same Blood" by Steve Fee.[18] "Chosen", the fourth-place finisher from Afika, was also released. TVTE’s "Call For a Hero" was retitled "Hero" for the official version.

Episode 7 (August 14, 2019)Edit

Order Songwriter Song Producer Result
1 Iro "Shadow" Shane McAnally Winner
2 Pop Culture "City Kids" (retitled "Unforgettable") Ryan Tedder Top 3
3 Chris Jobe "It Could Have Been You" N/A Eliminated
4 Casey Cook "Judgments" Ester Dean Top 3

Notes: Macklemore released the single "Shadow" as a collaboration with Iro.

Episode 8 (August 21, 2019)Edit

Order Songwriter Song Producer Result
1 Katelyn Tarver "Young" Shane McAnally Winner
2 Jacobi.e "Westside" (retitled "Where the Road Ends") Ryan Tedder Top 3
3 MACI "Take a Ride" N/A Eliminated
4 Jake Scott "Is This Love?" (retitled "Journey") Ester Dean Top 3

Notes: The winning song "Young" is featured on Jeep commercial. Katelyn Tarver, the winning songwriter, also starred in the commercial. [19]

Episode 9 (August 28, 2019)Edit

Order Songwriter Song Producer Result
1 Olivia Lane "Perfect Skin" Ester Dean Top 3
2 Rozee "Fighting For Us" (retitled "Solo Quiero (Somebody To Love)"/"All I Want") Ryan Tedder Winner
3 Rafferty "A Heart Full of Love" (retitled "When You Fall In Love") Shane McAnally Top 3
4 Annabel Lee "Ugliest Love" N/A Eliminated

Notes: Three time Grammy-award nominee Leona Lewis was the first British singer-songwriter on the show. The winning song "Solo Quiero (Somebody to Love)" was released after the episode aired, shooting to number one (1) on the US iTunes Latino chart. [20] Since its release, the song has peaked at number one (1) on several US Billboard Latin charts, including the Latin Digital Song Sales. [21]

Episode 10 (September 4, 2019)Edit

Order Songwriter Song Producer Result
1 Sam DeRosa "Pill for This" Shane McAnally Top 3
2 Zach Sorgen "Habits" (retitled "Bad Habit") Ryan Tedder Winner
3 Paris Williams "Pity Party" N/A Eliminated
4 Joel Adams "Hate Love" Ester Dean Top 3

Notes: Even though Charlie picked Zach Sorgen's song Bad Habit, he didn't release a version of the song. Instead, he gave the song back to Zach to release himself.

Episode 11 (September 11, 2019)Edit

With OneRepublic’s Tedder serving as the musical guest, Jason Evigan served as a guest producer.

Order Songwriter Song Producer Result
1 JT Roach "Somebody to Love" Shane McAnally Winner
2 Madi "Darkest Days" Ester Dean Top 3
3 Tyler James Bellinger "Giving You Up" N/A Eliminated
4 Brigetta "Be Somebody" Jason Evigan Top 3

Notes: OneRepublic's "Somebody to Love" went to #1 on the U.S. iTunes sales charts, two days after the official release.[citation needed]

RatingsEdit

No. Title Air date Timeslot (ET) Rating/share
(18–49)
Viewers
(millions)
DVR
(18–49)
DVR viewers
(millions)
Total
(18–49)
Total viewers
(millions)
1 "John Legend" May 28, 2019 Tuesday 10:00 p.m. 1.1/6 5.51[22] 0.4 1.39 1.5 6.90[23]
2 "will.i.am" June 4, 2019 1.0/6 4.53[24] 0.3 1.19 1.3 5.72[25]
3 "Kelsea Ballerini" June 11, 2019 0.9/5 4.15[26] 0.3 1.16 1.2 5.31[27]
4 "Jonas Brothers" June 18, 2019 0.9/5 4.53[28] 0.4 1.28 1.3 5.79[29]
5 "Meghan Trainor" June 25, 2019 0.9/5 4.27[30] 0.3 1.06 1.2 5.34[31]
6 "Aloe Blacc" July 2, 2019 0.7/4 3.45[32] 0.3 1.02 1.0 4.48[33]
7 "Macklemore" August 14, 2019 Wednesday 9:00 p.m. 0.7/4 3.28[34] 0.2 0.78 0.9 4.06[35]
8 "Old Dominion" August 21, 2019 0.7/4 3.44[36] 0.2 0.75 0.9 4.20[37]
9 "Leona Lewis" August 28, 2019 0.7/4 3.34[38] 0.2 0.76 0.9 4.10[39]
10 "Charlie Puth" September 4, 2019 0.8/5 3.96[40] 0.2 0.67 1.0 4.63[41]
11 "OneRepublic" September 11, 2019 0.8/4 3.68[42] 0.2 0.67 1.0 4.35[43]

Contestants who appeared in other seasons or showsEdit

  • Sam James was a contestant on the third season of The Voice, but was however eliminated in the Knockout Rounds.
  • Josh Logan was a contestant on the fifth season of The Voice, but was however eliminated in the Live Shows. He was also a contestant on the show Rock Star: Supernova.
  • Katelyn Tarver was a contestant on American Juniors. She's also known for her recurring role as Jo Taylor on Big Time Rush.
  • Joel Adams previously competed on X Factor Australia, but was eliminated during the bootcamp round.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Pedersen, Erik (March 14, 2019). "NBC Sets Summer Competition Series 'Songland' & 'Bring The Funny'". Deadline.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Stetson, Nancy (July 3, 2019). "Capturing the creative process in 'Songland'". Fort Myers Florida Weekly. Retrieved 2019-07-17.
  3. ^ Otterson, Joe (9 October 2018). "NBC Greenlights Songwriter Competition Series 'Songland'". Variety. Retrieved 14 October 2018.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i Battan, Carrie. "How "Songland" Tries and Fails to Honor the Songwriter". www.newyorker.com. Retrieved 2019-06-26.
  5. ^ Otterson, Joe (September 10, 2019). "'Songland' Renewed for Season 2 at NBC". Variety. Retrieved September 10, 2019.
  6. ^ Montplasir, Kyle (April 1, 2019). "NBC Announces 'Songland' Celebrity Stars & Sneak Peak!". Talent Recap.
  7. ^ Dibdin, Emma. "Songland: The Full List of Winners and New Songs Released". www.oprahmag.com. Retrieved 2019-06-27.
  8. ^ "Will.i.am Recalls Making 'Where Is The Love?' After 'Songland' Appearance". iHeartRadio. Retrieved 2019-06-19.
  9. ^ "'Songland' Recap: Will.i.am Has a 'Nice' Time Searching For a Black Eyed Peas Single". Billboard. Retrieved 2019-06-19.
  10. ^ "'Songland' Recap: Will.i.am Has a 'Nice' Time Searching For a Black Eyed Peas Single". Billboard. Retrieved 2019-06-19.
  11. ^ a b Whitaker, Sterling. "Kelsea Ballerini Picks 'Better Luck Next Time' on 'Songland'". Taste of Country. Retrieved 2019-06-27.
  12. ^ "Happiness begins: Jonas Brothers give recovering addict Able Heart his big break on 'Songland'". www.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2019-06-27.
  13. ^ "Jonas Brothers' "Songland" Pick "Greenlight" Reaches #1 On US iTunes Sales Chart". Headline Planet. 2019-06-20. Retrieved 2019-06-27.
  14. ^ Fernandez, Celia (2019-06-26). "What to Know About the Writer Behind Meghan Trainor's New Song "Hurt Me"". Oprah Magazine. Retrieved 2019-07-01.
  15. ^ Daw, Robbie (June 26, 2019). "'Songland' Recap: Did Meghan Trainor Just Find Her Next Smash?". www.billboard.com. Retrieved 2019-07-01.
  16. ^ "'Songland': Who is Kyle Williams, the songwriter whose song Aloe Blacc picked to feature in 'Hobbs & Shaw'?". meaww.com. Retrieved 2019-07-04.
  17. ^ "'Songland' Recap: Aloe Blacc Hunts For a 'Hobbs & Shaw' Soundtrack Anthem". Billboard. Retrieved 2019-07-04.
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  21. ^ "Leona Lewis Solo Quiero (Somebody To Love) Chart History". Billboard. Retrieved 2019-09-15.
  22. ^ Welch, Alex (May 30, 2019). "'Songland,' '1969,' and others adjust down: Tuesday final ratings". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved May 30, 2019.
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  24. ^ Welch, Alex (June 5, 2019). "'America's Got Talent,' 'Songland,' everything else unchanged: Tuesday final ratings". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved June 5, 2019.
  25. ^ Pucci, Douglas (June 19, 2019). "Live+7 Weekly Ratings: 'MasterChef Junior' Season Finale Ranks Seventh Among Raw Gains in Adults 18-49". Programming Insider. Retrieved June 19, 2019.
  26. ^ Welch, Alex (June 12, 2019). "'Press Your Luck' adjusts down: Tuesday final ratings". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved June 12, 2019.
  27. ^ Pucci, Douglas (June 26, 2019). "Live+7 Weekly Ratings: Four Reality Competition Series Among Top Five of Raw Adults 18-49 Gainers". Programming Insider. Retrieved June 26, 2019.
  28. ^ Welch, Alex (June 19, 2019). "'America's Got Talent' adjusts up, 'Songland' adjusts down: Tuesday final ratings". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved June 19, 2019.
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  36. ^ Welch, Alex (August 22, 2019). "'America's Got Talent,' 'BH90210,' everything else unchanged: Wednesday final ratings". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved August 22, 2019.
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  39. ^ Pucci, Douglas (September 11, 2019). "Live+7 Weekly Ratings: All Three 'Prank Week' Episodes of 'Big Brother 21' in Top 8 of Raw Adults 18-49 Gainers Among Broadcast Network Telecasts". Programming Insider. Retrieved September 11, 2019.
  40. ^ Rejent, Joseph (September 6, 2019). "'Big Brother' adjusts up, 'SEAL Team' rerun adjusts down: Wednesday final ratings". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved September 6, 2019.
  41. ^ Pucci, Douglas (September 18, 2019). "Live+7 Weekly Ratings: Both 'America's Got Talent' Episodes Led All Telecasts in Raw Viewer Gains". Programming Insider. Retrieved September 18, 2019.
  42. ^ Welch, Alex (September 12, 2019). "'MasterChef' adjusts up: Wednesday final ratings". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved September 13, 2019.
  43. ^ Pucci, Douglas (September 24, 2019). "Live+7 Weekly Ratings: 'BH90210' Season Finale Tops Broadcast Network Telecasts in Adults 18-49 Raw and Percentage Gains". Programming Insider. Retrieved September 24, 2019.

External linksEdit