The latest episode of NBC’s Songland features four artists performing songs that they wrote for H.E.R., a Grammy-winning R&B singer/songwriter/guitarist. Ahead of the performances, coach/judge Shane McAnally said that H.E.R. is “the epitome of what this show is about because she would be a songwriter even if she wasn’t having an artist’s career. When people like that come to Songland, it reminds us what we’re all doing here.”
Ahead is a run-down of H.E.R.’s episode, including the winning song and how to download it.
Ahead of the performances, H.E.R. said that what she’s looking for is “something that somebody has written from the heart and something that I know is going to make me feel something. My sound is so many things. It’s definitely emotional. Sometimes it’s electric. It’s R&B at the core, but it’s so many other things.”
The four contestants who presented songs to H.E.R. are:
- Axel Mansoor, Washington D.C., “Scary”
- Milly, San Antonio, Texas, “Safe Place”
- Jocelyn Alice, Calgary, Alberta, Canada, “How Could You Not Know?”
- Raquel Castro, Long Island, New York, “Wrong Places”
The three chosen to advance out of the initial round were Axel, Jocelyn, and Raquel. Axel was assigned to producer Ester Dean to rework his song; Jocelyn was assigned to Shane McAnally, and Raquel was assigned to Ryan Tedder.
The Winning Song
After hearing the three reworked songs, H.E.R. was really torn — she had three great songs to choose from. But in the end, she chose Raquel Castro’s “Wrong Places.”
Castro said of the song, “The first version of Wrong Places was just vocal and guitar, super stripped down. Now we’re adding drums and more bass.”
Castro also said that songwriting just feels like what she’s supposed to be doing with her life.
“I love writing and sharing and telling a story. It’s the only thing that makes me feel whole, honestly. ‘Wrong Places’ is a song that I wrote when I was in this very vulnerable state, so it really did help me to move forward after feeling broken,” said Castro. “I waited years and years and years to be standing here right now. Being here on Songland really gives me that confidence that I think I’ve been in need of for a very, very long time.
“I think this song is insane … Love songs rule the world, they always have,” said Tedder.
“It’s an amazing song,” said H.E.R., adding, “I love the changes you guys made … Ryan and Raquel really killed it. They added the flavor that it needed. They made the words more meaningful and they made sure every line mattered. It was like they took it out of the bedroom. They took the song out of being a really nice, pretty acoustic song, and now it’s like a record. This song is going to be crazy when I get on the mic and do it in the studio.”
Songland airs Mondays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on NBC, following new episodes of The Voice.
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