NBC’s sleeper hit of 2019 is back this week when Songland season two premieres Monday, April 13 at 10 p.m. ET/PT following an all-new episode of The Voice. Here’s what you need to know about the judges, guest artists, and songwriters featured in the second season.
Ester Dean: This Grammy-nominated songwriter has produced music for Rihanna, Katy Perry, and Nicki Minaj, plus she has starred in the Pitch Perfect film franchise.
Shane McAnally: This three-time Grammy-winning songwriter is a two-time Academy of Country Music songwriter of the year and has over 40 No. 1 country records. He has produced music for Kacey Musgraves, Kelly Clarkson, and Sam Hunt.
Ryan Tedder: This lead singer of OneRepublic is a four-time Grammy Award-winning songwriter. He has produced music for Adele, Taylor Swift, Beyonce, and the Jonas Brothers.
For season two, the guest artists are Lady Antebellum, Boyz II Men, Florida Georgia Line, Luis Fonsi, H.E.R., Martina McBride, Julia Michaels, Ben Platt, Bebe Rexha and Usher.
As fun as it is for Songland to get such big names, it is a mutually beneficial relationship. The season one artists — John Legend, Will.i.am, Kelsea Ballerini, the Jonas Brothers, Meghan Trainor, Aloe Blacc, Macklemore, Old Dominion, Leona Lewis, Charlie Puth, and OneRepublic — collectively scored over 200 million digital downloads of their songs during the first season and many of them hit No. 1 on an iTunes chart.
“Greenlight” by Jonas Brothers hit No. 1 on the iTunes Overall Charts
“Better Luck Next Time” by Kelsea Ballerini hit No. 1 on the iTunes Pop Chart and No. 2 on the iTunes Overall Charts
“Be Nice” by Black Eyed Peas ranked No. 1 on the iTunes Rock Charts
“Shadow” by Macklemore (ft. IRO) ranked No. 1 on the iTunes Hip-Hop/Rap Chart
“Solo Quiero (Somebody to Love)” by Leona Lewis, Cali y El Dandee and Juan Magan reached No. 1 on the iTunes Latino chart
“We Need Love” by John Legend ranked No. 1 on the iTunes R&B chart
Each week, four songwriters perform an original song for the three producers and that episode’s guest artist. Three are chosen to be reworked with the producers’ help and them the final versions are performed for the guest artists, with one song selected as the winner. The winning song will usually be released by the guest artist, though in one case in season one, Charlie Puth chose not to release the winning song and instead said songwriter Zach Sorgen should release it.
The season two premiere episode features songwriters Tim Halperin, whom viewers might remember from season 10 of American Idol, Canadian country singer Madeline Merlo, singer/songwriter Steven Battey, and singer/songwriter Ryan Innes, who was a member of Usher’s team on The Voice season four but was eliminated in the Knockout Round.
The preview for season two features H.E.R. saying, “What makes a great song? Something that’s unforgettable. Songland is the place to find these records.”
“What this show is about is showcasing the art of collaboration and the art of songwriting,” says Tedder.
It is fascinating to watch a song go through the brainstorming and workshopping steps. It is also really interesting to hear what different artists are looking for in what songs they choose.
Songland airs Mondays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.