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  2. Tonight, Usher is joining Songland to find a new song. He typically looks for something versatile and it has to take people on a journey. Ryan asks what he might be looking for and Usher says you have to leave space to make magic happen. He wants something that comes from three different perspectives to create something people can grow from and feel something from. Our first writer is Miranda Glory from New York, NY. Her song is called Salty and it’s about the freedom you get when you get over someone. She introduces herself and performs it for the producers and Usher. Ester says this is a girls song and it’s for a guy and girls speak differently than a guy would. Usher agrees and doesn’t think he would say that. Ryan says he would write a completely new hook. Ester tries a different beat and Usher wants to come over too. They freestyle a bit and he changes a line and he says it switches the direction of the song. The next writer in is Ryan Cam from Leesburg, VA. His song is called Staying Over and it’s about a relationship he had but she was moving and he was long distance. He steps in and introduces himself and he performs his song. Ester wants to know where the hook is and Ryan says the chorus didn’t seem like the chorus. Ester wants to know how to make the song more rap for Usher. Ryan says you need Swag for Usher. Next we have David Wade and he’s from Newark, NJ. His song is called Horse ‘N Carriage and it’s a love song. He introduces himself to the producers and performs his original song for Usher. Shane says this song could be bigger than R&B and it needs to be a little more universal. Ester wants to take some of the production away and hear it stripped down and simple. The final writer to pitch their original song is Fatherdude and he’s from Long Island, Ny. His song is called Billions and it’s about the improbability of finding the right relationship. Shane says that was awesome and Ester liked the D’Angelo falsetto and she wants to hear it again. Usher says it felt like a pop record and then went to a R&B style. Usher says he’s all about new ideas and concepts and collaboration. Miranda is brought in first and he thinks what has been shared with her will help and she will be moving on to work with a producer, along with Ryan and David. Fatherdude is not moving on because Usher said the song doesn’t fit with him right now, but he will move up. Miranda is working with Ryan. Ryan says her melodies were fire, but Salty isn’t going to work for Usher. They just need to re-approach the lyrics. David is working with Shane and Shane says the song is so sexy and they are talking with Usher. Usher says it can be a global song. Shane says they are going to edit and take the best parts and he wants to give him something to sing. Usher talks with Ester and Ryan and they are working on lyrics and story structure and the production to make it more R&B. Ryan with Miranda says they are doing surgery on the track. Usher meets with Miranda and Ryan and he tells them he wishes they started the record simple and sparse and then let it crescendo. Shane and David are talking about the lyrics and the chorus. Shane says they need a few things a listener can repeat and dance to. David says the song was originally more urban, but Usher wanted something to feel more international and Shane made it a crossover record. Ryan worked out some lyrics for Ester and she thinks they have a better flow. Ester changed the production to make it feel more like Usher. David is back in first to re-pitch the original song he and Shane worked on. They have changed the name of the song to Personal. Usher says he feel all of the improvements and the changes that made it significant to who he is was dope. Miranda is in next to re-pitch the song her and Ryan worked on. Ryan is going to join Miranda on stage and they have changed the name of the song to No Cap (Missing You). Usher says he’s really happy and that doesn’t happen often to be happy hearing a sad song. Ryan is in last to re-pitch the song he and Ester worked on. They changed the name of the song to California. Usher says the song feels relevant and super cool and it could be on the radio right now. Usher says this is what music making and creativity is about. He gets to pick one song to record and the song he is going to pick is…California. Usher says he’s looking forward to it.
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  23. Tonight, Ben Platt joins Songland. Ryan says he’s a triple threat because he sings, dances, and acts. The first time Shane seen him was in Pitch Perfect with Ester. Ester says he’s looking to put out a pop leaning album. He’s an Oscar away from an EGOT and he’s 26. Ben says he’s such a big fan of the show. Ben is looking for stuff that feels specific to him and he wants to go a little more into the pop lane. The first writer in is David Davis from Wheaton, IL. His song is called Everything it Took to Get to You. Ben says the lyrics resonated him with him. Ryan says some of the lyrics are incredible. Ryan says he veered off from the melody, but there wasn’t a good reason to do that. Ryan sings it and adjusts it and Ester says it’s simple, but it keeps the melody intact. Ben says the first two lines of the chorus are out of this world. Shane says he doesn’t even need a chorus. Ben suggests changing it to Everything I Did to Get to You and they can list those things. The next writer in is Kylie Rothfield from Danville, CA and her song is called Lonely. Ben wouldn’t like it to be a little vibier. Ryan says you could get through the chorus without a lot of production. Shane asks Kylie if they need all the questions as the lyrics? Ryan suggests a lyric change to flip it. Shane thinks the second stanza could be about New York City, with the first verse being set in Los Angeles. Next in is Caroline Kole from Clearwater, FL and her song is called Fool’s Gold. Shane was so impressed with her phrasing. Ryan says the ultimate goal is to lead up to the payoff because Fool’s Gold comes out of nowhere. Shane wants to know who she’s talking to in the song because it feels like a relationship song. Ryan says what if the Fool’s Gold is the relationship. Shane says it could just all lead to a bigger setup. Ryan thinks the song goes to Broadway so he wants to change some of the melody and bring it down a bit. The final writer in is Anna Hamilton from Bucyrus, KS and her song is called Deathbed. Ben loves the sentiment of wanting to leave behind good. Ryan says it’s an incredible concept, but you can’t land on death bed. Shane suggests when I draw my last breath, I hope there’s only love left. Ben says he’s impressed by all four song writers. He brings in David and he’s going to work with a producer, along with Kylie and Caroline. Anna is brought in and Ben says he doesn’t think this is going to be the song for him because he’s looking for something different. Kylie is working with Ester on Lonely. Ben is hoping for some classic R&B and fine tuning the lyrics. Kylie and Ester start working on the lyrics. Shane is working with Caroline on Fool’s Gold and Ben can’t wait to hear them include the rainbow in the song. Shane says the melodies are stunning, but lyrically they need to get it worked out. He wants to make sure the lyrics support the melody. Ryan is working with David and Ben wants to hear the lyric changes while maintaining the soulful melody. Ryan wants to use the lyric Everything I Did to Get to You because it makes it more specific. David says it feels like the purpose of the song is a lot clearer. Ryan wants to use a choir. Ester wants to figure out how Kylie can break out into a chorus. Shane says when you have a melody that’s so intact, you don’t want to mess with it. Caroline says the new theme of the lyrics are from a relationship stand point. She wants to build a space for Ben to do some runs. David is at the piano and singing for Ryan. Ryan is working on the tempo and the syncopation. Kylie is in to re-pitch the song she and Ester worked on and they have changed the title from Lonely to Ghosts. Shane says Kylie’s tone is out of this world. Ben says the song feels so much more introspective and heartbreaking and haunting. He thinks it’s so gorgeous. He says she’s really special. David is in next to re-pitch the song he and Ryan worked on. Ben says he loves all the lyric changes the most. He loved the production of the gospel feeling, but the story is so clear to him. He says the chorus lands in such a different way and it’s amazing. Caroline is in last to re-pitch the song she and Shane worked on. Ben says with the new lyrics, the beginning went to one specific relationship. He says she hit the bullseye. It was beautiful. Ryan says some of the lyrics were a masterclass. Ben says he’s only been a song writer for the last couple of years and he’s very new. He says they are all so gifted and he’d be honored to sing any of the songs. He sang each of them and the song that’s going to work for him right now is…Everything It Took to Get to You. Ben says it’s amazing and he feels so lucky. Ben says Ryan brought it to the finish line.
  24. Tonight, Bebe Rexha joins Songland and she’s looking for a song for the Tokyo Olympic games. (This episode was recorded before the COVID-19 pandemic) Bebe says a song that would be perfect would be high energy and make you feel like you do anything. Bebe says the Olympics is massive. The first writer in is Greg Scott from Chico, CA. His song is called Miracle and it’s about working hard and perseverance and never giving up. Bebe says the chorus is an A+. Shane says one of the problems with the song is the verse didn’t feel current. Bebe says the melody is everything and she’d scratch that and start fresh. Bebe and Ryan freestyle and sing some ideas. Next in is Alyssa Newton from Las Cruces, NM and her song is called Made for Something. Bebe loves the sentiment of the song, but if she were in the Olympics right now, what would you want to listen to. She would want more and hyped up. Shane pitches something about being Made for This and Bebe likes that. Ester says she felt like the music made it sound too happy and sweet. Next in is Anna Graceman and she’s from Juneau, AK and her song is called Gold. Bebe says the hook didn’t knock her in the face. Shane says it feels like it could get bigger for what they’re talking about. Ryan says she has to arrive at gold differently. Ester says they definitely need to work on lyrics because there is not a rise and they need to bring some energy to it. She wants to hear the song a little grimier and Ryan adds a beat by pounding on his keyboard. Bebe says the song has a lot of potential. The last writer in is Josh Vida from Covina, CA and his song is called Crazy Enough. Bebe says the song is actually really dope. Ryan likes the melody. Shane says he doesn’t think the lines sound anthemic, but it’s universal. Bebe thinks the tempo needs to be a bit quicker. Bebe says she’s always about the feel of the song and as long as the melody is good, you can work everything else around it. Bebe brings Greg in first and he is going to move on and work with a producer, along with Anna and Josh. Alyssa is brought in and Bebe says that her saying the song doesn’t feel right for her doesn’t mean it’s not right for someone else. She’s an incredible songwriter and she should keep going. Shane is working with Anna and he wants to make the song grittier. Shane thinks the hook should be bones and she can switch it to where it’s in a positive light. Anna says they definitely need to nail the hook and she wants Bebe to connect with it. Shane says they’re using the same chord progression but adding percussion over it to give it a new life. Josh is working with Ester and she wants to give him what the song needs. She says this song doesn’t match the Olympics and she wants to pump up the song. She wants to take out all the negative lyrics. Greg is working with Ryan and he tells Greg that his chorus resonated with Bebe. Ryan heard the guitar riff carrying the verse. Greg says the changes right off the bat is adding simpler melodies so the chorus shines. Shane and Anna are working on a few lyric changes. Shane says they need to carve away at the lyrics so they are each there to tell a story. Shane says to be on the spot and come up with a melody is great. Josh says the story of the song has changed completely. He’s hoping the production will tie everything together. Ester says they need to make a vibe for Bebe. Ryan says he knows Bebe well and she’s going to care about the track making her feel cool and raw and emotive. He’s changing the production on the track completely. He thinks this song works perfectly for the Tokyo games. Anna is in first to re-pitch the song she and Shane worked on. They have changed the title of the song from Gold to Bones. Ryan says that melody is great and Bebe says it’s incredible. Bebe says that beat made her feel like she could go faster and believe in herself. Bebe says Ryan is getting nervous and Ryan says he should have got a choir. Josh is in next to re-pitch the song he and Ester worked on. They changed the title from Crazy Enough to Sideline. Ester has brought in Coco to perform the song and Josh sings back-up vocals. Bebe says that sounded current and fresh. Bebe says that sounded incredible. Greg is in to re-pitch the song he worked on with Ryan and Ryan has brought out a contestant from Season 1, Sam DeRosa, to perform Miracle. Bebe says that chorus is ridiculous, and she loved the instrumental drop. Bebe has a thought that she calls a mind twister. She asks the beat from Miracle and asks for the lyrics from Shane’s song. Bebe wants to potentially mix the lyrics of Anna and Shane’s song to lead to the chorus of Greg and Ryan’s song Miracle. Bebe brings the writers back in and thanks them for sharing their talent. She says no one saw this coming, this has never happened on the show before. She has decided there will be two winners tonight. She says it kind of hit her listening to the songs that the lyrics would work with the hook of the other song. The two songs she’s going to combine is Bones and Miracle. Bebe says it was too hard to pick between them and she absolutely loved the verse on Bones and she couldn’t give up on the hook of Miracle because it’s catchy and powerful.
  25. Tonight, Boyz II Men joins Songland and Ryan, Ester, and Shane reminisce on their experiences with Boyz II Men. Nathan Morris, Wanya Morris, and Shawn Stockman came to Songland to find a song that’s memorable. They want to find something more contemporary and modern day. They are at a point in their careers where they want to help the next generation along. Our first writer is Zak Waters from Los Angeles, CA. His song is called Bad Things and he thinks the song will match melodically and harmonically for Boyz II Men. He introduces himself and performs for them. Shawn says they should space out the verses. Wanya prefers simple wording. Ryan suggests him not to get so neo-soul funk. Our next writers in are Juan and Lisa Winans from Washington D.C. Their song is called Maybe. They step in and introduce themselves and Lisa performs their song. Shane wants to talk about what the song means to them and he thinks there is a message in it that means something different to them. Ester wants to know why Lisa sang that song instead of Juan and he says because of the key they have it in. Ester asks him to sing it and he does. Wanya says that changed the dynamic. Nathan liked the top of the song and Shawn says Babyface is a master at creating a story and setting you up for a chorus, but he gives a clear understanding what the song is about. Shane and Ryan freestyle a bit and change a bit of the wording. Nathan says music is the tie that bonds. The next writer in is Charles Infamous from Lancaster, PA. His song is called Jukebox. He introduces himself and performs his original song. Shane says the melody in the verse would stick with him all day. Wanya says that could be the verse and there could be a bigger melody for the hook. Ryan freestyles a little and Shawn asks for a different tempo. Ester says maybe the song shouldn’t be Jukebox, but maybe 20/20. Nathan says the melody is groovy. The last writer in to pitch their song is Chrislee from Essex Fells, NJ and his song is called Love Struck. Wanya says they should change the pre-chorus to a lighter melody. Shane says there are some things convoluted in the lyric. Ryan would like to simplify the chorus. Wanya says they heard four incredible songs and it’s going to be tough. Shawn says they felt like they were amongst their people. Zak comes in and he’s going to the studio to work with a producer, along with Chrislee and Juan and Lisa. Charles is brought in and Nathan says they like the song, but he doesn’t think there is enough time to get it to where it needs to be for them. Chrislee is working with Ester and Wanya says he thought this song was the closest to complete and the second verse needs to explain what it was about her that made him feel like he had to have her. Ester says they need to refine some of the lyrics. Juan and Lisa are working with Shane. Shane says they have to make sure the story is clear in the song. Shane says Juan and Lisa are open and ready to tell their story. Zak is working with Ryan and Ryan says this is a tricky one. His fear for the song is that it will be too on the nose. He wants to change the song to pop, but not make it cheesy. Ryan says Boyz II Men have been around 30 years and they need something new, not something that sounds like things they’ve done before. Shawn says the hook needs to feel real because that’s how they’ll get people to relate to it. Ester and Chrislee are working and she says the second hook gets more harmonies and third hook goes up. Chrislee says working with Ester is amazing and they working on background vocals to make the track a Boyz II Men record. Ryan adds some drums to Zak and they tried to make it feel more modern. Zak says it sounds more like a radio song now. Zak likes the way that it bounces. Ryan says they’ll be surprised because it’s so different, but now it depends on if they like it. Shane thinks Juan and Lisa should sing together. Shane says the song had a bit of a dated feel, but it’s more relatable now. Chrislee is the first one back in to re-pitch the song he and Ester worked on. Nathan says he liked the harmony and they left space in there. Shawn says that sounded good. Juan and Lisa are in to re-pitch the song they and Shane worked on. They have renamed the song What If It’s Love. Wanya loves how they dived into the lyrical change and it hit and felt relatable. Shawn says they left room to add themselves into the song. Zak is in to re-pitch the song he and Ryan worked on. Zak says the song has changed a lot and it’s very current. Nathan says you can feel how it’s grown. Shawn says it’s a vibe and since the beat was so punchy, the lyrics had to be just as punchy. Wanya says they all have a future and they are great at what they do. He says all the songs were extremely great and they all took a major turn and became what they never expected. Shawn thanks them for that because he knows songs are like babies and he thanks them for trusting in them. Wanya says they can only choose one. He says this is the part that sucks. The song they picked to record…is Love Struck by Chrislee. Nathan says you know those informercials where they say wait, there’s more! But wait, there IS more. They love all the songs and so they are going to record them all. Nathan says if you know anything about the business is good songs are hard to come by and they all just worked for them. Wanya says it was an opportunity to have three songs by three of the best writers in the game and Shawn says and they can be greedy.
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