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Kären McCormick Gets Back to the Basics of Romance in ‘Retro’

Check out the premiere of this open-hearted throwback.

Written by Chris Parton
Kären McCormick Gets Back to the Basics of Romance in ‘Retro’
Kären McCormick; Photo credit: Alex Berger

Kären McCormick gets back to a simple kind of country romance in her new single, “Retro,” premiering on Sounds Like Nashville today (July 30).

Born in Brazzaville, Congo and raised in Washington state, the country newcomer brings fresh perspective to a classic ideal in “Retro.” All about escaping the trappings of modern dating and embracing a timeless sense of attraction, its a lighthearted romp with an almost-mysterious air of sensuality to it. Pairing modern samples with a smoky, sultry vocal reminiscent of Shania Twain, McCormick co-wrote the track with Dana Marie Rogers and Taylor Hughes, and it was produced by Caleb Lovely.

“It was my first time writing with Dana, and I remember saying, ‘I just want to tell a happy story,'” McCormick tells SLN. “She had the title ‘Retro’ in her notes, and something clicked. There was something about the word that brought me a sense of joy, and I knew if we played our cards right — the nostalgia, the simplicity and the lyrics of the song would bring the listeners that nostalgic joy as well.”

“Let’s go retro oh oh, ake it slow oh oh / And I like the way we’re movin,’ Fifties kinda grooving’ / Let’s go retro oh, Throw away our phones / Yeah, we’ll do it old school, So cool, let’s go, retro,” goes the back-to-basics chorus.

Calling it the first instance of finding the country-pop sound she was looking for, McCormick eventually began following the track’s “exhilarating” energy without holding back — and even named her upcoming EP Retro in its honor. That project is expected this fall, and it follows a steady stream of accomplishments for the young singer-songwriter. After arriving in Nashville in 2018, McCormick released her debut single “We Were on Fire” that same year. Since then she’s toured with Kelsea Ballerini and Walker Hayes, and dropped the singles “Dancing With Him Tonight” and “Heartbroken Girls” as well.

“What made me fall in love with country music was the storytelling,” she says. “‘Retro’ tells the story of being carefree, in love and yearning to get back to the basics of what brought you happiness rather than getting caught up with all the outside distractions that can set back a relationship. It’s simple and it’s fun. It was an absolute blast to write. It’s fun to sing, and I hope the listeners have fun listening to it.”