UK-based singer/songwriter Mabes has been traveling across the pond to Nashville to write and record new music for some time. With the coronavirus pandemic continuing and travel from country to country limited, the songstress has not been able to spend time in Music City, leaving an aching hole in her songwriting heart.
“The connection was there from the very beginning. I felt at home for the first time,” she explained of her first trip to Nashville. “It was as if I already knew the city from a past life and there was magic in the air. There is a general warmth in Nashville that you feel straight away when you get off the plane. You can tell music is in people’s blood, they love it and wear it on their sleeves with so much pride. Not many people I know where I’m from back home are like that!”
Her undying love and admiration for the city and the creative people living there contributed to her highest-streaming song yet, “America.” The track was inspired by a fellow songwriter who met and fell in love with a man from Nashville.
“She had been pretty heartbroken and didn’t know if she’d ever want to love again. But Nashville helped her heal and she fell in love again with an American boy,” explained Mabes. “I thought it incredible that this person and her had met, despite all the people in Nashville and America. And it made me realize that love is stronger than anything, and it’s a miracle when you find your soulmate – and with them, nothing else matters. I just thought, what are the chances of these two people meeting at that exact place at that exact time. Fate is a funny thing and I think fate brought me to Nashville.”
Though her time in Tennessee has been cut back, Mabes remains inspired by the city and has been working away on new music. Her latest is a new song called “Danny” set for release on September 4, but fans can listen to it a day early on Sounds Like Nashville.
“After years of listening to [British folk singer/songwriter] Laura Marling, I wanted to write a song from another person’s perspective and create a character, something Laura does so well,” she explained. “When I was younger, I would see many wars reported on the news. I always wondered how people in the armed forces and their families coped with the reality of the job. So in this case and for this song, the character I’ve invented is Danny, the soldier that left for war and doesn’t come home.”
Check out “Danny” above and read Mabes’ love letter to Nashville below…
It’s been so long since we were last together and there isn’t a day that passes when I’m not reminded of you; that radio song from WSM, biscuits in the Gulch, dancing at the Wildhorse, drinking Jack at the Bluebird. I remember you brushing through my hair as I walked down Broadway, and the downtown views from the Seigenthaler Bridge that took my breath away. From the second we met, you understood me and I’ve never felt more myself. You know me so well, and with each day that goes by I long to live out my dream and see you again.
When I was with you something magical happened, because with you, anything is possible. I was there when two paths collided, two paths that would never have crossed if you hadn’t intervened. How lucky I was there – witnessing two people meeting for the very first time and falling in love at that deli in 12 South. I watched as you healed someone’s heartbreak, someone who may not have loved again if not for you.
Their love story inspired a melody whilst driving past the Grand Ole Opry and in it came about a song I called ‘America.’ It tells the tale of two wandering souls finding one another, despite all of the people in the country – in your city. It’s the story of a miracle, as stumbling into your soulmate is. How strange life can be when you stumble; accidents that don’t feel like accidents, a wrong turn that leads you to fulfilment and a new journey to ‘walk the line’ to.
I didn’t realize then what the song would become; that it would be streamed by millions, turned into a meme or inspire a viral Tik Tok. Moreover, I didn’t realize that it would make listeners feel at home in the way Nashville did for me. When you and I first met, I was working an office 9-5. I’d been full of doubt, unsure that a career as a songwriter could ever unfold. I breathed you in and the magic in your air changed me. You, the songwriters, the community, this song; they gave me the confidence I’d yearned for. ‘America’ is your song, Nashville, I wrote it for you.
Before I knew you I felt afraid to be myself, but you embraced me in your open arms and taught me to see things differently. I had always seen the world as a strange place, somewhere I didn’t quite fit in, but when I stumbled across you, I was home.
And I thought no one could see me
And I was walking for a thousand miles
Out of every state and city
You were the one I was waiting to find
So many others have loved you and now I know why. You still fascinate and inspire me. You influence me for the better. As Johnny said to June “You’re the object of my desire, the number one earthly reason for my existence.”
Until we meet again,