Songland Recap: Songwriters Help Aloe Blacc with ‘Hobbs and Shaw’ Soundtrack

The movie will be taken to a whole new level with this soundtrack!

Songland Recap: Songwriters Help Aloe Blacc with ‘Hobbs and Shaw’ Soundtrack
SONGLAND -- "Aloe Blacc/Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw" -- Pictured: (l-r) Shane McAnally, Ryan Tedder, Ester Dean, Aloe Blacc, David Leitch, Director of Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw -- (Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC)

The aspiring professional songwriters on the July 2 episode of NBC’s Songland were facing a different challenge this week than the previous week’s contestants. Not only were these rising creatives composing a tune to be recorded by Aloe Blacc, but that same song would also be included on the soundtrack for the new movie, Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw.

With songwriter producers Ester Dean, Shane McAnally, and Ryan Tedder on the set, along with Aloe and filmmaker David Lietch, this night of original music was different from any prior episode and the jam sessions between all of the creatives hit new levels.

And that’s becoming a trend for Songland.

First up was Kyle Williams of Wilburton, Oklahoma whose original composition, “I’m Just Getting Started” had a positive message and, as David pointed out, a dangerous “swagger.” While Aloe felt that the song needed a bridge to further develop the story, the songwriting pros also thought enhancing the arrangement and the second verse could also accomplish that goal. But Ester summed it up: “What’s really important is getting to the next level.”

Brooklyn, New York’s Afika was the second writer to take the stage. His song, “Chosen,” was presented with a more straightforward rap delivery, but Ester felt he should sing it instead of rap it. However, Shane told him, “Those lyrics are awesome in whatever way you put them.” Ryan even described the production and lyric as “triumphant.”

TVTE (pronounced “Tate”) went next with her anthemic “Call For a Hero” and the Wilmington, Delaware native couldn’t have received more support from the pros. “It sounds like something you should have heard before, but you haven’t,” Shane told her. David, too, thought the song required little work, telling her, “It’s right on point, it’s right on theme, it’s a call to action.”

When Steve Fee of Franklin, Tennessee took the stage, he also took the vibe in a bit of a different direction. His song, “Same Blood,” was more rock than his predecessors, but after listening, Ester suggested he could even go in a more soulful direction. David, who was overwhelmed by the process he was watching said it was perfect for both the Fast & Furious franchise and the Hobbs and Shaw world.

Following the initial round, Aloe selected TVTE’s “Call For a Hero,” Kyle’s “I’m Just Getting Started” and Steve’s “Same Blood” to continue to the final round. He also revealed that he was looking for a song that is inspirational, aspirational and motivational to record for the film.

Shane, who is beloved by Nashville’s songwriting community, felt there was something more personal in Steve’s performance of “Same Blood.” He was correct. Steve explained that in 2010, a friend called and told him about a single mom with a five-year-old son whose favorite song was composed by the writer. The little boy, Creed, was also battling cancer. Steve went to the hospital to visit his young fan and meet his mom, and the two hit it off and began a relationship. Unfortunately, Creed did not win his battle, however, Steve and Creed’s mother have been married for five years.

Meanwhile, Ryan and Kyle got to work on “I’m Just Getting Started.” The goal for Ryan was to give it a more urban feel and when they finished, Kyle said, “The song has a more modern flair now, so it also has more swag to it.”

In another space, Ester and TVTE worked on rearranging “Call For a Hero” to further build its already epic stance. And while some songwriters may resist their work being changed, TVTE said, “Ester is incredible and I’d be willing to change anything.”

Before the emerging artists returned to the stage to perform their revised work, actor Dwayne Johnson called them to let them know how important their contribution was to the filmmaking process and end results.

TVTE returned first to present her rewrite of “Call For a Hero” and received positive feedback. “I love the arrangement and I loved the way you flipped ‘we’ve got work to do,” Aloe told her with Shane adding, “You have such a bright future.”

Following Kyle’s performance of “I’m Just Getting Started,” Ryan explained, “We shifted a little bit more urban and spent a lot of time on these lyric to make whoever sings this feel swag.”

Steve, too, received rave reviews from Aloe, who complimented his strong lyric, and David who said, “You made so much more of a story out of the chorus.”

With final performances complete, the choice of just one song was difficult for Aloe, but in the end, he selected Kyle and Ryan’s “I’m Just Getting Started.” And, actually, it was pretty perfect since this is the first film in a new chapter of the Fast & Furious franchise.

Aloe’s recording of “I’m Just Getting Started” is available now and will be part of Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw, which hits theaters in August.