Songland, NBC’s newest show, returned with another episode last night. Following John Legend’s success with Tebby Burrows’ “We Need Love,” will.i.am is on deck and in search of the next Black Eyed Peas hit.
Will says he’s looking for a song that will “connect people, make old people feel young, and make young people feel important.” He meets four undiscovered songwriters: Josh Logan (Chester, NY); Charisma (Kolkata, India); Adam Friedman (Phoenix, AZ); and Ray Goren (New York, NY).
First up is Josh with his song, “Boxes,” which he says came from his experience working in marketing and how that wasn’t the “right fit” for him. Will and producers, Ester Dean, Ryan Tedder, and Shane McAnally like the song, but the production needs to be tinkered with.
Next up is Charisma with “Invincible,” a self-proclaimed “anthemic” tune that she hopes will fit right in on the Black Eyed Peas’ next album. Will and the producers tell her the melody is strong, but they want her to delve more into her own life and share how being away from her parents in India feels.
Third is Adam Friedman with “Be Nice,” a song with rap and pop influences. Will and the producers like that the song is “hooky” and want to keep it “all about the bass.”
Finally, Ray Goren sings “Oh Lord,” a track he hopes will let people know that they can “get through anything.” Will and the producers admit the song is “powerful,” but suggest that Ray make it sound less preachy.
Having heard each of the songs, Will decides he wants Josh, Adam, and Charisma to advance to the studio round. He also tells Ray that he’d like him to keep “Oh Lord” for himself, but is going to help him re-work the song and will also feature on it.
During the studio round, Charisma is paired with Ryan. Ryan is going to help her song sound “less pop and more Black Eyed Peas.” Will is also going to write a verse for it.
Josh and Shane trade lyric ideas. It’s a bit challenging for Shane since he’s a country songwriter trying to create a Black Eyed Peas hit, but he wants to help Josh make the song something a “crowd will want to sing back.”
Adam and Ester are following the “less is more” approach on “Be Nice” and keeping things “simple.” Will is also tinkering with the song on his own because he’s “inspired.”
When the performance round arrives, Charisma is up first and Ryan accompanies her to sing the rap that Will wrote. The other producers like the mood of the song, and the beat gets them up and dancing.
Next, Josh performs “Boxes.” The song has changed a lot lyrically, and Shane says that he and Josh were still finalizing lyrics an hour prior to the performance round.
Last up is Adam. His song, “Be Nice” has “changed substantially,” but it still feels like the “energy is being sucked out of the verse.” Will starts singing a verse on the spot and says he wants to make the song a collaboration.
Now it’s time for Will to choose the song he wants to record. He says it will be a tough decision since all the songs have “transformed” really well. In the end, Will chooses Adam’s song, “Be Nice.” And just when viewers think the episode is over, Will serves up a twist: he is going to put Josh and Charisma’s songs on the next Black Eyed Peas album as well.
Will says he thought the album was done, but he’s going to cut the other songs from the tracklisting. Adam’s song, “Be Nice” will be the next single.
Adam, Josh, and Charisma are thrilled that all of their songs have been chosen.
Watch the Black Eyed Peas’ music video for “Be Nice” featuring Snoop Dogg.
Tune into Songland again next week and follow along as country singer-songwriter, Kelsea Ballerini searches for her next hit.