Aloe Blacc was the artist on deck during this week’s episode of NBC’s Songland. Blacc wasn’t just looking for a song that he could sing, but also one to appear in the latest Fast & Furious movie, Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs & Shaw.
With Hobbs & Shaw director, David Leitch, in tow Aloe listens to four songs from four undiscovered songwriters: Kyle Williams, Afika, TVTE (pronounced Tate), and Steve Fee.
First up is Kyle with his song, “I’m Just Getting Started.” Aloe, David, and producers, Ryan Tedder, Shane McAnally, and Ester Dean all agree that the song has an undeniable swagger but want to see more of a payoff and a bridge which will tug at the heart more. They say that the song needs to be as edgy as possible.
Next, Afika shares his song, “Chosen.” Aloe, David, and the producers love the title and the song’s nice energy but are looking for more movement throughout it. They also note that such a triumphant and aggressive song can’t be too in the listener’s face and suggest stripping it down some.
TVTE follows Afika and pitches her song, “Call For A Hero.” Aloe, David, and the producers dig the song’s call to action and think it has huge potential. However, they feel that chorus needs a major overhaul and the arrangement should be changed as well.
Finally, Steve presents his song, “Same Blood.” Aloe, David, and the producers praise the song’s great visual and how the lyrics hit home. Their only piece of feedback is to tweak a note that falls off at the end.
Having heard all four songs, it’s now time for Aloe to decide who will move to the studio round. He selects TVTE, Kyle, and Steve.
During the studio round, TVTE and Ester tackle rearranging the pieces of her song. They want “Call For A Hero” to work for the Hobbs & Shaw movie. They also want to move the song more toward Aloe’s vision.
Shane helps Steve dig deeper with “Same Blood.” Steve shares a personal story about how the song came to be and Shane encourages him to maintain the song’s authenticity. They also play with piano and gospel influences since Steve’s musical background is rooted in the church.
Ryan and Kyle focus on getting “I’m Just Getting Started” to sound less cheesy and more urban.
TVTE, Kyle, and Steve are introduced to one of the stars of the Hobbs & Shaw movie, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who wishes them good luck via Face Time as they head into the performance round.
TVTE kicks off the performance round with her new version of “Call For A Hero.” Aloe, David, and the producers like the chorus change up and the new arrangement.
Kyle goes second with “I’m Just Getting Started.” Aloe, David, and the producers praise the more urban shift in the song and how the lyrics give off more swag.
Finally, Steve closes out the performance round with “Same Blood.” Aloe, David, and the producers like that the chorus tells more of a story now and are touched by the inspiration behind the song when he shares what drove him to write it.
Having heard each of the newly updated songs, Aloe now has to decide which he will choose to record and have appear in the Hobbs & Shaw movie. He picks Kyle’s “I’m Just Getting Started.”
Listen to Aloe’s version of the song on YouTube.
Songland will not return with a new episode until August 14 when it moves to its new night and time, Wednesdays at 9pm on NBC.