I vividly remember the Tuesday afternoon "Suicidal Heart" was written. One of my biggest musical mentors, Kim Copeland, was coming over for a writing session at my house. I typically write with co-writers in writing rooms/studios on Music Row so it was a different creative vibe right off the bat. The first 45 minutes of "writing" was basically me venting all about my latest "crisis", which at this point, was annoyingly all-consuming. I'd been on & off with the same guy for years, addicted to the drama. And trust me, there was more than enough of it to go around. And there I was once again, standing the eye of the shitstorm and exhausted. Kim asked me, "Why do you keep doing this to yourself?" I replied, "I don't know, I guess my heart is borderline suicidal."
And there it was.
We wrote for a couple of hours, never taking a guitar out of it's case. The melody was an after-thought for this story. We drew on the imagery of what those toxic relationships look like, visions I could clearly see and state given my current situation. The late-night texts. The narcissistic way that they need "saving". Trusting the bullets to someone who's constantly taking shots at you and then shows up groveling on your doorstep. The lyrics to this song (which are included below) are some of my favorite. It reads down like a poem, almost. The melody was me making stuff up on the fly and recording it on my cell phone. And thanks to all the years of demo-singing, I was a master at phrasing this very wordy chorus and never breathing, ha!
We went into the studio and cut a songwriter demo on the song a week later, thinking maybe we could pitch it to be cut by another artist. We tried to track it like a Maroon 5-flavored song. At the time, I thought the song was cool but I didn't know anyone who would or could cut a song with so many words and so little room to breathe. Less than a year later, I was in the studio with my producer Jim "Moose" Brown, going over dozens of demos/voice recordings to pick 10 tunes to record an album. A Motown-inspired album. I didn't think "Suicidal Heart" would fit the project, but I played him our demo anyway. He instantly loved it and said, "I don't know how we're going to 'soul this up' but I know we can try." And that we did.
Weeks later, his studio was filled with musicians that I had never met before (which is definitely a rarity considering I'd been in Nashville for quite awhile at that point). These guys exceeded every vision I had for each and every song, turning my country/pop ideas into a retro, Detroit-style soul record. AND THEN, we upped the ante for "Suicidal Heart" when The Motor City Horns showed up to the studio and laid their magic down. Those horn parts are some of my favorite on the entire album! Add those SOARING background vocals from my soul sister Vickie Carrico and the incomparable Scat Springs and this track was FIRE. THEIR BACKGROUND VOCALS STILL GIVE ME CHILLS!
Unfortunately, my finished record (with "Suicidal Heart" as one of the 12 tracks) ran into several road-blocks in the 18 months that would follow, therefore delaying it's release. Long story short, a lot of big plans were made by a team in LA and unfortunately, those contracts fell through. So I was left with a finished record but no idea where to go/how to release it. So I kept it very close to me...performing the songs out at live shows but never releasing a single song until the timing was right.
Fast forward to the end of 2018.
Lyft. MusicTown Detroit. Amazing opportunities to perform in the Motor City. My debut single, "Sing Me Home" is released with an out-pouring of support, including a lot of love from Detroit's 99.5 WYCD. It's kind of ironic in a way. The record I made with Moose years prior was intended to move me out of the 'country' light and into a more blues/soul direction. And yet, "Sing Me Home" was a big hit with the country music audience and that couldn't be ignored. So I got to thinking...
After the craziness of the holidays slowed down, I tossed around the idea of re-recording "Suicidal Heart" with a more country/acoustic vibe in mind. I'd release the Detroit-inspired version that I'd recorded with Moose first, then follow it up with a "Countrified" rendition a few weeks later. I love Motown/blues/soul - songs and voices that rattle the rafters. But I also love and appreciate country music and it's origins too. Both genres are imperative to my musical story, so why not showcase them both.
So when I went down to Nashville in February 2019, I was able to get some of my favorite dudes together in the studio (most of them have known me since I was 18!) and we created "Suicidal Heart (Countrified)". I produced the track myself, which was wild and left me feeling super empowered as a singer and a songwriter. I completed the vocals and mixing here in Detroit with Josh Ford over at the Sound Shop Studios. It was a labor of love, for sure! Both Nashville and Detroit influences are all over BOTH versions and it truly fills my heart! I'm so grateful that this vision has come to fruition and humbled that you all are listening and supporting the way you are. THANK YOU!
(written by R. Williams/ K. Copeland)
3 AM PHONE VIBRATION NONSTOP
A MESSY SITUATION IF I RESPOND, SO I’M NOT
HOPE MY SILENCE ENDS YOUR CONFUSION
‘CUZ I’M SO OVER BEING YOUR SOLUTION
TALK YOURSELF DOWN OFF THE LEDGE
‘CUZ YOU’RE NOT GETTING BACK IN. MY HEAD
YOU’RE ASKIN ME TO STAND IN THE LINE OF FIRE
AND HAND THE BULLETS TO A LIAR
CUZ YOU DIDN’T QUITE KILL ME THE FIRST TIME
SOMEHOW YOU’VE GOT YOURSELF CONVINCED
I’LL LIFT THE GLASS AND TAKE A SIP
BUT WE BOTH KNOW YOU POISONED THE WINE
NO YOU AIN’T THAT COMPLICATED, THE DECISION AIN’T THAT HARD
AND YOU MUST THINK THAT I STILL HAVE A SUICIDAL HEART
4AM NEW PERSPECTIVE HOLDS STRONG
ENLIGHTENMENT LIKE A SPOTLIGHT COMES ON
I CAN’T UNKNOW WHAT I KNOW ABOUT YOU
I CAN’T UNLEARN ALL I’VE LEARNED WITHOUT YOU
THESE SCARS YOU LEFT ARE FINALLY MY FRIEND
REMINDERS OF THE GIRL I WILL NEVER BE AGAIN
HURT ME ONCE, SHAME ON YOU
HURT ME TWICE, SHAME ON ME
I THINK I’LL QUIT WHILE IM AHEAD
AND CELEBRATE THE FACT THAT I’M FREE