“It’s shocking how much time into one song was put
from so many different people.”
“A year of work, 15 different vocalists,
everyone getting the song to sound as good
as everyone knew it could be.”
“Hey. How's it going?”
“I know we meant all good intentions.
Yeah. I feel like that's my quota of singing for the day.
I’m so bad at singing in front of people.”
So do you remember the first session
that you guys had where you worked on “The Middle”?
“The day before the session, we were kind of just going through ideas.
And there was this sound.”
“We were kind of like, you know, this feels really special.
Let’s save it for tomorrow with Sarah.”
“I’m this guy.
I sit in the back and I'm like, ‘Cool.’ ”
“Is she on Instagram? Is she on Twitter?
Or is she writing? But she’s writing.
She actually is.”
“I only really put the voice memo on
if I think I’m getting something good.”
“She just wrote for 10 minutes and she’s like:
‘I’m going to go in the booth and let me sing it.
Let me know what you guys think.’
That was literally the first thing we heard.”
“All three of us literally just screamed with excitement.”
And when you heard that,
I mean, it sounds crass, but, like, do you see dollar signs?
“I mean, it’s hard sometimes in the room,
you write songs so much,
but it definitely felt special.”
“So we get sent a lot of demos.
But there’s a few writers where we really love basically
everything they do.
And Sarah’s one of them.
We were instantly, like,
‘We’re definitely going to try a version of this.’ ”
“We are, like, obsessed with these, like, cinematic sound samples
that we have.”
“Yeah, that’s like a medieval ax whipping noise.”
“Everyone watches ‘Game of Thrones,’ or whatever.
But you never hear it in songs.”
“We had something that we like, but it
wasn’t, like, absolutely perfect.”
“So they played it for me and were like, ‘What do you think?’
I felt if done right
this could be huge smash.
So we start working on it together,
and everybody started loving it.
Let’s just find a vocalist.
Which is something that ended up taking,
as you know, quite a long time.”
“It’s not very often that
that many high-level artists cut a song.”
“I’m looking for somebody to sing it with the same intention
as Sarah sang it.
But I’m looking for somebody to do it better.”
“There’s been months where we, like, almost gave up
because nobody can sing it properly.”
“He kept cutting vocals and comping and flying
to go see the artists.
And it’s just, like, so grateful that he didn’t give up.”
“I didn’t really know about all the drama
of finding a vocalist.”
“I had never heard her music
until I heard her demo.
So I was like, ‘Who is Maren Morris?’ ”
“She sounds really good.”
“The rhythm is so interesting. ‘Looking at you I can't lie.’
It’s like walking up stairs.”
“She was in Nashville.
So I flew in and had to fly out that same night.”
“I recommended, like, a hot chicken place
that he could check out.”
“She sounds the most like Sarah of anybody
because she has this rasp that Sarah has.”
“We had the final product, which I sent to everybody,
and I’ve never had a song where everybody
felt, like, it was perfect.”
It’s that time again.
I wanted to show you a preview to my brand-new song.
Check it out.”
All right. Thank you, guys.”
“I saw, like, the name come up in my car, like, before it started playing.
And then was like: ‘Oh my God! Oh my God!’ ”
“ ‘The Middle’ has been like the fastest-rising song for me
I think I’ve ever had.”
“See everyone just start to scream and shout along with it.
It looks like an ’80s concert.”
“This seems crazy.
Like, bits of it were made in my small apartment.”
“After it came out,
I went to New York for the Grammys,
and at the afterparty I saw her, like, walk past.
And I was, like, never — it’s never in me to go up to anyone ever,
but I’m, like, ‘I feel like I’m an idiot if I don’t.’ ”
“And this little girl stopped me.
I hate calling her, like, a little girl.
She’s 23 years old.”
“I was like, ‘I’m so sorry to annoy you.’ ”
“In her sweet Australian accent
she’s, like, ‘I’m Sarah, I wrote 'The Middle. ’ ”
“And she was, like: ‘Wait.
You’re, you’re the girl in the demo!’
And I was, like, ‘Yeah, that's me!’ ”