Melanie Meriney: "Lifeboat” was actually a solo write. The track was produced by Joshua Mendez with some co-production by Michael Funk.
What was the process of writing this song?
I always keep notes in my phone if I hear cool phrases or words that I want to try later. I had the word “Lifeboat” in my phone for a while as a potential song title without a clear vision of where exactly I wanted the story to go. I was actually waiting for my cowriter to get there that day and her car had broken down so she said she was going to be an hour late. I kept thinking of and writing down lines that I could pitch her when she got there, but by the time she did, the song had pretty much written itself. We ended up working on something else that day.
Where did the inspiration for the song come from?
The inspiration came primarily from the title idea. I was an English major in college so I’m a nerd for symbols and symbolic language. I tried to think of a scenario where a person could be defined by the qualities of an object. It’s kind of got a double meaning since arguably the characters in the song treat each other as objects.
What were some influences on the sound of "Lifeboat?"
On the sound of the track, I have to give a lot of credit to Josh- I sought him out to collaborate because I know he brings a cool neo-Nashville, slightly L.A. sounding vibe to the table. I like producers I can share the creative process with. The demo that we brought into the studio for “Lifeboat” was probably farthest from where I imagined and wanted it to be, so he really broke it down and built it back up into what it is now. I knew that this track in particular was very vocally-driven, so he showcased the lead vocals while bringing in some really cool harmony effects. We were shooting to stay in the country pop realm while pushing the boundaries just a bit. I think if I had to box it, I would say it’s kind of an edgy Kelsea Ballerini-feel mixed with Kelleigh Bannen.
Do you have a favorite lyrics?
I like how it turns at the end of the second verse when she says “boy, you’re not the only one falling.” I think a lot of songs like to take one side and perspective and stick to it. “Lifeboat” is kind of cool because while we’re prone to roll our eyes at that boy showing at 2 am in the first verse, the narrator admits in the second that she’s also using him. There’s two people at fault here.
There’s a very specific character portrayed in this song, of a person who needs someone to lean on desperately. For you, why is this person so interesting to write about, and how would you describe this type of person?
I think people are generally comfortable with what they know and they’re afraid of change. For someone who has just left a relationship, it can be incredibly easy to have that “go to” person who can give you a temporary reprieve from your emotions instead of having to face them head on and work through them. While this song specifically talks about a hook-up, the basic “need” to lean on someone is relatable to a lot of situations. I won’t say I’m the girl in this song, but I will say that I’ve had to learn to find my inner strength and have the courage to face and fight through things when it would’ve been more comfortable to take the easy way out. I think that demon on the shoulder is within everyone and what’s interesting is whether we decide to listen or not.
This was released as a single earlier this year. Why did you choose to release this song as a single?
Oddly enough, until I spoke with my team, I didn’t have it on my radar for single choice. On the whole EP “Lifeboat” is actually my oldest song, so I think I’ve just sat with it longer than everyone else. When it was suggested though, it made a lot of sense— it’s got that slightly edgy lyric that is indicative of the EP and my style, while still being country radio friendly!
Purchase the song here.