Been Waiting (Deluxe Version)

Been Waiting (Deluxe Version)

“This record is my first baby,” Jessica Mauboy tells Apple Music with a smile. “It is literally my heart and soul. I gained access to the world of music by being myself, being courageous, being brave and facing fear, and celebrating that.” The creation of Mauboy’s debut album could have been a fraught affair. She was already a household name in Australia due to placing second on Australian Idol in 2006 and her ensuing stint with Young Divas—the vocal group consisting of former Australian Idol alumni—and the pressure to release a debut that capitalized on that profile had the potential to be overwhelming. “There was not a bar of it,” counters the Darwin-born singer. “A lot of those tools and experiences really got me grounded on exactly what I wanted to achieve in music. I was excited because I knew exactly what I was meant to be doing.” Mauboy’s goal was to fill what she perceived to be a gap in the music industry, that of a First Nations woman singing R&B and soul on the global stage. To bring her vision to life, she collaborated with a slew of national and international producers and songwriters, such as Flo Rida (who guests on “Running Back”); Jonas Jeberg (Panic! At the Disco), who co-wrote and co-produced “Burn”; Craig Hardy (Samantha Mumba, McFly), who co-wrote “Been Waiting” and “Used2Be”; and Audius Mtawarira, who co-wrote and co-produced numerous tracks, including the ode to ’90s dance music that is “To the Floor.” Here, Mauboy revisits some of the key tracks from Been Waiting, the album she began writing as a 16-year-old and released at the age of 19. “Running Back” (feat. Flo Rida) “[Co-producer] Sean Mullins had come up with this kind of call-and-answer sing-along, and we just kept playing around with it. And all of a sudden we ended up getting this whole body of a song about a breakup that just felt so powerful and strong and emotional. Audius and Sean happened to have a connection with Flo, and he really loved the song and wanted to be a part of it. I remember getting a demo of [his vocals] and I had a bit of a cry because I just thought, ‘This is the biggest, craziest opportunity. I don’t know when I’ll ever get this again.’” “Been Waiting” “This song was such a moment for [co-writer Israel Cruz and me] because we wrote it in his living room. I spent pretty much the whole day singing my lungs out and creating such noise in his apartment that we ended up getting a knock at the door, and there were police officers standing there! The older police officer said, ‘We had a phone call, there’s some screaming going on.’ I just said, ‘No, there’s no domestic violence happening. I’m actually a singer, I’m an artist, and I’m writing a song. You’re welcome to come and have a listen!’ I was mortified!” “Burn” “This song spoke so many lengths to me because it was completely different to anything I’d ever listened to or put my vocals to. It was quite sexy. I thought, ‘I don’t know how my parents will feel about this!’ I was so used to singing love songs, I’d been writing a lot of ballads. I’d never heard myself sing this way before. I was really enjoying being able to play with my vocal ability. I was just going with the flow of it all, it was such a time of self-discovery. And I just didn’t feel afraid.” “Empty” “Being away from home was a major thing. I come from a small town and [was] away from my community, from my mum, my family, and family is everything to me. ‘Empty’ was [about] being completely disconnected from who I’m normally with. It’s just so heart- and gut-wrenching and so filled with pain. It’s one of my favorite songs off the record.” “Because” “It was [based on] an experience with a person I was dating at the time. I found out from a really good friend that this person wanted to break up with me. It was like the most deafening experience with love that I’ve ever had. When you’re really young and you’re experiencing love for the first time, you’re so loyal at first, and then all of a sudden you’ve been done wrong. You’re just like, ‘I will never let that happen to me ever again.’ You draw a line in the sand. ‘I’ll be able to see clearer next time.’” “To the Floor” “It still makes me want to move! I remember when I first started working on this song I was really into ’90s dance: La Bouche and Real McCoy. And I remember saying to Audius and Sean, ‘I want to write something that’s kind of dance-floor-ish and almost four to the floor.’ And Audius straight away was like, ‘To the floor.’ And Sean’s like, ‘To the floor!’ And I’m like, ‘Yo, really? Could that be a song?’ And it’s like, yes, it’s partying all night until the break of dawn. To the floor! I was just so happy because I’ve always wanted to create something that was in that world of ’90s dance.” “Time After Time” “I was talking with the label and management about [covering] an iconic song. And I think I had about three or four choices—three were country songs, and then this Cyndi Lauper track. And I go, ‘Oh my gosh, I know this song! Absolutely! Hands down I would cover this.’ I thought, ‘How can I make it me?’ It was all about singing from the heart and singing Cyndi’s lyrics and singing her melody and not trying to go above and beyond—just sing the song. Acknowledging it in the right light and respecting it.” “Back2U” “I’m such a fan of the [McClymont] sisters. I grew up singing country music, and so when I learned of [Brooke McClymont] being so heavily involved in writing the song I was like, ‘I remember seeing her when I was in Tamworth and I was 14 years old.’ It’s everything that I’ve wanted to do: combining pop, soul, R&B, and country. This is a dream song! I just had to put my thing on it vocally, and sing it with such guts and such drive. And so that was my mission for the song. It’s about longing and missing someone. And it’s just about, ‘I will be back soon. Until then, just keep doing you.’”

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