American country music group Lady Antebellum picked the song “Champagne Night” by songwriter Madeline Merlo as their Songland Selection.
Lady Antebellum is composed of lead and background vocalist Hillary Scott, Charles Kelley, and Dave Haywood. All of the group members were impressed by Madeline Merlo’s song and sang impromptu with the tweaks they think will be good for the composition.
After hearing Merlo’s song, Hillary said it “feels so in the fiber” of who she is as an artist, as a female country singer. And that gives her excitement how the group can tweak it lyrically “to be more us.” Dave commented the groove is a killer and said they’re always looking for these kinds of songs, like a show opener. He also said the lyrics are so funky.
Songland producers and judges Ester Dean, Ryan Tedder and Shane Mcanally also loved the song the first time Merlo performed it on Songland.
Ester Dean said she loved the melody. Shane said the lyrics should be more than just “I’ll drink to that” since this is a common thread in country songs.
Charles Kelly of Lady Antebellum suggested the line, “lookin’ like a champagne night.” From there, Lady Antebellum and the Songland producers started to jam with Merlo’s song, and the composer almost cried.
Episode 1: April 13, 2020
Songwriter: Madeline Merlo
Song: “I’ll Drink to That” (retitled “Champagne Night”)
Producer: Shane McAnally
Watch Songland songwriter Madeline Merlo as she sings the original song “I’ll Drink to That.”
Madeline Merlo’s song was eventually chosen as the winner for Episode 1 of Songland Season 2. Originally titled, “I’ll Drink to That”, it was retitled to “Champagne Night“. Shane McAnally produced the tweaked version and it sounded even better.
Here’s Merlo’s song “Champagne Night” as produced by Shane.
And finally, Lady Antebellum recently released their version of Merlo’s winning song “Champagne Night”.
Madeline Merlo (age 26) is no newcomer in the music business. She’s a Canadian country music singer-songwriter who received the “Rising Star” award from the Canadian Country Music Association in 2015. Her debut single “Sinking Like a Stone” peaked at number 32 on the Billboard Canada Country chart while her single “Honey Jack” became a national hit across Canada.
“Songland” is a groundbreaking songwriting competition series that serves as a destination for music’s biggest stars to find their next hit. Undiscovered songwriters are put center stage as they pitch their original creations to top recording artists and chart-topping music producers in the hopes of creating the artists’ next big hits.
Songland premiered in May 2019 on NBC. On September 10, 2019, NBC renewed the series for a second season, which premiered on April 13, 2020.
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