Album: Rita Wilson
Label: Sing It Loud Records
Release date: March 11, 2016
Rita Wilson’s self-titled new album, her second, marks the singer and actress’ debut as a songwriter. Working with a host of the country’s best-selling songwriters and producers, including several Grammy Award winners and nominees, the Mrs. to Tom Hanks taps into the bittersweet moments of her own personal experiences on songs like “Grateful,” “Forgiving Me, Forgiving You,” and “Crying, Crying,” giving the listener a window into the interior emotional life of someone known primarily for the indelible characters she has brought to the screen in It’s Complicated, Sleepless in Seattle, The Good Wife, and Girls.
“At one point in the writing process, I realized that there was a theme emerging from the songs that had to do with different levels of being vulnerable, or weak, or strong, or courageous,” Wilson says. “It seemed that there was something going on there and I tried to not get in the way and see what would come through.”
After the positive critical reception she received for her 2012 debut album AM/FM, an intimate collection of country and soft pop covers of her favorite songs from the ’60s and ’70s, Wilson knew she wanted to continue making music. “I thought, ‘I have to keep doing this,’” she says. “I didn’t know what form it was going to take. I didn’t know how I was going to do it. But with the help of some really amazing people, I just kept putting one foot in front of the other and going down the path, not without fear, for sure, I was terrified, but excited enough to see where it would lead.”
The path led to co-writing sessions in Los Angeles and Nashville with Grammy Award winners/nominees Jessi Alexander (Blake Shelton), Kristian Bush (Sugarland), Nathan Chapman (Taylor Swift), Kara DioGuardi (Carrie Underwood), Lauren Christy (Avril Lavigne), Richard Marx (Keith Urban), and Dan Wilson (Adele); acclaimed songwriters Kelly Archer (Jason Aldean), Darrell Brown (Keith Urban), Blair Daly (Rascal Flatts), Stephan Moccio (The Weeknd), Jon Randall (Sheryl Crow), and Jason Reeves (Colbie Caillat), as well as the producers Ron Aniello (Bruce Springsteen), Mikal Blue (Colbie Caillat), John Shanks (Melissa Etheridge), and Babyface (Whitney Houston), in addition to Chapman, Marx, and Dan Wilson.
“I was very humbled,” Wilson says of working with her veteran collaborators. “It was a learning curve to be able to, for lack of a better expression, find my voice. Writers are artists, so they are open. They want to get to something good. The songwriting process is kind of like falling in love. You meet somebody you’ve never met before. You strip naked emotionally. You have musical intercourse. Then, you leave with a gorgeous song baby.”
The first song to emerge was “Grateful” (co-written with Kara DioGuardi and Jason Reeves and produced by Mikal Blue), which Wilson says is about “realizing that when something less than positive happens in your life, and you think things will never get better, you can look back and see how the dots were connected. That without that unfortunate event, you wouldn’t be in the place you are now, which is usually better than where you were. I found myself looking at some of those experiences that I thought were unshakeable and realizing that if they hadn’t happened, I would have missed out on so many other wonderful things.”
"They're totally reflective of me," she said to Rolling Stone. "They're just my personality and how I listened to music. I listened to music growing up on AM radio and everything was multi-genre and you could listen to everything and I don't feel as people we only listen to one thing. We listen to all sorts of different things. I mean, I'm not going AWOL, having Kanye [West] rap on the album with me or anything like that."
1. Along for the Ride
2. Crying, Crying
3. Talking To Me
4. Forgiving Me Forgiving You
5. Say Yes
6. Strong Tonight
7. What You See Is What You Get
9. In The Dark
10. Stay Low
11. Every Day
12. Girls Night In
13. I'm Guilty
14. Still Gone