“My favourite thing to do is perform,” says Brian McFadden. The songwriter knows the litmus test for any classic track is how it sounds when it’s stripped back to the bare bones, which explains his decision to drop the electro-pop finery of his third album, Wall of Soundz, for a more organic approach. ‘Wrap My Arms’, the first single from album number four, sees a return to honest, acoustic-based songwriting.
While Wall of Soundz allowed McFadden to prove his mettle with a bold new sound, and bore a number one platinum single in ‘Just Say So’, when it came to performing live, he deeply missed the opportunity to sit down with an acoustic guitar and perform intimate shows. “It’s a lot of fun making that electro-pop music, but it’s really just for radio,” he points out.
‘Wrap My Arms’ is a haunting track that will stand the test of time and shows off McFadden’s vocal range to its fullest. It possesses an evocative beauty, yet makes its mark with its immediacy, thanks to a stirring melody that’s impossible to forget. “‘Wrap My Arms’ is about a connection between people,” McFadden says, “whether it be a love song, about a mother or child, or comforting somebody. Anyone can relate to the sentiment.”
McFadden and long-term co-writer and co-producer Rob Conley have an instinctive synergy and a practiced ear for a hook. It’s this talent that transformed ‘Wrap My Arms’, into a classic. “We were asked to produce this 17-year-old kid,” says McFadden, “and we were played an original version of ‘Wrap My Arms’. Normally I write from scratch, but this one was such a little treasure that I didn’t want it to go to waste, so we restructured it into what it is today.”
With over 40 million albums sold worldwide, McFadden has been offering his guidance to a host of young artists as a judge on Australia’s Got Talent. Having been a household name himself since the age of 18, it’s been both a rewarding experience and a chance to hone his focus.
“It made me realise I had to raise my game,” he laughs wryly. I’ve been making albums for 13 years, so there have been times when I’ve got a bit lazy and the process has just been: ‘Yeah, I’ve got to make an album this year.’ Working on the show I’ve seen so many talented singers and songwriters that I’ve realised if I want to be up there with the best I’ve really got to try harder.”
‘Wrap My Arms’ is the sound of McFadden quite simply doing what he does best and goes to radio on Thursday January 19 and available on itunes on Friday January 20.
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