Bahamian singer-songwriter Tebby Burrows said her journey to being featured on popular music competition Songland began three years ago.
Tuesday night, she won the hearts of the judges and, ultimately, the entire competition.
“When I originally heard about Songland, it was three years ago when they were just doing the pilot,” Burrows said in an interview with The Nassau Guardian.
“I submitted one of my songs, I didn’t get chosen and so late last year when I saw that the full season was greenlit by NBC, I was like, ‘I need to submit again,’ and I got selected.”
Songland is a competition where aspiring songwriters have a chance to audition their original songs for a major recording artist. This season, the contestants auditioned to write a song for award-winning recording artist John Legend.
Burrows performed her original song, “We Need Love”, which Legend criticized as crossing the line into “cheesy” a little too often. He said the original upbeat version of the song was too much. Legend’s advice to Burrows was to make the message-driven song sound more mournful as if she were “crying for the world”.
Tuesday night, Burrows took that advice and blew the judges away winning the competition with the revised, downbeat version of the song, accompanied by an acoustic guitar.
Burrows said songwriting is an integral part of the music industry.
“Some artists don’t write their own music and so they have really amazing songwriters,” she said.
“Even when they do, they like to collaborate with other creatives.
“You know, Adele is a great songwriter but you know she co-writes with one of our judges, Ryan Tedder, who’s also the frontman for One Republic.
“Ester Dean is an amazing singer and songwriter, she’s written so many songs that you know, especially for Rihanna, she’s written a few of her hits – Rudeboy, What’s My Name?
“Songwriting is its own kind of art form.”
Burrows admitted that she was nervous when she initially walked into a room full of industry giants.
“[I was] super shell shocked to see John Legend just kind of hanging out there, but I was excited,” she said.
“I just tried to stay present.”
She said she feels the support of the country behind her.
“Honestly, it’s been so awesome and encouraging to hear from everyone,” she said.
“Everyone is messaging me or sending little notes on Instagram.
“So, I’m proud to be representing The Bahamas.
“I’m just really happy that everyone is going to tune in.”
Tebby said her next move is to keep doing what she does best.
“I’m just going to keep writing, keep recording and keep doing what I love.”