Story Behind the Song: Brandy Clark, ‘Bigger Boat’
Brandy Clark's new song, "Bigger Boat," was inspired by her favorite movie -- Jaws. While the singer admits that she originally thought the reference would be a little dated, a series of strange -- and hilarious! -- events made her realize that it was the perfect addition to her new album, Your Life is a Record. Read on to learn the story behind the song, told in Clark's own words.
I wrote it with Adam Wright, and it's funny how this song came about. People who know me really well know this, and people who don't are always surprised by this -- but my favorite movie of all time is Jaws.
And my favorite scene is when [actor] Roy Scheider sees the shark for the first time --which, now,[ it's not that scary,] it kind of hisses out of the water, but as a kid, it was like, "Oh my God!!" -- and he turns around and goes, "We're gonna need a bigger boat!"
I've always wanted to write a song called "Bigger Boat," but it's hard to find somebody over 40 that's seen that movie. I was writing with Adam, and it somehow came up that his son loved Jaws. And, I mean, would make him watch it after school every day, that kind of thing. Anybody who knows Adam knows that he's a genius songwriter, but he can imitate Quint from Jaws. You close your eyes and it's like [the actor] Robert Shaw is in the room.
He's got a great lyrical sensibility. I shared that idea with him, and of course he was into it. I thought, "Well, I love this song, and I know some people are gonna love it, but I don't know if other people are gonna get the reference."
Then, a couple of months ago, my best friend sent me a video of [a scene from] The Handmaid's Tale. There's a scene where the lead character turns around and says, "We're gonna need a bigger boat!"
So I was like, "Okay, they brought it into modern times. We got a gift here." And we cut this song, and it's wacky.
But somewhere along the way, [someone on my team said] to me, "Oh, it would be great if we had a duet on this record. At that would be a great song [for it.]" She said, "Who do you think we could do? I think it would be great if we could get James Taylor."
Which was a great idea. And I said, "I love James Taylor, but I think Randy Newman. I mean, it sounds like Randy Newman wrote it."
[He came in and recorded it] on Memorial Day. Randy changed a line because he didn't wanna say 's--t,' but he was like, "I'm not one of those rappers that's gonna ask for a writer credit, don't worry. I just don't wanna say that."
You know, they say, "Don't meet your heroes," but he was the opposite of that. The song's not in his key, but he made it work, and it was just pretty amazing.