Jaron & the Long Road to Love Featuring Big Kenny, ‘Beautiful Lies’ — Story Behind the Lyrics
It's not always artists or record labels who choose which songs will be radio singles. Sometimes it's the fans. Or "FRANS" (a combination of friends and fans) in the case of Jaron & the Long Road to Love's latest hit, 'Beautiful Lies,' featuring Big Kenny. Back in April, Jaron released a tune his twin brother Evan co-wrote, 'It's a Good Thing,' but just a few weeks later, he and Big Kenny not only recorded their new song but posted a YouTube video of themselves performing it, causing a FRAN-frenzy over the gorgeous tune. So, the 'good' stepped aside for the 'beautiful' ... no offense to Evan.
Jaron sat down with The Boot to talk about his musical chemistry with Big Kenny, the inspiration behind their song and why releasing it to radio was beyond his control.
I met Big Kenny just a few weeks before we recorded this. A buddy introduced us over e-mail. I was like, "Big Kenny, I'm a huge fan. I'd love to meet you." He said, "Why don't you come over to the house?" In 15 minutes, he looked at me and was like, "Why are you here?" I just looked down and was like, "A buddy thought we'd make ... uh .... a good couple." [laughs] I was literally so surprised by his honesty. It wasn't a rude question; it was genuine. To him, it was probably more profound, like, "Why are we meant to be?" He wanted to see if I could define it.
We started talking about a whole bunch of different things. About 30 minutes in, his little boy walked in and pointed to my guitar case. Kenny was like, "Are we here to write?" I was like, "No, I just didn't want to leave it in my car." And his boy pointed to the guitar and said, "Take out your guitar!" He loves to dance to music, so I played him a song called 'Contemplating,' which was the first song Big Kenny ever had that was cut by anyone -- me and my brother cut it 11 years ago. He reached out his hand and said, "I want to thank you, because a decade ago when I was a nobody, about a half dozen people called me a said, 'There's a pop group called Evan & Jaron who are singing your song.' Then, I was a somebody." To this day, it's my mom's favorite song.
So, I just take out the guitar and start playing 'Contemplating,' and he starts singing along. We had this amazing connection and harmony. We played the whole song, while his little boy was dancing. That's really what inspired us to write. Kenny said, "What's on your mind?" I told him, "I have this idea for a song called 'Beautiful Lies.' Then I just saw his eyes go somewhere else, and he walked away and grabbed his own guitar, and immediately starts singing, "Lie to me, oh lie to me ... "
I'm like, "I love that melody. What is that?" This was the guy who, just an hour ago, asked me what the hell I'm doing here. [laughs] It was almost like there was no more talking. He just got really into that song. I was just hearing him with my guitar ... We opened up, started throwing out lines and the song just happened. Strange process, but it was nothing like I had ever experienced. It was incredible.
When we finished the song, he asked me, "I don't understand, what is the label? Where is your team?" I said, "I got a team, but my team is 154,000 fans. That's my team. That's who works my songs for me. I can reach enough people that if it's good, it will be heard." I'm not worried about that. I got into this musical sandbox to play, to write, and that's what I'm going to do. I have no faith that anyone is going to play it. I'm always surprised when radio plays a song of mine. It's a bonus. And I'm grateful for it, but that's not my job. What I am lucky to call a job is to write songs and share them. The rest will take care of itself.
People are also huge fans of 'It's a Good Thing,' and I've always been a fan of that song. I know that it's got that radio connection, and I really believe it's gonna be a big hit. So we sent it out. But seven weeks later, 'Beautiful Lies' came out and started to react in a way that was all too familiar to 'Pray For You.' So many people have said, "This is hauntingly beautiful." It makes me cry. I feel this emotion - it's powerful. The unsolicited feedback has been such an overwhelming surprise, and now I'm going through this single and have this other song that is a predicted smash, and it's got this unmatched momentum and fire ... I can't stop this train.
I called Big Kenny and said, "I don't know what to do. I have 'It's a Good Thing' as a single and we are staying the course. But I can't stop this. I think this might get picked up by radio even though it's not the single." And he's so spiritual. He said, "We can't interfere with art." It's like that old saying, "Man makes plans, and God laughs." It's been incredibly humbling to me because right out of the gate, I felt like 'Pray For You' was an amazing thing happening, but with 'Beautiful Lies,' I was the last to know.