Story Behind the Song: Madeline Merlo, ‘If You Never Broke My Heart’
In the United States, Madeline Merlo first earned national attention in early 2020, when Lady A selected her song "Champagne Night" to record during their appearance on the songwriting-focused TV show Songland. In her native Canada, however, the Maple Ridge, British Columbia-born artist had already been signed to a record label for years, released an EP and her debut album, and charted a string of Top 40 singles.
Merlo's debut album, 2016's Free Soul, followed a 2015 win in the Rising Star category at the Canadian Country Music Awards. As she continued to release new music, Female Artist of the Year nominations followed in 2017 and 2018. Her Songland success is an opportunity to find a wider audience in the U.S., including with her song "If You Never Broke My Heart."
Merlo co-wrote "If You Never Broke My Heart" with Marla Morris and Grant Vogel. Keep reading for the story behind the song, in her own words.
This song absolutely came from an "a-ha moment," where I was met with this realization that I had made some real progress in this breakup I was going through. I was coming to terms with the fact that even good things fall apart, or “beautiful things go up in smoke.”
I had this thought about past relationships setting the bar for the future ones. I wrote the title "If You Never Broke My Heart" down in my phone, and it poured out of me in a write, with Grant Vogel and Marla Morris, a couple of days later.
It’s super simple, but I love the line "I guess I’m somewhere in the middle." I feel like this song has such a unique perspective because, often, songs are about being in the thick of heartbreak or over it completely. This one is about being in the middle and having the ability to take the love shared as a guidepost for the next one.
I also love the line "I hope it hurts like that again" -- basically about chasing a quality of love that hurts like a mother trucker when it ends.
The original demo was actually just piano and vocal. It felt so storytelling and lyric-focused, we wanted to leave room for that. My producer, Brad Hill, completely captured the dynamics and emotion of the song whilst staying true to the lyric being the focal point. Now, releasing this stripped-down version, it really mirrors the demo and feels powerful putting the song out in the form it started in.
Listen to Madeline Merlo's Unplugged "If You Never Broke My Heart"
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