Today’s video takes us back in time to a cover of the timeless classic ‘Cry Me a River’, originally written by Arthur Hamilton in 1953. Brooklyn singer-songwriter Janet LaBelle’s minimalist version of the song was conceived as a companion piece to her recent single ‘You’re Gone’, reflecting on the pain and heartache of loss and the end of a relationship. Labelle says of the song: “‘Cry Me a River’ seemed to really fit with the emotional landscape of ‘You’re Gone’. While the narrative in these lyrics gives a different perspective and story, it also created some interesting challenges to work with as a singer when thinking about the delivery and focus—it was my hope to capture the emotional complexities and pain in the lyrics but also focus on the elements of healing and moving on.” The song was recorded with producer Evan Taylor at Taylor’s own Loantaka Sound Studios in Los Angeles with a focus on a stripped back treatment underpinned by swirling organ.
LaBelle and Taylor have succeeded in creating an almost dreamlike, ethereal experience, a feeling reinforced by her layered vocals. She explains how this came about: “Some of the more experimental aspects of the recording were a happy accident. At one point, after bouncing the mix, we heard all of my vocal takes played back through the studio speakers, sounding like a wash of sound with a haunting quality. It wasn’t the original intent to keep all the vocal takes in there, but Evan and I felt strongly that this element of the track gave it a different quality than a more traditional approach. The layered vocals felt like a conversation inside someone’s head, and this to me, felt like a unique telling of the story. I was listening to Julie London’s (1955) version of this song around time that I was recording my last single ‘You’re Gone’. Julie London’s version is so haunting and beautiful and I felt that the lyrics complemented the emotional landscape I was building in ‘You’re Gone’. I felt that it really fit with the theme of moving on, walking away, and feeling empowered, but also acknowledging a lot of pain. Evan Taylor (who produced the track) and I really loved the minimalistic style of London’s version and wanted to pay homage to that approach while also making a unique version and telling of the story.”
This is classic songwriting, with a fresh approach from LaBelle and Taylor – check it out.