‘The Middle’: Watch How a Pop Hit Is Made | Diary of a Song

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“It’s shocking how much
time into one song was put from so many different people.” “A year of work,
15 different vocalists, everyone getting the song
to sound as good as everyone knew it could be.” “Hey.” “Hey.” “Hey. How’s it going?” “I know we meant all good intentions. Yeah. I feel like that’s
my quota of singing for the day. I’m so bad at singing in front of people.” So do you remember
the first session that you guys had where you
worked on “The Middle”? “The day before the session, we were
kind of just going through ideas. And there was this sound.” “We were kind of like, you know,
this feels really special. Let’s save it for tomorrow with Sarah.” “I’m this guy. I sit in the back and I’m like, ‘Cool.’ ” “Is she on Instagram?
Is she on Twitter? Or is she writing?
But she’s writing. She actually is.” “I only really put the voice memo on if I think I’m
getting something good.” “She just wrote for 10
minutes and she’s like: ‘I’m going to go in the
booth and let me sing it. Let me know what you guys think.’ That was literally the
first thing we heard.” “All three of us literally just
screamed with excitement.” And when you heard that, I mean, it sounds crass, but, like, do you see dollar signs? “I mean, it’s hard
sometimes in the room, you write songs so much, but it definitely felt special.” “So we get sent a lot of demos. But there’s a few writers
where we really love basically everything they do. And Sarah’s one of them. We were instantly, like, ‘We’re definitely going to
try a version of this.’ ” “We are, like, obsessed with these,
like, cinematic sound samples that we have.” “Yeah, that’s like a
medieval ax whipping noise.” “Everyone watches ‘Game
of Thrones,’ or whatever. But you never hear it in songs.” “We had something
that we like, but it wasn’t, like, absolutely perfect.” “So they played it for me and were
like, ‘What do you think?’ I felt if done right this could be huge smash. So we start working
on it together, and everybody started loving it. Let’s just find a vocalist. Which is something that
ended up taking, as you know, quite a long time.” “It’s not very often that that many high-level artists cut a song.” “I’m looking for somebody to
sing it with the same intention as Sarah sang it. But I’m looking for
somebody to do it better.” “There’s been months
where we, like, almost gave up because nobody
can sing it properly.” “He kept cutting vocals
and comping and flying to go see the artists. And it’s just, like, so grateful
that he didn’t give up.” “I didn’t really know
about all the drama of finding a vocalist.” “I had never heard her music until I heard her demo. So I was like,
‘Who is Maren Morris?’ ” “She sounds really good.” “The rhythm is so interesting.
‘Looking at you I can’t lie.’ It’s like walking up stairs.” “She was in Nashville. So I flew in and had to
fly out that same night.” “I recommended, like,
a hot chicken place that he could check out.” “She sounds the most like
Sarah of anybody because she has this rasp
that Sarah has.” “We had the final
product, which I sent to everybody, and I’ve never had a
song where everybody felt, like, it was perfect.” “Hey, guys. It’s that time again. I wanted to show you a
preview to my brand-new song. Check it out.” “All right. All right. Thank you, guys.” “I saw, like, the name come up
in my car, like, before it started playing. And then was like: ‘Oh my God! Oh my God!’ ” “ ‘The Middle’ has been like the
fastest-rising song for me I think I’ve ever had.” “See everyone just start to scream
and shout along with it. It looks like an ’80s concert.” “This seems crazy. Like, bits of it were made
in my small apartment.” “After it came out, I went to New York
for the Grammys, and at the afterparty I
saw her, like, walk past. And I was, like, never — it’s never
in me to go up to anyone ever, but I’m, like, ‘I feel like
I’m an idiot if I don’t.’ ” “And this little girl stopped me. I hate calling her,
like, a little girl. She’s 23 years old.” “I was like, ‘I’m so
sorry to annoy you.’ ” “In her sweet Australian accent she’s, like, ‘I’m Sarah,
I wrote ‘The Middle. ’ ” “And she was, like: ‘Wait. You’re, you’re the girl in the demo!’ And I was, like, ‘Yeah, that’s me!’ ”


  1. In the order they played the demos from other vocalists, this is who I believe was each demo.
    starting at 2:55
    1. Anne Marie
    2. Bebe Rexha
    3. Daya (this one I'm the least certain of)
    then at 3:14
    4. Tove Lo
    5. Charli XCX
    6. Bishop Briggs or maybe Elle King

  2. such bs… her voice on the first take has …. verb, delay, eq, compression, limiters etc etc etc etc… please

  3. The song was uniquely original and amazing…….before it was sent through middle men and shopped all over town. Sarah should have been the vocalist. It is "her" song, not Zedd. The good days, when people wrote a song, recorded it, performed, it. Owned their work.

  4. once you hear that actual first demo of the vocals for this song at 1:22 by Sarah every other version in the video (including the full song that's out now) sounds terrible lol

  5. Sarah's voice is impressive. But it likes power and loudness. I really get when Zedd said "I really like someone to sing the way Sarah did"

  6. This upsets me so much. Even though I know that it's the way of the world, and that connections are an indispensable source of value in their right… I can't stand seeing Zedd call this "my song", while the "23-year-old songwriter" (also called Sarah) gets sidelined with barely a nod. Oh well.

  7. They should've just let Sarah do it…that 1 yr run around for a "better" vocalist could've been avoided…but great song, nonetheless.

  8. You know you’re old when you get all excited thinking this was gonna be about the Jimmy Eat World song

  9. Her voice is so much better than the one's who sang it… It has an oriental vibe to it and a great tone

  10. Sarah's demo is the romanticized nostalgia version you hear in your head when you remember this song. She really did it best.

  11. I think the monsters and strangerz need more recognition in this, but yea known this song for some time now, prolly listen to it more than a hundred times but this is the first time I watched how it was made.

  12. Sarah should get credit but you guys have to realize some people have writing talent but don’t like singing in front of people. She was nervous and I respect that. She’s a true talent.

  13. I want the original songwriter to please sing her song. PLEASE. I dont care how you rearrange it or anything

  14. i…i thought this was gonna be about the jimmy eat world song. excuse me while i walk my old self outta here.

  15. anyone else notice how it mentions both zedd and maren in the description but sarah is just 'a 23 year old songwriter'?

  16. Anyone else loving the irony of a song called "The Middle" centered around middle-of-the-road-generic-no-feeling-pop-streaming-click-bait-music ?

  17. What are you even talking about? "Sarah's vocal is ALSO good"? "Sarah's vocal is BETTER"? I don't even get why they decided to find someone else in the first place, her take was simply perfect and that's a pity she is so shy about her own vocal skills.

  18. this song still follows me on the radio, my local mall, gas station, and anywhere a group of kids are. HELP ME!

  19. I clearly see Sarah has talent, where do these other guys get off thinking the actually did something? You came up with a “sound”? Seriously. Not a chord, not a melody, no written music…yet you think you’re musicians. You are not.

  20. I do need this song with Sarah's voice. I love her voice. Listen to her in Cosmo's Midnight – History!!!!!

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