A Q&A With the Make It Count Contest Promotion Lyric Winners Simone Lazer and Melissa Bollea Rowe

Videos by American Songwriter

Written by Simone Lazer and Melissa Bollea Rowe
Interview by American Songwriter

Simone Lazer and Melissa Bollea Rowe are the Lyric Runner-Ups for American Songwriter’s Make It Count Contest Promotion for their song “Let’s LOVE BETTER.” American Songwriter caught up with Simone and Melissa to get the story behind their lyrics.


How long have you been songwriting? 

SIMONE: I’ve been writing since the dark ages! I was 10 or 11 when a local (Lansing, MI) radio station kindly picked up a song that I’d written.

MELISSA: I’ve been writing since I was a child. I could hear lyrics and melody from a young age.

Why did you enter American Songwriter’s Lyric Contest? 

SIMONE: It’s an honor for “Let’s LOVE BETTER” to be an official selection of your “Make it Count” contest! Those 3 words of the contest really resonated, as these seriously challenging times call for our loving instead of hating, and being proactive in creating necessary positive-change, so that we can “make it count” for one another and the future. I couldn’t not enter, (even if we’re still tweaking the song) because LLB’s lyric seemed to fit the theme. Additionally, your partner, Save the Music Foundation is incredibly important! 

What was the inspiration behind your song, “Let’s LOVE BETTER”?

SIMONE: The heartbreaking challenges of the pandemic, (that for millions have yet to let up) is what initially inspired the write. My co-writer, Melissa Bollea Rowe is a treasured friend, and she was really generous to  attempt to write with me while I was beyond-ill with Long Covid. And, we were talking about how cruel people can be during the toughest of times, and how we’re all here to love on, not hate one another.

Tragically, since starting the song, the heightened hatred, lack of humanity, equality and unity, has been escalating instead of dissipating, and the message of LLB has grown to cover a variety of injustices.

Hopefully we’ll be able to do something positive with “Let’s LOVE BETTER”, (there’s potential with a couple of civil rights charities) not that anyone can create another “We Are the World”, but we’re looking forward to recording and paying it forward … however is meant to be! 

MELISSA: All the division in today’s world. We wanted to say something that mattered, something we felt was important.  I’ve always heard and believe that silence is complicity. As songwriters, we have a platform and we should use it for good.  We took quite a bit of time on this one and there were plenty of rewrites, I appreciate how passionate Simone was about getting it right, she didn’t want to leave anything out, she was right to persevere on that. 

Are there any songwriters, artists, or events that have especially inspired you lately? 

SIMONE: That’s a loaded question coming off of AmericanaFest! Too many singer-songwriter/artists come to mind when it comes to current inspiration, but the multitalented Regina McCrary’s co-write with Bob Dylan & Julie Miller, that Buddy Miller so beautifully sings, “Don’t Make Her Cry” (from the current Buddy & Julie release, “In the Throes”) sure hits the heart. 

MELISSA: Maren Morris inspires me, it’s not easy to speak up in today’s political climate but she has and to me, that’s brave. We only live once, I think it matters what you say and do, that you make a difference. There can be so much fear in speaking up but you have to. If you are passionate about what you feel is right and good, you have to.


Read the lyrics to “Let’s LOVE BETTER” below:

What in the world is with the world out there
Everybody’s fighting, nobody’s fighting fair
Mad, have we all gone mad
Families and neighbors aren’t talking to each other
No one’s into listening or doing unto others
Sad, it’s all so sad
If we’re ever gonna get anywhere together
Gotta turn up how we care, and drown out the anger

There have to be higher roads to take
(And) Shorter paths to create change
Let’s fix what’s broken, and break the hate Whatever your preference, gender, race or religion
The merry go ride’ll come around again, and
We can jump on, right wrongs, get along, &
Love Better

Are you’re black, brown, purple, gay … and why do we care
(We) Bleed the same color, breathe the same air
Bad, how’d we become bad
If we(‘d) hear the other side & agree to disagree
(The) Divided get united for the sake of peace
Glad, it’d be good to be glad
That everyone who’s been (so) busy pointing the finger
Stopped and took a look at the reflection in the mirror

(Yeah) There have to be higher roads to take
(And) Shorter paths to create change
Let’s fix what’s broken, & break the hate
Whatever your preference, gender, race, or religion
The merry go ride’ll come around again, and
We can jump on, right wrongs, get along, &
Love Better

Five steps forward, fifty years back
Still fighting for reform, attack after attack
When we could honor our heroes who fought for our/equal rights
Instead of killing one another, let’s leave a
legacy behind

Gotta choose those higher roads to take
And the shortest paths to being the change
Turning darker times into brighter days, yeah
Love is Love, it’s time to heal the hate
When we silence the violence, we’ll pave the way
For the merry go ride to come around again
Grab a hand, y’all and we’ll all …
Jump on, right wrongs, get along and Love Better
No sense in censoring history, why not teach reality
(Yeah) Bring it on, sing the song, everyone in harmony
Together (now), let’s Love better …
*What the world needs now, is …

*Musically ala Burt Bacharach’s “What the World Needs Now Is Love Sweet Love” …
(into our music re “is … to Love Better”)

Simone Lazer/Melissa Bollea Rowe
©2023 Heck Yes – BMI/ Floor Six Music

Since 1984, American Songwriter’s Lyric Contest has helped aspiring songwriters get noticed and have fun. Enter the 2023 Lyric Contest today before the deadline:

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