Lauren Hashian had just a few weeks to plan her wedding on Aug. 18, 2019. She still needed a dress, a ring, and one more missing piece: a new song.
Videos by American Songwriter
As a wedding gift to her soon-to-be husband, and partner of 15 years, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Hashian wrote and recorded “Step Into a Love Like This” two weeks before her nuptials.
“Making the song was easier than finding a dress and a ring,” jokes Hashian, who shared the single for the first time, marking her one-year anniversary to Johnson. Connecting with co-writers Naz Tokio, Mike Zombie, and James Kang, Hashian pieced together the lyrics and melody she had in her head. “For the first time I had nothing and I started with nothing, but I just knew that I needed to make something so special for this moment,” says Hashian. “We had a few weeks to plan the wedding and leading up to it, I said ‘can you guys keep a secret? ‘Dwayne and I are getting married in a few weeks, and I want to write a song to give to him on the day, and you can’t tell him that either, because it’s a secret.”
Once in the studio, “Step Into a Love Like This” came together quickly. “We started the production on the spot and really started capturing the emotion and the heart of the music,” says Hashian. “We worked for another week to get the lyrics and everything perfect so that the poetry and the story of it all was a true dedication to Dwayne, our life so far, and our future to come.”
Produced by Zombie and mixed by Erik Madrid, “Step Into a Love Like This” is a pure, lyrical love letter. Drifting through easy, romantic beats, Hashian’s velvety vocals unravel their story through Never felt safer before / Never felt love without fear / You made that all disappear / I got you and you got me no matter how it is / Never gonna have a lonely night / You already been my one for life.
The song was a particularly personal one for Hashian, who says every word was from her heart and is a reflection of experiencing their family, friends and life together. “I wanted him to feel how much that day and our entire life together has meant to me,” says Hashian. “It was emotional for me to reflect on the amazing years we’ve spent together with so much gratitude and to also think about our new future we get to build.”
Caught by surprise, Hashian was honored when she learned that “Step Into a Love Like This” was included on Spotify’s “Make Out Jams” playlist, alongside artists like Miguel (“Adorn”) and The Weekend (“After Hours”).
“When I was making it, I never thought it would make it onto a make out playlist,” laughs Hashian. “I thought maybe a wedding playlist, but to see it on the make out dance playlist, it actually made me emotional. We’ve all made out to Miguel’s music before, and when I was young, I used to make make out CDs for all my girlfriends.”
Born into music, Hashian, daughter of original Boston drummer, the late Sib Hashian, has worked with Warner Music Group and Paramount Film placing music in television and film. Her 2016 single “Go Hard” was used as the official song for the 2017 WNBA season, and in 2018 she collaborated with Tokio for a duet on “Samson.”
Today, Hashian says she’s in a much different place from “Go Hard” or her previous work. “Every musician looks back at a song from the year before or four or five years earlier, and they feel like a completely different person,” says Hashian. “Sometimes you think, ‘maybe if I had waited to put that music out…’ but I’m glad that I have those songs out there. ‘Samson’ is still a very dear and personal one for me, because it’s a snapshot in time. You change and you grow, and you’re not necessarily singing about the same things anymore.”
She adds, “You don’t feel the same way, but it’s all a snapshot in time and it’s cool to go backwards in your history and see what was happening in your life at that time or what you were creating, and then see how you grew, because the growth is inevitable.”
For Hashian, music is typically a matter of the mind as the pieces of a song will play over and over in her head. “I can take the song in my head and usually try to record it at home,” says Hashian. “Then I’ll bring it to one of the producers and I start composing the music behind it, and then we’ll work until the full vision is complete.”
Throughout her career, one thing Hashian admits that she will likely never do again is work alone. “I’ve decided I love collaborating and the ideas that your colleagues bring to the table… everybody’s opinion is valuable, and everybody’s input is magic to me,” says Hashian. “Getting into a room with new people for the first time, I’m always so curious to see what the vibe and sound is going to be like for the first time. Typically it’s always a collaboration, but I like to start off with what I’m hearing in my mind over and over first.”
On “Step Into a Love Like This,” Hashian mentions “bliss,” something she says transcends marriage. “I would say true bliss comes when you’re living in a life of gratitude,” she says. “If you ever wake up in the morning and you’re constantly thinking about or reminded of the things that make you happy and the things that make your heart feel full, that’s definitely a blissful place.”
Hashian, along with Johnson and their two daughters Jazzy and Tia, recently recovered from COVID-19, and says this gratitude resonates more powerfully now. “We all go through things, and sometimes when you come out of it on the other side, there’s gratitude,” she says. “To feel like yourself and just be healthy gives you gratitude, especially in a time like this, when so many people are going through so much. Having your full health, as you get older, you start to realize is a real luxury.”
In the midst of the pandemic, Hashian hopes the new song also leads to new life—literally. “It makes you feel special, and it was really validating, and thinking that people may possibly be making some COVID babies to my music gives me an even better feeling in these times,” she says. “If I can help one or two people come out of this with a new bundle, then it was all worth it.”
Moving ahead, Hashian is working with artist Eric Zane and an upcoming EP with producers Dallas Austin and Junior Sanchez and is planning to release a few new singles in 2020. For the moment, Hashian is happy to finally share “Step Into a Love Like This.”
Recorded after Hashian was out of commission for six month, recovering from a vocal injury, in the end, the timing of everything was kismet as Hashian remembers her special day and the moment she finally shared the song with her husband. Following the couple’s intimate, and early (7:30am) wedding, Hashian played the song for Johnson later that evening as the couple were driving to the hotel down the road for a one-night honeymoon sleepover.
“He kind of knew something was up, because he was asking me why I was going to the studio so much in the two weeks before we left for Hawaii,” says Hashian. “I was finally able to share the song with him, and say ‘this is for you. I want to thank you for the man that you’ve been to me and our family.’ I expressed some of my feelings to him, and then I pressed play.”
In that moment, both of them became emotional listening to the song in the car, says Hashian. “There’s a line in the song that says, ‘It’s me and you.. sitting shotgun in your ride,’” she says, “and life was imitating art in that moment, because I was sitting next to him for the first time in this truck as his wife.”