Nashville singer-songwriter (and one of CMT’s picks for Next Women of Country’s class of 2020) Renee Blair will release her highly-anticipated debut EP, The Ones To Slow Dance To, tomorrow. Today she shares “Here I Am,” a straight-from-the-heart country ballad that puts her confident vocals front and center.
“Here I am / here we are / one drink away / from going way too far,” Blair belts in the chorus, sounding torn about what to do. “Shouldn’t want to spend the night / funny I remember I / swore you off / said I couldn’t / if I saw you out / no I wouldn’t get caught drinking with you / even speaking to you / no way in hell even thinking of you.” It’s a tour-de-force love song that captures the internal struggle to let oneself fall for someone.
“I’m rolling out this music a little differently than I’ve done in the past,” Blair tells American Songwriter of her forthcoming EP. “I’ve never released a true ballad before or dropped three songs in one day.”
Blair grew up in St. Louis but moved to Nashville as a teenager to pursue a career in music. Her EP comes ahead of her debut album out later this year.
“The Ones To Slow Dance To is the first chapter off of my album that will be out later this year called ‘The Ones,’” she explains. “It’ll be filled with everything from ballads to beach songs, [but] I wanted to kick off this album by releasing the ballads first. Each song in this group tells is different from the other and tells its own unique story.”
Blair’s songwriter boyfriend, Jordan Schmidt, co-wrote and co-produced the EP. While Schmidt’s most famous for co-writing Blake Shelton’s hit single “God’s Country,” he’s racked up dozens of country credits over the last few years for artists such as Lady Antebellum, Hunter Hayes, Florida Georgia Line, Granger Smith, and Dylan Schneider.
“It’s hard to beat a great power-ballad for me, so I always love getting to take a stab at writing and producing them,” says Schmidt of his experience collaborating with Blair. “Renee always knows what she wants to say as a writer and an artist so that makes my job easier and these songs are all a true reflection of her.”
Blair told The Boot that the latter is “a song that shows a glimpse into my personality, which is, I am not afraid to break the rules to have some fun.” The same could be said “Here I Am”–it’s an audacious next step for this self-described “fighter, hustler and iron woman” of a rising country talent.
The Ones To Slow Dance To is out March 6.