Margaret Durante's new release of "Use Somebody" is hitting the airwaves at radio stations around the country - everywhere from Washington DC to Detroit, Michigan...Des Moines, Iowa to Chattanooga, Tennessee...and even on WIVK-FM here in Knoxville.
A countrified cover version of the Kings of Leon pop hit, Durante's interpretation of the lyrics is almost autobiographical in that it seemingly mirrors her own journey from college undergrad at Clemson University to Nashville singer/songwriter.
The music video for "Use Somebody" not only visually paints that picture but has also become a fan favorite on CMT as a popular vote-getter on the country music channel's daily "Power Picks" television program.
While not unheard of for a country newcomer to release a cover version as his or her first radio single, Durante's debut has turned a few heads in the country radio community...and among fans of the song's original artist: Nashville-based Kings of Leon. To help answer some of the questions raised, the day after her song was released, Durante herself wrote a blog entry on her MySpace page:
As some of you may know, yesterday was the release of my first single (!!!!!!), "Use Somebody" on iTunes and Amazon. And, I must say, I am blown away by how supportive everyone has been. I knew already that I had a lot of wonderful friends, but it's just remarkable to see how many people have jumped in and helped out and how powerful word of mouth can be. So, thank you to everyone who has helped me get the song heard! It's such an exciting time, but a lot of work goes into the promotion of a new song, especially with a new artist, so every bit helps.
I've been in Nashville for almost two years singing and writing my own music, but there are several reasons that I chose to release a Kings of Leon cover as my first single. First of all, I'm a big fan of the Kings of Leon and of this song in particular. They're from Nashville, and when I got signed to Universal Republic, the label suggested that I cover this song and release it before I released any original songs. I'll be honest, at first I was confused. The KoL song was so popular at the time --it still is-- and we had been planning to go with another song all along. But, like many other new artists have done before--especially country artists-- they thought I should sing my own interpretation of a wonderful song and release it into a market where the it hasn't been fully appreciated yet.
The Kings of Leon version is unquestionably compelling, and it really drives the whole way through. Caleb's voice is so unique and obviously their perspective is from a male point of view. I saw this as an opportunity to highlight the vulnerability of the lyric and deliver it from a female perspective. It wasn't a stretch for me at all; I've been living alone in Nashville for a couple years pursuing a very uncertain career, and yea, it was really lonely at some points. I can absolutely empathize with what KoL was saying in the song, so what's more genuine than that?
In Nashville, we always say that it starts with a song. Of course the matter of who records it is important, but not the most important. I think I had a chance to take a great song, make it my own, and hopefully catch the attention some people who want to hear more.
Photo credit: Casablanca/Universal Republic