Album cover
Home  /  All songs

Half of My Heart

iTunes Exclusive Interview
Excerpts from 2009 iTunes Exclusive Interview

I think I messaged [Taylor Swift] on Twitter. I think I said—I sent her a direct message saying, I have this song, I think you're the one for it. And I don't normally do that. It took me four records for me to get to a song where I said, Wow this can really mean something—or maybe it took someone like Taylor coming around to really make that an organic process instead of an arranged marriage of a duo.

And so I called out to her and she agreed to do it. Came into the studio. One of the best work ethics I've ever seen on somebody. Some people you get two or three tries of asking them to do it again before they disengage. She was a tank. I got to a point of comfort with her I went, Wow this girl is gonna stay. This girl's gonna stay til it's done! Which is the greatest and sadly the rarest thing when you're getting people racing the martini. You can just feel someone is racing to get out.

I just remember at some point being comfortable enough to say, Do it again. Instead of, That's good. That's good. Without having to coddle. She sort of just made it clear through her behavior like, Let's just get this thing, however long it takes, you got me. And that of course opened up the experience into being great. I'm learning in my career now when you let there be an experience, when you let something go in it's own way and flow, you get ten fold back instead of micromanaging everything.

Interview with Steven Smith on Fuse
On The Record: Fuse
Absolutely. You know when it gets time to make a record or finish a record, you are seeing things as titles. You are breaking everything down to, Could that be a title, could that be a title? And really the songs that are worth anything are the ones that sort of come into you. I woke up one morning and went [Sings chorus of "Half of My Heart"]. You know that's just what you start with. You spend all day writing and writing and writing. That's how songs get written. When you have to be reminded that you are a famous musician who has to get his major label record out, that [knowledge] does not write songs.

SS: Taylor Swift. She's on your record. How were you introduced to Taylor Swift, how did you find her as an artist?

JM: I've written a song, keeping with the Tom Petty context, I've written a song that's straight up melodic to the point chorus and I was thinking, well if I, in my little imagination, am Tom Petty in a song, who's Stevie Nicks? And it was like, I'm very strange about getting other people to perform on my record because I feel like I want those records to be around forever. And I don't know what someone else is going to do in their life.

SS: So you choose a 19 year old?

JM: Yes, that's a good point. That just goes to show you how confident I am, that this is not a gimmick. It's not featuring so and so and so and so just to sell a record. That's evidenced by her coming in and us having a great time in the studio. And singing on a song that's a little less than a duet. But where she is, it's just fantastic.

Interview in Guitar World magazine
Published in Guitar World (February 2010)

GW: Let’s shift gears and talk specifically about music. Tell me about “Half of My Heart,” which, as I mentioned earlier, seemed inspired by Fleetwood Mac, with Taylor Swift playing Stevie Nicks to your Lindsey Buckingham.

JM: Yeah, the rhythm guitar is very Lindsey Buckingham, but the lead line is very Mike Campbell [of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers], and the group is Fleetwood Mac.

GW: When you play it live, you even use a Rick Turner guitar, like the kind Buckingham plays. Did you use that in the studio?

JM: I think I did, yeah. I’ll be honest with you man, we tried a lot of guitars out, but when I played the Turner it was still, “Hey, that’s the sound!”