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Waiting on the World To Change

Interview and performance from Google+ Hangout
Promoting Born & Raised album

DW: So you’ve got a question for John I believe.

[Caller]: We do. So we know you’ve been pretty involved with NCIRE [Northern California Institute for Research and Education] and with veterans health research. So our question is, we were wondering how has your point of view changed since you wrote Waiting on the World to Change and Belief? If you think it’s been intensified, or changed by your work with veterans?

JM: You know, that’s a really good question. The work that I’ve done with veterans has really focused me on the task at hand. I think anybody who works with veterans, anyone who knows a military family or somebody who’s in the military or somebody who knows someone who’s in the military, there’s a certain sort of grace that is extended where you don’t really discuss the sort of large—not larger, I don’t wanna say larger—but, in a sense, more broad conversation about politics or the theory of it all. When working with NCIRE and working with veterans and meeting them, I don’t think that it changes my point of view on a song like "Belief" or "Waiting on the World To Change," because that’s sort of the way that I look at it as a songwriter, the way that I process it as a person. But in helping, or helping to help, veterans, you find that you don’t think about the politics. You don’t think about your point of view. So I would say that it’s very sobering in the sense that my point of view doesn’t matter at all. And nobody’s point of view matters at all. All that matters is the task at hand. Especially when something is now in the past. Nothing matters but the task at hand. 

So I would say working with NCIRE has focused me on that. As a songwriter, time ages songs differently, time changes the meaning of songs. "Waiting on the World To Change" is very 2006. It’s very pre, sort of, Obama administration. But I remember that summer, working on that record, I remember the news just feeling very strange. I remember—that song was a time capsule.

Interview from The Bobby Bones Show
The Bobby Bones Show: Episode #75

BB: We're having a debate in this room before you came in—and you may not want to answer this—which song are you just tired of playing?

JM: Um, I'm tired of playing "Waiting on the World to Change."

BB: Boom! What did I say?!

Amy: Pay up!

JM: What, that I would have one or that it would be that one?

BB: That it would be that one.

JM: Really? Yeah.

BB: Why do you think it is? I have a whole different reason. Why do you think it is. I have a reason I'm tired of hearing it. Why do you think?

JM: Oh that's funny, let's go, let’s boogie. Here we go, I’m leaning into this one.

BB: Why are you tired of playing it?

JM: It's—honest to god—it's just a tactile thing. It's just after a while like—by the way you're gonna be like “oh, well I hated the message”, I was like “I just didn't like the way it felt in my hand.” It's right outside of my range. Like when I had a vocal surgery then I had a procedure and like it cost me like two or three notes and I needed those notes for "Waiting on the World to Change." So I kind of had to sneak around it, so it's not exactly the most comfortable thing. So weirdly enough like all the songs that became very popular are very difficult to sing for me.

Meanwhile all I wanted to do is like have a hit with like [sings part of "Who Says"] and just wake up at 5:00 in the morning and be able to do it. And so it’s out of my range. It’s also musically pretty circular, you know? So there’s not a ton of room in it—you kind of get into it—you have to say your piece and then get out. It’s not necessarily meant for exploring the musical space of the song. Now you go, why don’t you like "Waiting On the World to Change" anymore? 

BB: I felt like it’s not in your range anymore, like you lost a couple notes.

JM: Are you kidding or are you just saying exactly—

BB: I’m just lying.

[Laughs]

Now I’ll tell you what—because on that record I felt like that’s the one song that’s different than all the rest. Sonically. Listened to the whole album, and I go, Man, that one can go on a couple other records.

JM: That could be true.

BB: I feel like that was a radio song. Did you write that to be on the radio?

JM: No. You know, talk about running by somebody, a dear friend of mine at the time I sent it to her and she said, “I don’t hear it," and I was like “I think it’s going to be huge!” “I don’t really hear it. I don’t think it’s going to be huge.”

I’m weird when it comes to hits, man. Like I don’t know what makes a song of mine a hit.