Songland Premier John Legend Drops We Need Love – Behind the Songs!

SONGLAND -- Episode X -- Pictured: (l-r) Max Embers, Tebby Burrows, Ollie Gabriel -- (Photo by: Trae Patton/NBC)

On the new NBC competition reality show, Songland, each week will produce a winner. And on the premiere, the featured artist of the week, John Legend chose “We Need Love” by Tebby Burrows. But only after panelist Shane McAnally and the team of producers worked a little magic on it.

Video: Exclusive First Look at New ...
Video: Exclusive First Look at New Song From BLISS THE MUSICAL

Songland 2019 Premiere Recap – Live Blog VIDEO

John’s recording of the song was released on iTunes by the end of the broadcast. It charted on iTunes as high as No. 8, and has spent most of Wednesday at No. 10. 

While viewers saw Tebby working mostly with Shane, the song had NINE songwriters attached to it, including John (Stephens) Legend: “We Need Love” is credited to: Tebby Burrows, John Stephens, Shane McAnally, Andrew DeRoberts, Imran Avaz, Thomas Kessler, Juan Jose Botero, Marcello Valenzano & Andre Lyon. There is obviously MUCH more going on behind the scenes than we see on television. 

The two competitors whose songs John did not chose released solo songs to iTunes. Max Embers worked with Ryan Tedder while Ollie Gabriel worked with Ester Dean

Ollie’s song “Something New” is credited to Ollie Gabriel, Ester Dean, John Legend, Marty West, Rodney Jones, Ryan Tedder & Shane McAnally. The full panel, including Legend got credit on this one (and John is credited with his stage name here. Hm.)  

Max’s song “Lookin’ Up”, originally titled “Back Home” before a name makeover is credited to Max Embers, Andrew DeRoberts, Elliott Marchent, Emily Shearman, Ester Dean, Ryan Tedder & Shane McAnally. John got no credit on this one. 

I wonder why the entire panel didn’t get credit on the winning song. They all worked on it during the initial session. What criteria must an artist meet to receive credit on the song? Hm.

The episode was crafted so it appeared that Ollie’s soulful R&B throwback, “Something New” would be John’s pick. But Shane and the team so thoroughly transformed Tebby’s “We Need Love”– from an island flavored jam to a tender acoustic ballad–that John went for it. He made the right choice. First and foremost, it was good TV! The transformation of “We Need Love” illustrated the power that songwriters and producers bring to the table. It’s the point of the show! Also, once the team tweaked the song, it really became the best choice. 

Let’s take a few polls

Did the right song win?

Favorite Song

Favorite Panelist

Will you watch Songland again?

We’ll be watching Songland again right here next Tuesday (June 4) when is the guest artist. 

About mj santilli 33697 Articles
Founder and editor of, home of the awesomest fan community on the net. I love cheesy singing shows of all kinds, whether reality or scripted. I adore American Idol, but also love The Voice, Glee, X Factor and more!


  1. At least we get the annoying “I am” out of the way quickly. I have no clue why they continue with him on the voice UK judges panel. He showed up at The Voice Australia one year, just to spread cliche.

  2. I wonder if there is a single reality show about music competitions that he has missed? Maybe not the Reboot yet, but he was even on OG Idol, bts. .

  3. Ugh, I really don’t like at all so I might just skip next week. I’m not sure I LOVE this show, but will prob check it out when I have nothing else to watch.

  4. I don’t love Will I AM. so I might not watch next week. I don’t love this show but it’s alright if nothing better is on.

  5. Always interesting to see a little behind the curtain…There was a cool NPR article in the Headlines post that was not commented on…it lays out some of the reasoning behind the premise on this show…if they are after visibility, I think they are going to get some, if the quality of the show stays even. In that vein, what the what are they thinking with using Wiil.I.Am for a guest artist? ?

    >>NPR Music
    May 28
    Songwriting used to be a much more lucrative profession before the streaming era; today it takes a massive hit for a songwriter to substantially profit from streaming services.

    Life In ‘Songland’: The Reality Behind NBC’s New Reality Show
    A new competition show from the producers of The Voice will search for a hitmaker — but what’s it actually like to be a professional songwriter?

  6. In order to get a songwriting credit, someone generally has to have contributed something to the song. It doesn’t have to be a lot — it could be as little as changing a word or two in the lyric or suggesting a chord chahnge in the melody. It could be working on the track. There’s a phrase, “be in the room” — that means if someone is in the actual room when the song is written (or rewriiten or produced), that person could get a writing credit, even if they don’t even help work on the song, although that is generally limited to the artist — if you are just some random person, you likely won’t be given a writing credit if you don’t have any part in working on it. John Legend probably could have gotten a writing credit on all 3 songs, since he did make suggestions about all of them. But he may have felt he didn’t do anything to deserve a writing credit on that one song.

  7. Not sure what the abbreviations mean, but I get the gist of it. He is not the least bit funny or original. He can not sing. Guess that makes him perfect as a judge on singing shows.

  8. From the NPR article on songwriting:

    “Talent goes way beyond how many notes someone can sing,” she says. “When I watch,
    it [Idol] doesn’t speak to me. I would rather turn on a show and see someone who can’t sing but has something to say. And having something to say is way more important than hitting a bunch of octaves.”

    Sorry. I’m greedy. I want both. You can give me a song that says something, but it better have a memorable melody and it better be sung by someone with a voice. (Yes, there are exceptions. But sorry. I’d rather hear even a Carole King song sung by someone with a better voice, like Kelly Clarkson.) And a song doesn’t always need to say anything at all. “Country Girl (Shake It for Me)” is one of the dumbest songs — clever, but dumb — of all time, yet it’s infectious and I love dancing to it. Makes me move my body. Ditto “Get Lucky” and “Happy.” And honestly, the quality of songs has taken a nosedive right along with the music industry, which is not surprising. Artists are going to want to write or cowrite their own material to maximize their revenue stream in an era when music doesn’t sell. And sorry, but many singers do not write as well as the professional songwriters of yesteryear. IMO. Or they can write, but really need help to polish the song into something memorable. So, I am sad that songwriting is not viable as a career option. Unless you get very, very lucky.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.