Considering that Kevin Rudolf has written enough pop songs for artists like Jesse McCartney and Leona Lewis, it comes as no surprise that he can craft a pop song for himself. The Cash Money artist dropped “Don’t Give Up” this week after he decided to embrace that lighter side for himself.
“It’s the first song I wrote for the album. I wrote it right when I got to New York from L.A. I hadn’t really written a song for myself in a long time. I got really inspired. I left L.A. and I felt a thousand pounds were off my shoulders,” he said of the song, which will serve as his next album’s lead single. “This was a message I wrote to myself and in the end it reaches other people and makes them feel good.
“Everyone’s trying to be edgy all the time and it’s not edgy anymore,” he later explained. “And I just wanted to have the courage to put something powerful into the world.”
The upbeat track is full of folky bounce and handclaps that perfectly mirror the sunshine of the lyrics, where Rudolf sings, “So don’t give up, don’t look down/’Cause your time is gonna come around/ Don’t look back come to fall/ Baby, you were born to be a star.”
Given that Rudolf has explored many other people’s pop personas in the past, forging his own was an interesting step to take.
“It’s different. If I’m writing for the other artists, I’m focused on them and the subject matter and what’s going on in their lives. It just depends. Obviously if you’re gonna work on Selena Gomez you know you’re making an uptempo usually, usually more of a dance record, usually lighter subject matter, obviously,” he explained.
“If I’m working with Lil Wayne, I know I’m making something that’s a lot harder, obviously making hip-hop, making beats more than I am writing a song necessarily,” he continued. “But usually the ones that just, like this one just came straight out, like I didn’t even write it, so that one, I knew it was for me. The more I got into it, I knew it was actually right. And then [Cash Money bosses] Slim and Baby heard it and then they felt the same way, so there we were.”
Rudolf notes that being on a label like Cash Money affords him the opportunity to try out new sounds, without any objection from his superiors.
“It’s like, being on Cash Money, it’s like going to school with no homework. It’s like you just show up and it’s awesome and you get to do whatever you want as long as you’re working and you’re creative and you’re contributing, they don’t care what you do,” he said. “I mean that in a great way. I don’t think you would get the artistry from Nicki Minaj and Wayne and Drake and all these people if you were being told what to do. There’s no way. And that’s why Cash Money has very creative artists.
“They don’t have the filter that many record company A&R’s and label bosses have. They trust that you’re the artist,” he continued. “You don’t tell Wayne, ‘A little more energy in this part and less cursing,’ and if I have a day where I feel great and I want to write a song called ‘Don’t Give Up’ and share that with the world, then they’re all for it.”