Songwriters and friends Wyatt Durrette and Mel Washington talked about the uncomfortable issue of racism for two hours before writing "Love Wins," a topical song that doesn't offer a partisan stance or angry confrontations. Instead it's built around mutual respect, common ground, and of course, love.
Washington believes that because the song stemmed from a conversation, it retained a conversational feel while it was being written. He says, "It was a real privilege to be able to sit down and write about something that is I think on everybody’s minds. It’s kind of hard for it not to be. But to do it with bravery and grace at the same time, and really face the issues at hand, head-on, and unapologetically. To do it in a way that is invitational and invites everybody to the table to be able to talk about things that are uncomfortable."
Durrette, whose songwriting credits include hits for Zac Brown Band and Luke Combs, says the idea for the song came while watching TV and thinking about the state of the country -- and his complicated emotions of feeling scared, mad, and confused all at the same time. So, he reached out to Washington to work on writing the song together.
"Mel and I have become good friends over the past two years," Durrette says. "He’s an amazing singer-songwriter, a great guy, a man of faith, a Black man from the South as well. And I wanted to sit down. I realized that while I don’t have a racist bone in my body, I still wasn’t doing enough. I needed to understand more. I needed to listen more. I needed to put myself in other’s shoes more, and truly have the conversations for myself. Also because I know my children are watching and they need to see us trying and being adults and having conversations and leading with respect and leading with love."
Both men hope the message of "Love Wins" will find its way into conversations among families and in the workplace.
"It’s just a real privilege to have written something that I feel is important but also poignant," says Washington, a longtime musician and native of Charleston, South Carolina. "And at the end of the day, our hope is to spread the positive message, that with all of the emotions that we feel, the thing that’s going to get us through this, and the thing that’s going to change how uncomfortable this season is, is love. So we hope to communicate clearly and with passion that love wins."
Durrette concurs with that statement. "Mel was the perfect guy, obviously, to have the conversation with, and try to write this song with," he says. "We sat there for two hours and talked first. It was incredibly eye-opening to me, and I hope the first of many [conversations] with Mel and others. Like Mel said, if it can do something to make people try to lead with love a little more, then I feel like we’ve done what we set out to do."