• Rawiri James

Behind the Lyric: Hey, Kid



2010 was a big year. I'd decided on January 1st to move to London by the end of the year, and as a result, I tried to cram as much into those 12 months as humanly possible.


I managed: a spot as an artist on tour with a Maori arts initiative; a lead role in a NZ Mafia-themed play; jury service, and writing and recording songs including this one, all while holding down a 9-5. It was intense.


As you might gather from the lyrics of Hey, Kid, I got pretty high in 2010.


"Stayin' up til the light, he's taking his time
His breakin' his mind, smiling and slaying them rhymes
He pulls another bucky, thinks he's lucky
Yeah, it's that brand new crazy..."

That wasn't unusual, to be fair. I got pretty high every year.


This song was born one night in the flat I shared with two of my best friends, in the pretty suburb of Mt Victoria. With my impending departure from New Zealand, for the first time in my life I began to really question what the hell I was doing. Truthfully, it felt a bit like I had been playing life a bit safe in the cosy confines of Wellington. The thought of leaving was exciting, but it also made me anxious. I had always been a dreamer. I had always wanted a lot. If a move to the other side of the world seemed courageous to some people, privately, I was incredibly fearful of failing.


I never really figured out what 'failing' meant in my move to London, but I do know the thought of it kept me awake some nights. (Thankfully, I've moved past that, but that's for another album...)


I discussed my music plans with several people at work, and one of them, Jeremy Hay, suggested a collaboration. Trading under the name isunray, Jay and I set to work on two songs. One of them was an upbeat club banger ala Usher's DJ Got Us Fallin' In Love. The far more personal one, the one I described as "like Kid Cudi's Day N Nite and it should be spacey and isolated".


"I gotta do somethin' quick, I'm burning inside
I'm yearning to find, learnings to leave me behind
It ain't realistic, I'm ballistic
And it's that brand new craze, crazy"

I really like this song. My lyrics on this came to define my very '3 Act' structure of song-writing and I like my word choices. I think Jay did an incredible job of the production and bringing the track to life. I also find it a bit disorienting to recollect - maybe because I really was a Lost Boy at the time I wrote it and I had no foresight to see that I'd make it through.


But just as the song suggests, there was a happy ending. And that's why I chose it to close the album.



Listen here:


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