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  • Writer's pictureRawiri James

Behind the Lyric: Zero Gravity

Deep in my album Lost Boy sits a rap ballad that makes the teenage version of me smile. Part Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, part Eminem, this song remains one that I'm most proud of as a songwriter. It's a shame then that it's also one of my least-listened to, owing to its back-end placement on the record (and the average person's understandably short attention span).

I wrote this song pre-sobriety, having been inspired by the beat when I found it on RockItPro. Evocative from the first listen, the eerie synths and chord progression inspired the chorus first, and then, grabbing a pen and paper at my flat in Battersea, to scribble down the first verse.

I realised when writing Zero Gravity that my writing style was very Three Act structure in nature. The first verse is the set up of the relationship; the second verse is the complication and the third is the fallout and resolution. You can see this on other Lost Boy tracks (Hey, Kid, Mess With My Cool) but I think it's most obvious - and most effective - on this track.

"Without no trust I doubt our love
It's best this dies today, today
But I fear no sanity"

These were the first words I recorded for this, not long after meeting Frederik Neilsen. I hadn't recorded much music before then and I didn't know Freddy that well, either. He asked me who this song was about, and deliberating for a second, I replied that it was not specific, but more of an exaggerated accumulation of all my relationships. Pointedly, I added that I'd never cheated, like verse 2 suggested, and that I don't stalk people!

It was the first song he and I worked together on. The first, it would turn out, of many. It wasn't long after this that I went off to have a breakdown and newly sober, we went to work on the DTF record instead (I needed the levity).

Years later, when piecing together the songs of the album, I knew that this one had to be on there. I also intended it to be the closer of the album but I considered it a pretty depressive ending and went with the comparatively hopeful Hey, Kid instead.

And it was during the album's production that I recalled the conversation with Fred, and his question about who inspired the song. Sober for about a year at this point, I came to realise that Zero Gravity wasn't about a girl. It was about my relationship with alcohol and drugs.

"And countless times I've found that I
Attempt to fly away, away
Feels like zero gravity"

When you're in a toxic relationship, the only sane thing to do is end it, even if you have no idea how to live without it. You learn how to. People show you what they did; you copy them. You start to survive the days, just like they said you would.

And that feeling of letting go of that toxic relationship, makes you feel sane again.

Makes you feel light.

Like zero gravity.

Listen here:

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