Crying, Crying, the second track on Rita Wilson's new album, describes the complexity the actress-singer faced last year after learning she had breast cancer.
“I’m going to all these doctor’s appointments in the morning, but at night I’m going off and doing this comedy,” she said, recalling the time she starred in the Broadway play Fish in the Dark with Larry David. “It’s like, ‘Yeah, I’m out here, I’m doing a comedy, I’m laughing. But you go home and you’re thinking about what’s going to happen in your life and are you going to be OK?”
The honesty and buoyancy is all over Crying, Crying, with Wilson's matter of fact lyrics juxtaposing with track's sprightly beat. It is one of many tunes she co-wrote — a first for the performer — for her self titled album released last week. For the second album she collaborated with a number of well-known producers and writers to craft a cohesive country-pop record.
The album was co-written with Dan Wilson, who had in hand in writing iconic songs like Adele's Someone Like You and the Dixie Chicks' Not Ready to Make Nice. Other collaborators include Babyface (Whitney Houston, Toni Braxton), Stephan Moccio (The Weeknd, Miley Cyrus), Sugarland's Kristian Bush, Ron Aniello (Bruce Springsteen) and Nathan Chapman, who was a producer on all five Taylor Swift albums.
After her 2012 debut AM/FM, Wilson was encouraged to write songs by her friend Kara DioGuardi, the popular songwriter who has worked with Carrie Underwood, Christina Aguilera and Kelly Clarkson.
“(She asked), ‘Do you have anything you want to say?’ And I said, ‘Yes,”’ Wilson recalled.
That’s when they wrote Grateful and Wilson brokedown.
"This is exactly what I wanted to do," she said of writing a song capturing her emotions. "Grateful has a very special place in my heart because it's reflective of what I've been through in the last few years in my life."
With 30 songs in Los Angeles and Nashville, Tennessee, Wilson realised she had a full album of new material.
Not all of the tracks on the new album are based personal experiences, but some hit home: Still Gone is about "losing my dad and my two girlfriends in a very short period of time," and Girls Night In describes a night during which Wilson and her girlfriends trade their stilettos for sweatpants.
“I got all my girlfriends together and we rented a small studio in the neighbourhood and we had a choreographer come in and teach us all the dance moves for Janet Jackson’s ‘All for You,”’ she said with a laugh.
Wilson, who has appeared in a number of films (Sleepless in Seattle, Runaway Bride and Larrt Crowne) and TV series ((The Good Wife and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit) and married to Hollywood superstar Tom Hanks is set to combine her film and music worlds with the upcoming release of the comedy My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2. As well as producing and starring in the film, Wilson also wrote the track Even More Mine which will appears at the film's conclusion.
Her other track Strong Tonight, from her new album, will be covered by Connie Britton's character on the TV series Nashville.
The 59-year-old performer said she was afraid to tackle music in the beginning. She now describes herself as comfortable being dubbed a singer-songwriter as an actor.
“We all, I think, are really scared to take chances and to try new things. We put ourselves in boxes and we just say, ‘I can’t do this,” she states. “I think to be able to have music right now at this point in my life is such a huge blessing, but I had to get over whatever judgment you feel is going to come at you. I’m not 25 years old, so hopefully people will be buying this.”