JUNE 22, 2017 by admin
The cable news host discusses the love song on his new E.P., out Friday.
“I’m doing this because I have to do this,” Joe Scarborough, the host of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, rasped into the phone on Tuesday afternoon. It’s two days before he will perform a preview of his new five-song E.P., Mystified, out June 23, and he thinks he’s caught some sort of bug floating around the MSNBC office that’s causing him to stage- whisper as he talks about his music. As part of a deal with RED MUSIC, Scarborough and his band, who perform at a dim bar in his Upper West Side neighborhood 12 hours after he gets off the air on Thursday evenings once a month or so, will release 200 songs over the course of four years—about four songs each month. Mystified is the inauguration.
“I’ve been writing songs my entire life. I was in middle school and I wrote songs. I was in high school and I wrote songs. I was a football coach and I wrote songs. I was in law school and I wrote songs. I was in Congress and I wrote songs. I was a lawyer and I wrote songs. I was on TV and I wrote songs. I think at this phase in my life, it’s time for me to just focus on writing songs and taking it as far as I can take it. My hope is that it’s something that I’ll be doing long after I’m off TV.”
All of those years have amounted to a collection of 400 songs, and about a year ago, in the midst of a presidential election during which his show became a focal point because of his hot-and-cold relationship with Donald Trump, who vacillated between frequent friendly guest calling in to the show and jilted foe dissing Scarborough on Twitter. The five songs he chose for the first E.P. were the first five he recorded, he said, and they run from a song he wrote about the scene he witnessed on a trip to Montauk to the life of a young model that isn’t as glamorous as it appears from the outside. The title track is a bit darker—a tune about a guy being tortured by his inner-demons. “I wrote it at the low point of my life, after my divorce, which just completely blindsided me,” Scarborough told me. “I’ve always been an upbeat, optimistic, positive guy, but it just flattened me for a couple of years. I crawled into my studio and needed to put this to good use.”
The mood turns with “Let’s Fall in Love,” a ballad he played when I went to see his band play last summer. At the time, he told me it was the only love song he had ever written, but was cagey about the inspiration behind it. But a lot has changed for Scarborough in a year, namely, in April, he proposed to his co-host, Mika Brzezinski, at the Hotel du Cap in Antibes.
But Brzezinski had almost never heard the song, a waltz with a full choir belting out oohs and ahs behind a crooning Scarborough courting a woman who “breaks his heart with the wave of a hand” and dreaming of “a day this loneliness ends,” because they were in a fight the night he wanted to play it for her about a year ago, and she refused to go to his gig.
“She’s very intense, and she is her father’s daughter and does not back down,” he told me. “I’m a little more passive-aggressive at home, so I usually lay back a little bit. She kept saying ‘no, I’m not coming until you apologize.’ I had been pushed to the wall and said I’m not going to apologize for something that I didn’t do again.”
At that point, the song was still missing a bridge, and their impasse gave him an idea. He wrote in the lines “I’m not going to beg/I’m not going to beg/Oh, what the hell/Look at me beg/Baby please/Oh, baby please/Let’s fall in love.” He called Brzezinski, told her about the song, and begged her to come.
“She said, ‘O.K., I’ll come, but you still have to apologize first,’ ” he said. “She cut me no slack. I went ahead and apologized.”
EMILY JANE FOX Emily Jane Fox is a reporter for the Hive covering Wall Street, Silicon Valley, and the .001 percent everywhere.