After penning records for artists like Teyana Taylor, Jason Derulo and The Chainsmokers, Shae Jacobs has shifted gears to release his debut EP titled What’s Hard to Say, Pt. 1 via 1990/Amigo Records.
The six-track project, which fuses R&B and pop, explores heartbreak and healing from Jacobs’ own experience. Interestingly, the British singer decided to pair his deep and emotional lyrics with upbeat, dance-friendly production — reminiscent of Robyn’s Body Talk album.
“If I went too dark, it would have been too much,” Jacobs tells Rated R&B the phone, all the way from the UK. “Sad songs and relatable songs don’t always have to have sad melodies and sad progressions. It’s kind of a play on life. Sometimes you have a crazy scenario and happy songs playing in the background. I wanted to give that real life feeling from production down to every lyric.”
If there’s one thing Jacobs wants everyone to take away from his first project, it’s that it’s okay to be vulnerable. “It’s okay to speak up,” Jacobs says. “We’re in a time where everyone’s being so conscious and aware of themselves. I think it’s the perfect time to show that men can talk about how they feel.”
In Rated R&B’s interview with Shae Jacobs, the talented singer/songwriter shares the story behind each track on What’s Hard to Say, Pt. 1.
“How to Be Friends”
I was in a writing session with a close friend of mine named Levi Lennox and another songwriter Moxie Raia. We kind of were in similar situations where we had people that we had no longer been engaged with romantically and we both realized that it’s not really possible for us, per se, to be friends with that person. Once you’ve gone there with that person, you can’t really go back to just being friends. There’s a temptation, a bit of resentment and it always comes out sexually in some way for us. So, we ended up writing this record where we basically said we don’t know how to be friends anymore because we’ve gone through this a million times. It’s better if we act like we don’t know each other. It helps way more to just be strangers.
I wrote this with Lewis Shay Jankel. It was just a spur of the moment conversation that I was digging for and found on the spot. I kind of wanted to write the representation of my downfall. It’s the most empathetic record I’ve probably have written because I had messed up before and I didn’t want to leave the person. But, the best thing I could do is give that person space. It’s one of the hardest things to say to someone because if you love them and you made a mistake, you don’t want to lose them.
Everyone has been jealous and has felt that feeling of someone who you used to be with is now with someone else. Most people can relate to how that feels. I kind of wanted to describe it from a man’s perspective because men tend to always be hidden emotionally and we like to put on a brave face. I wanted to capture the vulnerability of a man’s heart in a way that’s not always been done.
“Fuck Me Up”
It’s about a toxic relationship. It’s very personal to me because my last relationship got pretty toxic. I was very much so was addicted to that. I was accepting how terrible things were. I couldn’t let go of it, I just wanted to stay. It really fits the whole conceptual piece of the EP and helped tell my story of what’s hard to say.
“Not Supposed To”
I would say this is one of my favorites. I feel like it’s everyone’s story in some way. If you’ve fallen in love and it went wrong, you will know what it feels like. It’s basically saying I still want you even when I’m not supposed to. You’re supposed to be over them. You’re supposed to be getting on with your life but you’re still in the same position.
It’s a great close-off for my whole EP. It’s me accepting that I can’t win with someone, so we both are going to lose here. A relationship is about us. There’s no winner in a situation like this where you don’t want to communicate, where you don’t want to say what you want to say or face what’s wrong with us — you’re just running away from it.