artist jack McKee undertow

Review & Interview: “Undertow” by Jack McKee

Jack McKee’s first song of the year “Undertow” was released on February 11, 2022 and features up and coming artist Charitable Rapid. The song is described as being about “unrelenting perseverance and confidence in oneself.” It’s about navigating the world, turning against the current — being the “undertow in the ocean.”

The song invokes a feeling of peace for me. Something about it just puts my mind into focus and it’s like it opens my mind’s hyper focus. “Undertow” opens with a soothing keyboard intro and lyrical verse before opening up to the chorus and percussion. The percussion is almost like a pull for the sound to be a certain way, but it goes the opposite in a way, kind of making this an undertow itself. It goes together, but it feels like a push and pull to me which is a good thing for this particular song and its meaning. You can really be put in the middle of it.

“Never a chance of breaking. Only one life, embrace it. I got plans, don’t you worry ‘bout me. I don’t ever go with the flow. Nothing to fear in the undertow.”

“Undertow” has a very different vibe than Jack McKee’s previous tracks which feature pop ballads like “Stuck,” “Alone Again,” and “Stuck” which all feature similar sounds from the vocals to the instrumentals. “Undertow” is the a pop track with notes of RnB sounds. What’s really great is the rap verse by Charitable Rapid. The verse really pulls the whole song together from the rhymes used to the vocalization.

“Undertow” is out now on Spotify, TIDAL, YouTube, Pandora, deezer, iHeart Radio, and Apple Music. Follow Jack McKee on his socials below to stay up to date with his latest news.

Q&A with Jack McKee

Q: What was it like working with Charitable Rapid and how did you come to work together?

JACK: The collaboration with Charitable Rapid was spontaneous and natural. We are actually childhood friends, so we are very familiar with each other and each of our strong musical backgrounds helped us bounce ideas off of each other. This made it easy to fine-tune melodies, lyrics, and everything in between. 

One night, I was just planning on showing Charitable Rapid my demo for Undertow to get some feedback and we were trying to brainstorm a melody for a bridge. Nothing felt right. That was when Charitable Rapid took over. I am pretty sure he wrote and recorded his verse in less than an hour. It seemed to be the missing piece to the song and was what tied it all together. I am proud to have worked with him and hope to work with him more in the future. 

Q: Who else would you love to collaborate with?

JACK: There are so many artists I would love to collaborate with. Big dream would be to collaborate with Justin Bieber. I would also love to work with John Mayer, Jeremy Zucker, Tate McCrae, John K, Lizzy McAlpine, Giveon, Daniel Caesar, Jacob Collier, Rence, etc. This list goes on and on… 

Q: Can you tell us what inspired “Undertow” and the creative process behind it?

JACK: At its core, Undertow is about unapologetically navigating through the world in your own, unique way. It is an introspective anthem about having an unrelenting perseverance and confidence in yourself, just as an undertow has in the ocean, as it moves in the opposite direction of the main current. In other words, you should not be afraid to “go against the grain”, so long as it will push you further toward your goals. It may not be glamorous or understood, but ultimately it is the best route for you.

Q: Do you find that particular artists influence your music more than others?

JACK: I draw inspiration from so many different types of artists. Sometimes it is the lyrics that draw me in, sometimes the production, but what intrigues me the most is melody. Anyone can write a basic melody, but it is so difficult and rare to find someone that can consistently create melodies and hooks that stick. In my opinion, Justin Bieber does this so effortlessly along with his team.

The way that he navigates his way through a verse and the way that he carries you along with him in the chorus. I’ve never heard anyone do it quite like he does. He is spectacular at what he does. My favorite (and in my mind most underrated) verse actually is in his collaboration with Shawn Mendes in “Monster”. The cadence of it, the bold choice of melody, and the tone is unmatched. So with that said, I definitely get most of my inspiration from him. 

Q: What projects are currently in the works?

JACK: I have got several projects in the works right now and I am planning on releasing more music later this spring and early summer 🙂

Q: If you were stranded on a desert island and could only take one album to listen to, what would it be?

JACK: Oh man, this is tough…I would have to go with Continuum by John Mayer. This is a perfect piece of work in my mind. I could listen to it on repeat every single day. Honorable mentions: Freudian by Daniel Caesar, Justice by Justin Bieber, Fine Line by Harry Styles.  

Reviewed & Interviewed by Dana L. Sullivan





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