Jason Isbell explains why he wasn’t excited to write the song, “Maybe It’s Time” for the 2018 film, A Star is Born.
Unlike the chemistry between the film’s lead characters, Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper) and Ally (Lady Gaga), it wasn’t love at first sight when Isbell was approached with the idea to write a song for the film.
Jason Isbell, singer, songwriter, and guitarist from Alabama, told Rolling Stone that he joked when he was first asked to write a hit song for the film. He said, “I’ve never written a hit before in my life, you’ve come to the wrong guy.”
Can Bradley Cooper Actually Sing?
Isbell was also concerned about whether or not Bradley Cooper actually had any singing talents. During one of his shows, Isbell opened up about his initial thoughts about Bradley Cooper performing his song.
“Bradley Cooper had never really sung in public before. I was pretty terrified. He’s a good-looking fella – normally, if you’re that handsome you don’t have to learn how to sing…He sent me a recording of the song. But I didn’t listen to it because I thought that if it sucks, I don’t know I want to go through the process of calling him and saying ‘I’m sorry, Bradley, this sucks. I don’t want your money.’ So I didn’t listen to it. I waited a few hours.”
After a few hours of avoidance, Isbell listened to the song. “Luckily, he did a good job,” he said. Isbell then joked that “there’s gotta be something he’s bad at.”
Jason Isbell Prefers Writing Songs for Himself
With four Grammys under his belt, writing songs for other people to sing isn’t something Isbell normally does.
“I wrote this song for somebody else to sing, I don’t ever do that… I don’t think too highly of my own songs being interpreted by somebody else…The idea of writing a song from scratch and then not finishing the project by singing it has always been an odd one to me.” But Isbell said that “Maybe It’s Time” was different, “…This song was for something special.”
Audiences agreed that the song was pretty special. “Maybe It’s Time” peaked at number 93 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. In a Buzzfeed News interview, Isbell said that the song is special because it comes from the heart.
“[Cooper] wanted that song to be something that was from my heart and I think it relates to the character in the way that the song discusses how your salvation really comes from within.” Isbell continues, “Somebody else can help you find yourself or can help give you the confidence to become the person that you always should’ve been, but they can’t really save you or redeem you.”