Why Don Diablo and Jessie J’s ‘Brave’ is This Summer’s Healthy Hit

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Last year, Don Diablo and Jessie J made the music charts with their track, ‘Brave’. With COVID-19 still at large and shaping 2020 into a year full of surprises, the topic of mental health has become even more prevalent in our everyday routine, particularly for music artists.

It just so happens that we stumbled back upon this amazing track, which not only has a summer vibe but that kick of inspiration that can help keep our motivation at high-levels, whether we are working out from home or just trying to get through the day.

Diablo dedicated the song on Twitter last year to “all our BRAVE people out there struggling with LIFE in any way, shape or form,” as reported by Billboard

“Sometimes, you just need an extra push to have more courage in life and more courage to chase your dreams or to simply stand up for what you believe in,” Diablo shared upon the track’s initial release.

Written by Don Schipper (Don Diablo), Edvard Førre Erfjord, Henrik Barman Michelsen, James Newman, Janee Bennett, Jess Glynne, Martijn van Sonderen, and Sophie Francis Cook, ‘Brave’ gives us all the energy we need to take on whatever challenge we face during the quarantine and social distancing requirements. 

<embed video> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CiWyJfkZpl0

Last month, the ‘Brave’ singer announced to Women’s Health Magazine that she’s been putting in the work to keep her body in shape, starting with her diet. Last year, Jessie J opened up about her decision to go vegan and cut out sugar from her diet.

“So four years ago, I cut out sugar from my diet to try and stop bacteria from building up in my body,” she shared in an interview with Plant Based News. “Once I cut out sugar, I realized how  much I began to enjoy food when it was good for me–and it was balancing out everything–my health, my moods, my sleep.” 

A ‘Brave’ Summer

So, how did ‘Brave’ become one of the top hits of 2019, with well over 1 million streams on Spotify? We spoke with one of the writers, Henrik Barman Michelsen, about how the song came to be.

Michelsen is a member of Electric, the Norwegian songwriting and production duo, composed of Henrik Barman Michelsen and Edvard Førre Erfjord. Known for their work on Little Mix on their #1 UK hits Black Magic and Shout Out to My Ex, the latter of which won Single of the Year at the 2017 Brit Awards, as well as UK #1 I’ll Be There by Jess Glynne, they have worked with artists such as Olly Murs, Machine Gun Kelly, Hailee Steinfeld, The Wanted, Cheryl Cole, and Fifth Harmony.

“Honestly, Don was the finisher on this one,” Michelsen began to explain. “Our role was much more to do with the inception of the song. It started with Jess Glynne, Jin Jin, and Ed and me. It all came from a conversation where Jess told us about a fan she’d met who was struggling with a serious illness, and how she was so affected by their positive attitude. James and Sophie then joined into the endeavor, and it grew into the final song you now know it as, over three writing and recording sessions over the span of a few weeks. Our original idea sounded quite different when Don came in and reimagined it!”

According to the Electric artist, the power in Jess’s vocals combined with how she connected with the song made her the perfect fit for the track. If you are a fan of Diablo’s work, you may have noticed that this wasn’t a traditional Diablo track.

“The song itself wasn’t written as a dance track,” Michelsen interjected, “so perhaps that explains the reimagination I describe to you. It was written stripped back on a piano. I think when you write to an energetic instrumental, you pull from different parts of yourself as a writer than when you’re writing to a simple piano. The song also began with the title and concept as mentioned earlier, so it was born from a lyrical perspective, with the lyric and melody front and center.”

We were curious about what an average day was like with Electric and Diablo collaborating together on the project. What we learned was a bit surprising, but not uncommon to the industry.

“We’ve never actually never met Don. This isn’t unusual as collaborations go these days. The daily life of a writer and producer usually consists of getting together in the studio for collaboration, but in this case, the song was written at a writing camp in a big house in the countryside, outside London. Jess Glynne and her label set the entire thing up, where all the writers and producers lived in the house for a week. Their equipment was set up in separate rooms, working through the days and hanging out until the early hours. We came in for the final two days of the camp, and in those two days we did ‘Brave’, and also Jess’s single ‘I’ll Be There.’ We were set up in the cinema room. That camp had a great atmosphere. So many talented people and a lot of camaraderies.”

And Then There Were Two…An Electrifying Bond

Back in 2007, Michelsen, who was attending Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, met his band partner, Erfjord, which little did he know, would forge an electrifying bond.

“We met while attending university in Liverpool and were initially introduced because we’re both Norwegian. But we bonded over the music. Our tastes were complementary; we came from similar music backgrounds, but also listened to a lot of different music from each other.”

The two lived together, sharing a flat for their first year while studying, which is where their collaborative journey began.  “Sharing the flat for our first year is where we started collaborating, first with other students from the same university, and then gradually getting production and writing gigs outside of school. Back then, we were a trio, although the third member ended up moving back to Norway. We just had a great admiration for pop music that bound us together.”

The past five years for Electric, have been nothing less than exciting for both Michelsen and Erfjord. “It’s been an incredible time for us,” Michelsen emphasized. “Five years ago, we did Black Magic for Little Mix, and became heavily involved in that project and did several singles with them, which really helped us make our mark in the UK.

This allowed us to work with so many amazing talents, both in the UK and the U.S., allowing us to bring together with our management in LA, which in turn, helped us expand our circle of collaborators. Along the way, we’ve amassed three number one tracks on UK’s music charts, and a couple of top five spots as well as working on slightly more alternative projects like Aurora, who in turn inspired many U.S. pop acts, most notably, Billie Eilish. I’m so proud of what we’ve achieved; it’s something my younger self would be amazed by, and I count myself very lucky.”