Jackson Morgan, K-Kov, and Keith Urban: How A Dream Team Came Together with Kobalt
It’s a beautiful thing when two songwriters serendipitously connect to create an incredible song. While some of the best songs of all time have been written by one person, most are collaborative efforts, showcasing how creators can push, stretch, and build on each other’s work. That’s why Creative teams exist at music companies, bridging the gap between talented artists and songwriters.
At Kobalt, our creative team takes a somewhat unconventional approach to these partnerships and discoveries. We go beyond pitching our clients ideas that we know they’ll want; we pitch them ideas and people that will further their career and broaden their songwriting horizons. Our clients get to know the entire creative team around the world, developing relationships and trust that can sometimes take them in directions they never expected, all in the process of achieving their goals.
On that note, Sue Drew, our GM of Creative and Acquisitions, shares how our team put together a promising young songwriter, a talented producer on the rise, and one of the biggest stars in country music:
In 2014, a young songwriter by the name of Jackson Morgan sent me a simple demo of a track called “Habit of You.” It had no bridge, and was just a rough cut of the song it would one day become. Jackson wanted my opinion of the track. Even in its rough state, I was blown away by the song; it was outstanding, so I encouraged him to finish it.
“"Habit of You" took many forms on its transition from steering wheel voice memo to final demo. In my quest to refine the idea, I had internally categorized the melody and lyric as an r&b/pop song, limiting the possibilities of who might perform it.”
At around the same time, Nitzan “K-Kov” Kaikov, a talented up-and-coming writer/producer, was sending these incredibly lush productions to his publisher, Striking Coin, who happened to be a client of ours at Kobalt. I had encouraged K-Kov and Jackson to work together on developing some songs. The results were always worthwhile.
So, I talked to the head of Striking Coin and convinced him to get K-Kov on production for “Habit of You.” After some weeks of back and forth, we finally made it happen, and the two talented creators finished the bridge and produced the song. It was stunning! Jackson’s vocals and songwriting mixed perfectly with K-Kov’s contributions.
Fast forward a bit, and I was in a meeting with Dan McCarroll, president of Warner Bros. Records. I played him a lot of songs, including “Habit of You” and others created by the team of Jackson and K-Kov. Dan’s initial reaction was that the two should be working with Keith Urban, who he has a close relationship with. Although neither Jackson nor K-Kov had dabbled in country music (despite Nashville being Jackson’s birthplace), who could turn down the opportunity to write with one of the biggest stars in country music today?
“Growing up in Tel Aviv, and then moving to Los Angeles, I never thought I would work with an Aussie cowboy superstar in Nashville. I’m grateful for the opportunity to work with a real deal artist, and human being, like Keith Urban.”
Nitzan “K-Kov” Kaikov
Keith believed in Dan’s instincts and listened to the songs himself; he was in. The three creators, all from different worlds, were able to collaborate on 2 songs over the next few weeks before Jackson pulled out his ace in the hole: “Habit of You.” Keith immediately fell in love with the track, even playing it for his wife, who said it was her new favorite song that he had ever played for her.
The rest, as they say, is history: Keith recorded the song with K-Kov’s production, and it became one of the highlights of Ripcord, his #1 Country Album released in May 2016.
“Habit of You” was created thanks to a lot of talent, and the right calls and connections from the Kobalt creative team. This is just one of the many examples of how taking a personal and collective interest in our creators has allowed us to bridge genre gaps, connect legends with rising stars, and facilitate the most important act in the music industry: creating.
Take a listen to the trio's final product: Keith Urban's stunning track "Habit of You," off of his hit album Ripcord.