Gabe Dixon Wants to Carry Your Burdens in New Song ‘Lay It on Me’ [Exclusive Premiere]
In his new song "Lay It on Me," singer-songwriter Gabe Dixon is offering support through a trying time: "If you're about to take the fall ... If you're about to blame yourself ... If you're about to lose your mind ... Lay it on me, lay it on me," he sings.
When it comes to his real-life relationships, though, the artist admits he's still learning to be that person more often.
"I guess we each have our own journey when it comes to loving and being in the world. I have tried recently to make more of an effort to think beyond myself and my own needs and, instead, to lift up those around me," Dixon tells The Boot. "I’m not always successful, but it’s something I strive for. Other people may give too much of themselves to others at the expense of their own health, and their challenge is to put themselves first more often."
Though plenty of listeners will find themselves and their loved ones in the lyrics of "Lay It on Me" -- premiering exclusively on The Boot -- Dixon wrote the song as a message to his partner. "[She] has given me so much of her love during the time we have been together," he says. "This song is a way of me saying, 'I want to carry your burdens, too; I want to lift you up the way you have done for me.'"
There's a broader message there as well, says Dixon: "It’s also a message to the world to say, 'Keep your head up. We got this. You’re not alone; we’re in this together.'"
"Lay It on Me" began as a melody -- what now is the chorus. "I loved the chords, the melody and the feel of it so much. I just kept playing it over and over, singing ... a lyric placeholder," Dixon remembers. When he brought the idea to a co-writing session with his friend Jamie Hartman, they "sort of mumbled our way into some chorus lyrics," as he describes it.
"First it was "Blame It on Me," but we changed it to "Lay It on Me" because that felt somehow sexier and more uplifting," Dixon continues. "From there, we wrote the verses, and the song ended up being really fun and very relevant to my situation ... We finished the song in an afternoon."
To create the "reverent and joyful, but also funky and fun" vibe of "Lay It on Me," Dixon enlisted singers Mike Hicks and LaSheena Taylor for chorus harmonies. Listeners will likely draw parallels to hits from mid-2000s pop-rockers such as Gavin DeGraw, as well as to some of Elton John's work. Dixon counts both John and piano great Ray Charles among his influences.
"Lay It on Me" is the lead song on and title track of Dixon's forthcoming new album. Lyrically, he says, it matches the rest of the record, which he wanted to "radiate more positivity" than past projects.
"[Sonically], some of the other songs may have more synthesizers or a 'slow burn,' steady kind of energy, but this one is just pure joy," Dixon shares. "A mid-tempo, keyboard-driven funk groove is right in my wheelhouse, so I love writing songs with that kind of feel."
Dixon, a Tennessee native, began playing the keyboard and similar instruments as a teenager, and studied classical piano at the University of Miami, where he started the Gabe Dixon Band with, among others, his roomate, Jano Rix, now of the Wood Brothers. He released his debut solo album in 2011.
"Personally, I have learned to trust my creative impulses more. I have gained more confidence in myself as a musician and artist ... I’ve lived some life. I know what I like and what I don’t. I know when a song I’ve written feels authentic to me and when it doesn’t, and I’ve learned that when I release music that resonates with me, it is more likely to resonate with others. And if not, hey, at least I’m releasing music that I love," Dixon says of how he's grown in the decade since that project. "I am so proud of what Dustin and I have done with this record. I love it, and I hope you do, too."
Dixon originally planned to release Lay It on Me -- produced by Dustin Ransom -- in 2020, but held off when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. He didn't change anything about the record during that time, "but these songs feel more relevant and appropriate to our current moment than they did a year ago," Dixon reflects.
"Lay It on Me" is due out widely on Friday (May 21). The album of the same name, meanwhile, is set for release on June 25.
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