Braided Hair

Album: 1 Giant Leap (2002)

Songfacts®:

  • 1 Giant Leap are British musicians Jamie Catto and Duncan Bridgeman. A variety of guest vocalists appear on the album, and on this track the vocals are by Speech (from Arrested Development) and Neneh Cherry. Says Speech: "'Braided Hair' was, musically, a 1 Giant Leap creation. And they reached out to me. The concept of that group is pretty cool. Those guys basically travel around the world, and they reach out to artists, philosophers, spiritualists, you name it - different tribal leaders - and they just talk to them about certain issues. Well, they had reached out to me and asked if I could be involved in a project. And when I saw the scope of the project and the boldness of how big this project was, like what they were trying to accomplish, I did really think it's one giant leap. I thought it was incredible, and I was honored to do it. It wasn't for pay. I mean, I've gotten paid from it now, but when we first started it had nothing to do with money, it was just a passion, something for the passion of music and the opportunity to do something creative. So they came to Atlanta and they had the track of "Braided Hair." They asked me to pick from a few different tracks what I thought I'd be inspired to write to, and that was the one I liked. That song was very easy to write. They literally came over to my house that same night, I wrote the entire song, they filmed the video for the song that same night. And then they recorded all the guests that were on the song, like Neneh Cherry. Ulali is a group from India who sang on the song. And all of them I'd never met at the time. I've met Neneh Cherry, but at the time they weren't there, and sort of like you do cartoon animated movies, we just all did our parts in our separate places.

    The lyrics 'We Might survive as brothers,' that was written by Jamie, who was one of the members of One Giant Leap. And I just sang that part. The rest of it - or at least all my parts that I sang - was just what I came up with at the time. It was really one of those clear cut inspiration moments, because they loved everything that I wrote. They thought, as England people say, I was brilliant. They're from the UK, and it just worked out right. I have now since done their second album, and it wasn't easy. They came back to me and was like, 'Hey, we need you to write a great hit.' I never do good when people tell me that, because I never really write songs to think of them as hits, although I've written some hits. It was like forcing teeth out of my mouth to try to get a great song. I think we did do a great job, though, we did some good stuff. But that 'Braided Hair' song was like butter, smooth, nice and easy." (Check out our full interview with Speech.)

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