Amy MacDonald wrote this song with her bass player Jimmy Sims and his songwriting partner Ben Parker. It was the first of a number of tracks that the trio penned for her Under Stars album.
Amy MacDonald wrote all the words and music on her first three albums. She also wrote the first two songs for her fourth album, Under Stars, the same way. She told The Sun: "With my first three albums I did everything on my own. It was what I was used to and where I felt comfortable. I would write the lyrics and music and hide the songs from everyone until I felt confident enough for anyone to hear them. When it came to album four, I'd already written two songs this way - 'Prepare To Fall' and 'Leap Of Faith.'"
"One day, my good friend and bass player Jimmy Sims and I shared a cab journey to Heathrow Airport in rush-hour traffic," MacDonald continued. "We covered every subject imaginable and spoke of the feelings of self-doubt we often share. Jimmy told me he was going to start writing with our friend Ben and that he was extremely nervous about it. I empathized with him and before I knew it, I was asking if it would make it easier if I came along and we all did it together."
"I don't really know what came over me in that minute but I'm glad it happened," she added. "The main thing I learned was to stop taking so much on my shoulders. Jimmy, Ben and I all wanted the same outcomes from these writing sessions. We wanted to create great songs that we loved and it was so refreshing to have two right-hand men both fighting my corner."
This song was influenced by The Boss. MacDonald explained:
"I've always been a fan of Bruce Springsteen. He is an incredible performer and I was very lucky to spend a bit of time with him when we were both performing at Hyde Park a few years ago. I also regularly sneak a Bruce cover into my set list when I'm touring. Automatic was the first song I had ever co-written and we decided that we were going to try to write a song in the vein of The Boss. The song has moved on quite a bit from the original demo but the influence is still there."
The song's performance music video was directed by short-form filmmaker Chris Turner from Favourite Colour: Black. The clip was shot in a high-tech testing room.
"We found inspiration for this video in its title 'Automatic'," said Turner. "As Amy's performance is the driving force in the film, the idea was to capture her in a pristine environment based on high-tech testing rooms where vehicle engine sounds are monitored and analysed."
The video risked being jeopardized, when MacDonald's co-star fell ill just before the shoot. Fortunately, the brother of the singer's manager stepped in at the last minute to fill the role.