Stay High

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Songfacts®:

  • "Stay High" is Brittany Howard's ode to her father K.J. Howard. She recalls the joyous nights when they'd make music together after he got home from the "grind and hustle" of his job.

    And we smile and laugh and jump and clap
    And yell and holler and just feel great


    "My family didn't have a lot of money, so music was a free activity," Howard told the BBC. "We could dance or we could sing with it, or we could play on buckets with it."
  • Jazz percussionist Nate Smith plays the drums with chopsticks on this track. Howard told the BBC she's not interested in technical perfection.

    "You know, you don't need the best gear, the most expensive stuff, to make something wonderful. In fact, it's a lot more fun, being creative with things that are kind of worthless junk."
  • This became Brittany Howard's first solo #1 single when it climbed to the summit of Billboard's Adult Alternative Songs Airplay chart dated October 12, 2019. It marked her second visit to the top of the tally after being part of Alabama Shakes' leader "Hold On" in June 2012.
  • The song's music video stars Brooklyn Nine-Nine's Terry Crews, who agreed to feature after Howard sent him a personal letter. We see the actor and comedian portray a worker who lip-syncs the song as he goes about his day. Howard herself appears throughout, playing a supermarket cashier and other roles. The visual was shot in Howard's home town of Athens, Alabama and also co-stars her family and friends.

    "Terry Crews plays a man who isn't out to change the world, he plays a man who just wants to come home to those who understand and love him best," Howard explained. "We see his inner beauty, grace and humanity in a place that is so often misunderstood."

    Crews' resumé of music video cameos also includes Kendrick Lamar's "These Walls" and Muse's "Pressure" and "Algorithm."
  • Reflecting on the song in November 2020, Brittany Howard told ABC Audio it has taken on a new meaning because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    "'Stay High' is more appropriate than ever," she said. "How do you stay positive during a time where you can't really touch your loved ones or go see them, hop on a plane or do whatever you wanna do, go meet 'em at a bar?"
  • This won the Grammy Awards for Best Rock Song at the 2021 ceremony. Unusual for this category, four of the five nominees were written and performed by female singers.
  • Brittany Howard teamed up with American actor and singer-songwriter Donald Glover, aka Childish Gambino, for a new version of the track. They recorded it for Howard's remix album Jaime Reimagined, a compilation of artists reimagining the songs of her Jaime album.

Comments: 1

  • Joellag from Ridgescrest Cai love this song and mqdly in love with brittany howard.
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