Drax Project is a quartet from Wellington, New Zealand comprising vocalist Shaan Singh, guitarist Ben O'Leary, bassist Sam Thomson and drummer Matt Beachen. This fizzy pop track released in November 2017 was their breakthrough song, peaking at #15 on their home country's singles chart.
The song tells the story of Singh rolling out of bed after a wild night out, only to realize he's at someone else's house.
Woke up late
Somewhere far away from home
Pockets empty wallet gone
The sun is streaming all on down on my face
The song was inspired by a real-life incident when Singh left a late-night rehearsal with The Drax Project, intending to catch the last bus home. However, when he arrived at the stop, the singer realized he'd left all his money at O'Leary's house. It was midnight and he had no alternative but to ask if he could crash for the night. "I remember Ben was really angry with me," Singh recalled to the BBC.
Rather than going to sleep, the pair started doodling around on the guitar. Within 20 minutes they'd written the verse and chorus of "Woke Up Late."
"Woke Up Late" won Single of the Year at the 2018 New Zealand Music Awards.
It had crossed Drax Project's minds that the song could work as a duet with a female voice telling her side of her story. They recruited Hailee Steinfeld to jump on a remix, which was released on January 21, 2019. This new version reached the top 20 in Australia and also charted on the US Mainstream Top 40.