If I Knew

Album: The Heart Wants (2021)
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Songfacts®:

  • Jo Harrop sings this melancholy ballad over a piano-and-string arrangement. She told Songfacts the story behind it:

    "'If I Knew' was written during lockdown 2020. A time when the world was in pain, and came to some kind of a standstill, especially for live music. Personally, I was incredibly upset to lose all my live work, and everything that I had worked so hard for, but I have always tried to make the best of each situation that life has thrown at me.

    I am a jazz singer who started off as a singer-songwriter, and this was a place I wanted to get back to, but had never quite been able to. I had a lot of books with half-finished ideas scribbled down and in my head, in my heart, I needed to say so much. Several years of losing close loved ones and fractured relationships had filled me with so much emotion, but I never seemed to be able to write down what I wanted to say.

    In the stillness of lockdown, I started to reflect. I began to allow myself time to process a lot of stuff. One day somewhere in lockdown, I just wrote down, 'If I knew that would be the last time, I would have held you much closer.'

    The rest of the lyrics poured out. It was quite confessional in a way. What would I say to you if I could see you again? In a way, its an apology."
  • Harrop worked on this song with two UK musicians: Jamie McCredie, who produced the track, and Paul Edis, who composed it with her. It started with the lyric, which Harrop very nervously sent to Edis, who within 24 put music to the track. From there, they recorded a demo remotely due to the pandemic.
  • Jo Harrop started as a session singer for artists like Rod Stewart and Enrique Iglesias. When she moved to London from America, she signed a record deal and released the acclaimed album Weathering The Storm in 2020. "If I Knew" was a creative breakthrough for her 2021 album The Heart Wants. She explained: "This song was like the key that unlocked my ability to songwrite again, and I began the journey to make the album, The Heart Wants – I promise you listeners that there are more lighthearted songs on the album too!"

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