Start a Fire

Album: La La Land (2016)

Songfacts®:

  • This song was co-written and recorded by John Legend for the musical movie La La Land. The singer also served as one of the executive producers for the film and plays a successful mainstream jazz bandleader called Keith. Ryan Gosling stars as jazz traditionalist Sebastian.
  • Legend penned the song with British songwriter Marius De Vries who penned several of Sugababes UK hits, La La Land composer Justin Hurwitz and actress Angelique Cinelu. Asked what instruction the director Damien Chazelle gave for the tune, Legend replied:

    "The main instruction was make it a fun song that you can see as a single that still has some jazz influence, but could tell it was leaning in more of a pop direction than most music you would call jazz.

    It had to feel like it was still good and a viable alternative, but Sebastian would feel like it was selling out a bit. It was having to thread the needle because you don't want it to be so bad that it's embarrassing, but you want it to be something that Sebastian wouldn't want to make. Something he wouldn't be proud of."

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