Olé

Album: Yet to be titled (2016)

Songfacts®:

  • This stripped-back slice of reggae was written and produced by John Newman's friend and regular creative partner Calvin Harris. The pair also teamed up on Harris' 2014 hit single "Blame."
  • The song was written from the perspective of a guy with a secret lover who is cheating on her partner. The lyrics prompted speculation that they are about Harris' breakup with Taylor Swift and the songstress' immediate hookup with the British actor Tom Hiddleston - the implication is that Swift had started seeing Hiddleston before she split with Harris. The American songstress is known for writing songs about her failed romances, but this song's release immediately provoked internet chatter that the Scot had pipped her to the post with this cut.
  • The song's opening line, "Low key, you won't tell none of your friends about me," potentially points to Hiddleston, who is well known for his villainous character Loki in The Avengers.
  • Newman was noncommittal about the song's subject matter when he guested on the Radio 1 Breakfast Show. Host Nick Grimshaw asked him directly if this is Calvin Harris' breakup song.

    Newman replied: "Ahhhh... I just went in and sang the song, the lyrics that he'd wrote. I sang them."

    The DJ persisted: "But surely you'd say to him, 'what's this about?"

    "I just had to relate to it in my own way," replied Newman.
  • Sources close to Harris denied the track is about the Scottish DJ's breakup with Swift, telling US Weekly that the lyrics were written months before they split.
  • John Newman explained to Genius how Harris came up with the song.

    "Calvin Harris presented the lyrics to me in a very strong Scottish accent singing in bad falsetto. He had it written down on a piece of paper in a studio. That was it really. The first day he played it to me it was a groover and I didn't like it. I was just like, I don't know what it is. And he said, 'It's just a vibe, just a vibe. Just enjoy it.'

    And then he played it for ten minutes looping around, just the guitar part. I'm still not getting this. And I got in a bit of a huff, a bit of a mood. He said, 'Right, right we'll try something else,' so we went in the next day and he wanted to continue. Overnight, he wrote all of these stunning, incredible lyrics for these amazing melodies. Once I heard that I said, 'OK, I'm yours.'"
  • Regarding Harris' inspiration for the lyrics, Newman said: "In any situation, Calvin could tell me a backstory, but it wouldn't matter because I'm the one who's got to sing it. But look we've all fallen in love with somebody's girlfriend or whatever. We've all gotten into messy relationship situations and that's how I related to it by having done that in the past."

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