Locked Away

Album: What Dreams Are Made Of (2015)
Charted: 2 6
  • songfacts ®
  • Lyrics
  • R. City is a songriting/production duo consisting of St. Thomas, Virgin Islands brothers Theron and Timothy Thomas, who are also known as Rock City and Planet VI. Their resumé also features hit songs recorded by the likes of Miley Cyrus ("We Can't Stop"), Rihanna ("Pour It Up") and Nicki Minaj ("Only").
  • This pop-reggae track was released as a single by the Thomas brothers. The tune was produced by Dr. Luke and Cirkut, and features vocals by Maroon 5's Adam Levine. It became their first own song to reach the Hot 100.
  • The song is a real story, which comes from a real place. Theron Thomas told The Boombox: "For those who don't know, our dad was locked up for five years, so that's pretty much what inspired the song. My mom held it down the whole time, they were telling stories like my mom would always go to the jail and visit him and she would take me and my brother with her - we were too young to remember it fully."

    "It was such a touching story for us. Just looking at my mom and my dad like, wow, I love my momma for that and they're still together to this day. That's pretty much what inspired this song and we felt to be able to share that story with the world and outside of just the story being our story."
  • Theron Thomas explained how they got Adam Levine to be the guest vocalist: "Dr. Luke did [Maroon 5's] 'Sugar.' Dr. Luke was like 'I have this group' and to our surprise, Adam had heard of us before and was like, 'Yeah, I've heard of Rock City, they're dope. Let me hear the records first before I agree to do anything. Let me hear the music.' We sent him some records and it's so funny, he loved two songs. There were two songs where he said he would do either and we just thought 'Locked Away' would be perfect."
  • The song features a writing credit for Toni Tennille, because of its similarity in melody to Captain & Tennille's 1980 US chart-topper "Do That to Me One More Time."
  • The Miami-based director Gil Green directed the music video, which shows various people struggling with poverty and injustice. The video uses an extended version of the song, adding in a 20-second intro that sets up the storylines with dialogue, and a break in the middle with another scene with dialogue. The album and single versions start right in with the chorus.

    Green specializes in videos for hip-hop/R&B artists; he's done several for Rick Ross and has also worked with Lil Wayne, Sean Kingston, Akon and Birdman.
Please sign in or register to post comments.

Comments: 1

  • Shalini from CanadaThis song uses 2 samples
    Adam Levine's part sounds like Captain and Tenille's Do That To Me One More Time while R City's part takes on some characteristics from BSB's As Long As you love me.
see more comments

Thomas DolbySongwriter Interviews

He wrote "She Blinded Me With Science" so he could direct a video about a home for deranged scientists.

Philip CodySongwriter Interviews

A talented lyricist, Philip helped revive Neil Sedaka's career with the words to "Laughter In The Rain" and "Bad Blood."

16 Songs With a HeartbeatSong Writing

We've heard of artists putting their hearts into their music, but some take it literally.

Scott StappSongwriter Interviews

The Creed lead singer reveals the "ego and self-fulfillment" he now sees in one of the band's biggest hits.

Jimmy JamSongwriter Interviews

The powerhouse producer behind Janet Jackson's hits talks about his Boyz II Men ballads and regrouping The Time.

Peter LordSongwriter Interviews

You may not recognize his name, but you will certainly recognize Peter Lord's songs. He wrote the bevy of hits from Paula Abdul's second album, Spellbound.