Hear Meghan Kabir’s ‘Moody, Dark’ Cover of Motley Crue’s ‘Live Wire’
One of the biggest surprises in Motley Crue's The Dirt movie is hearing their early single "Live Wire" transformed from an aggressive riff-rocker into a hypnotic ballad by Meghan Kabir.
The songwriter, mutli-instrumentalist and performer has collaborated with superstars like Kelly Clarkson and Selena Gomez in the past. She's also worked with Motley Crue, adding vocals to their 2015 single "All Bad Things."
Her version of "Live Wire" came about through her work with Nikki Sixx's Sixx:A.M. bandmate James Michael, with whom she's worked on songs for Papa Roach and Hammerfall. "He said [director] Jeff [Tremaine] and Nikki were looking for some covers for the film and asked if I wanted to give it a shot," she recalls.
Kabir tells UCR that her "goal was simply to take a timeless song and re-imagine it in a completely new way while honoring the heart of the song. Covers can be tricky business, as you have to really be mindful in a way that won’t piss fans off. The flip side being, if you’re going to do a cover, don’t just do the cover … that’s already been done. It’s a balancing act. But to me, as an artist giving it your own flavor is what it’s all about."
Tremaine loved the results, explaining to UCR that he was thrilled by Kabir's cover because it "re-invents one of their songs and turns it into a moody, dark thing. I love it, because it's even contemporary and doesn't fit the time. ... It's just perfect for that scene."
You can hear Kabir's cover of "Live Wire" below.
Even with positive feedback from the Crue camp, Kabir worried her version wouldn't be released since the movie spent several years in pre-production purgatory.
"I was thrilled when I read an article last year saying it was green lit and finally in production," she recalls. "It wasn’t until fall, when the music supervisors reached out, did I know [my cover] was still in the mix. Even at that point I was holding my breath a bit. I always say nothing is ever certain in this biz until I’m listening to the song on the radio or in the movie-theater seat."
The first time Kabir saw The Dirt, she almost missed her song. "I was so immersed in the film, I had forgotten to keep an eye out for the song," she says. "When it came on, I had a disoriented, sort of deer-in-headlights moment where I couldn’t figure out what I was recognizing that sounded strangely familiar. My brother started tapping me on the shoulder saying, 'This is the scene!'
"That feeling never goes away, no matter how many times it’s happened with various placements, it’s always so thrilling to see how the producers have chosen to incorporate the music. But this one was significant to me. … I could be wrong, but at that point, hadn’t heard any female voices in the film, so it definitely jumped out as a viewer. I’ve been flooded with new fans and tons of messages saying it hit people in a similar way, how it was a perfect marriage of song to scene. It’s been really exciting to witness its reach and impact and am super grateful."
Kabir's advice for aspiring songwriters is "lots and lots of hard work … rinse and repeat. I can’t really say it ever gets easier, but my hope is that I’ll have one of those moments I’ve seen so many of my peers have.
"The music business is a hustle, but I love it too much," she continues. "I started out as an artist, and after getting dropped from my label home, Warner Bros., I started getting traction as a songwriter for other artists. I think people wanted to cut my songs because they sounded like an artist wrote them. I really have just been writing and singing songs I myself like and hope people will keep wanting to record them. This season of my life, I’m open to whatever the future brings, whether it’s performing or writing for others, I just want to make music I love, have an audience and outlet for my art and make people feel something."
To that end, Kabir recently moved to Los Angeles, and says she has "a handful of pop releases coming out in the coming months, but can’t quite talk about any of them yet." She also recorded a new version of Motley Crue's "Shout at the Devil," which may turn up online sometime in the near future.
You can keep up to date on all Kabir's activities at her Instagram.
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