Tim McGraw on What Sparked His "Change of Heart" to Create 'Free Solo' Theme Song
Despite being originally hesitant to do so, the country singer penned "Gravity" after being "enthralled" with the documentary about Alex Honnold’s journey to climbing the world’s most famous rock in Yosemite National Park.
"For me, I think of myself loosely as a singer first and a songwriter second. I don’t consider myself this prolific songwriter," country star Tim McGraw told The Hollywood Reporter Songwriter Roundtable. "I’ve always written and I’ve written a couple songs for movies."
McGraw was first approached to write a song for the E. Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin National Geographic documentary Free Solo — centered on free soloist climber Alex Honnold’s journey to climbing the world’s largest rock in Yosemite National Park — while in the middle of his Soul2Soul tour with wife and fellow country artist Faith Hill.
"My first answer was, I just don’t have time. I don’t think I have the brain power right now with everything I’m doing. And secondly, I don’t know anything about mountain climbing. I’m afraid of heights. I don’t understand why you’d do that to start with," he said.
But after viewing the film, McGraw had a change of heart and was "immediately hooked on it, on Alex and his focus, his journey and the bigger picture of how you can pursue something in life and succeed at something with intent and purpose."
He added: "I was so enthralled by what he was doing and how you could believe that much in yourself to put yourself in a position where you cannot make a mistake. So that’s what really got me."
After teaming up with friend and songwriter Lori McKenna, McGraw sent off the track, saying, "'I don’t want you to feel like you’re married to me. If you like it, you like it and if you don’t, you don’t. We’re big kids. We can move on.' After about a week of emailing and texting back and forth, they liked the song."
McGraw also discussed the impact music has had on his life, saying, "Everything good that’s happened to me, in my life, has come from music. Particularly in my case, country music."
"I met my wife through it, which was the first turning point in my life into a real understanding of what love is and what a future could be, and finding out who you are in a lot of ways, and discovering the bad sides of yourself and the good sides of yourself. It’s such therapy," he explained.