For Robby Hecht, songwriting can be a clarifying experience. On his revealing upcoming album, the Nashville-based artist struggles with the realization that he’s been living with bipolar disorder his whole life. At times, this realization is comforting and, at others, alienating.
On the classic-country-sounding duet, “Soon I Was Sleeping,” Hecht examines the effects of his condition through the lens of an alcoholic and his wife — just to put a little distance between himself and the song.
“This is definitely one of the most difficult songs I’ve ever written,” Hecht confessed in an email exchange with CMT Edge. “I wrote the chorus pretty quickly and loved it, but I sat on it for close to three years before I had the courage to try to come up with verses that would hold up.”
Those verses needed to be short and sweet with no room for sugar-coating.
“I essentially had to describe the whole arc of a relationship ruined by alcoholism in eight lines,” he said.
Featuring a satisfying pedal-steel melody and Rose Cousins’ wounded but resolute vocal, “Soon I Was Sleeping” became a standout on an album full of self-discovery.
“There’s another song on the album called ‘The Sea and the Shore’ (a co-write with Amy Speace) that’s very similar thematically to ‘Soon I Was Sleeping,’” said Hecht. “The songs are very different in their imagery and characters, but both deal with the way inconsistency can ruin a relationship.
“This theme of inconsistency is what I identify with most closely on the record, and that definitely comes from living with bipolar and trying for so many years to figure out why it felt like I was two different people at the same time.”
Hecht’s self-titled album, scheduled for a March 25 release, sounds like he’s feeling complete and content. Pairing perceptive lyrics with a gentle but confident vocal, he slides between hook-driven roots pop and measured moodiness. Like two halves that add up to a whole.
Check out the CMT Edge premiere of Robby Hecht’s “Soon I Was Sleeping.”