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Photo: Colin Lane / Courtesy of Reybee

The Grahams Tell Their Daughter “Don’t Give Your Heart Away” (premiere)

The Grahams' sweet-sounding "Don't Give Your Heart Away" is rooted in struggle, inspired by the couples' complicated journey leading up to their daughter's birth.

Jersey-born, New York-raised, and Nashville-based, the Grahams subvert genre expectations on their upcoming album, Kids Like Us. Released last March, Kids Like Us is equal parts cinematic pop, heartfelt indie folk, and beyond, finding its place in-between the geographical influences of their comings-up. Its slick production makes for an easy escape while listening, but the couple crafted Kids Like Us, in part, to bear their most genuine selves. At times, that means tackling subject matter that isn’t quite so easy to elucidate, as is the case with “Don’t Give Your Heart Away”.

The Grahams’ dreamy single takes cues from classic pop music, exploring a modernity that is nevertheless informed by the likes of Brian Wilson and Patsy Cline. The sweet-sounding song features a harrowing, personal topic for the duo to convey, however, as Alyssa Graham tells PopMatters.

“In its most simplistic form, this song was written (in collaboration with our long time friend and co-writer BMC) as a cautionary tale for our daughter who at the time had not yet been conceived. However, it’s meaning goes far deeper and, at its core, is much more of a personal struggle than may come across upon first listen. Having met when we were seven and ten years old, and fallen in love soon after, Doug and I have lived a fairy tale romance. We have indeed already spent many lifetimes together and have been very fortunate. But, during the making of, Kids Like Us, which explores our coming of age together in the Jersey Suburbs, Doug and I were struggling in our ‘private’ life to have a baby.”

“We had in fact been struggling with this in silence for a few years. After many failed attempts at IVF we had pretty much given up hope yet even during the recording of this record we would sneak off into the bathroom or the van or even the control room so that Doug could give me an injection in my abdomen or my leg or my butt. It was painful and laborious and seemed somewhat futile after so many failed attempts (It’s unfortunately something women don’t talk about openly enough as it is indeed an intense emotional roller coaster). Regardless, we persevered and after each evening of sneaking off for shots I would go right back into the vocal booth and sing my heart out. It wasn’t easy for my sweetheart either who had wanted a baby since we were first married many moons ago.

“Alas, we were among the lucky ones. We conceived our daughter Georgette via our fourth round of IVF during the making of this record. We were thrilled and yet very very cautious to get attached. It was a very high risk pregnancy (though we continued to mix and master the record and tour as safely as possible) and Georgie came a month early due to complications and spent the first several weeks in ICU. ‘Don’t Give Your Heart Away’, is as much a cautionary tale for our daughter as it is a reflection on the emotional turmoil we were enduring to have her. Every time we went through the process we had to remind ourselves that the odds were against us and that giving our hearts away and allowing ourselves to dream was a danger we needed to protect ourselves from. Our daughter is now 18 months old and perfect and featured as the light of our lives in this beautiful video.”

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