Kanye West Premieres ‘Only One’ Featuring Paul McCartney
Kanye West debuted his new single “Only One” that features the legendary Sir Paul McCartney on his site to ring in 2015.
This autotune ballad is sung from the perspective of Kanye’s deceased mother, Donda West, “as she looks upon her son from Heaven.” The lyrics tell of a sad reality that Kanye’s mom never got to meet her granddaughter, “Tell Nori about me.”
The song was produced by Kanye West and Mike Dean, and credits Paul McCartney, Kirby Lauryen and Kanye as writers.
The press release says that “Only One” is the first of “several” collaborations with McCartney.
In early 2014, Paul McCartney and Kanye West first began working together in a small bungalow in Los Angeles. The process that would result in “Only One” began with a simple brainstorming session between the two: With McCartney improvising on the keyboards and Kanye vocally sketching and shaping ideas in a stream-of-consciousness riff.
When they played back the recording afterward, something remarkable happened. Kanye sat there with his family, holding his daughter North on his lap, and listened to his vocals, singing, “Hello, my only one . . . ” And in that moment, not only could he not recall having sung those words, but he realized that perhaps the words had never really come from him.
The process of artistic creation is one that does not involve thinking, but often channeling. And he understood in that moment that his late mother, Dr. Donda West, who was also his mentor, confidante, and best friend, had spoken through him that day.
“My mom was singing to me, and through me to my daughter,” he said, astonished.
The small group in the room kept listening: “Hello my Only One…just like the morning sun…you’ll keep on rising till the sky knows your name.”
To some, Kanye’s insight didn’t immediately register. But then he explained: The name Kanye, which his mother had chosen, means “only one.”
And then it dawned on everyone there: Something powerful and undeniable had occurred through the power of music and of letting go. A message had been passed down through generations.
Here are the lyrics.
Kim Kardashian approves.
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Everyone asks me what my favorite Kanye song is. It's Only One. Kanye felt like his mom was singing thru him to our daughter. This song makes me cry every time I hear it. He releases it at midnight tonight on iTunes. "Only One" by Kanye West Featuring Paul McCartney. Photo by Inez and Vinoodh
For the first time since 2009, Kanye West went an entire year without releasing a new studio album. Kanye’s upcoming seventh solo album is is reported to have 12 tracks featuring “mostly a mixture of soul samples and tamed ‘Yeezus’-esque darkness… nothing abrasive.” Ye previously described the LP as his “Born in the U.S.A.” Artists rumored to have made collabos on the album include Drake, James Blake, Rihanna, Q-Tip, Rick Rubin, Hudson Mohawke, and Evian Christ.
The single is available on iTunes.