John and Shelby’s paths first crossed when the former relocated Ms. Merry’s ‘When Darkness Comes’ from its folk/country origins to the heart-and-centre of 2022’s international clubfloors. Since John and the Ohio-born/Nashville-based singer have stayed in contact, always contemplating a follow up to its success. The perfect opportunity presented itself with the ten-year anniversary of Shelby’s ‘Young Guns’ album, and a plan was hatched to thoroughly reimagine one of John’s favourites from its number.

Shelby’s soulfully wistful essence meets John’s floor-galvanising studio work, as ‘Steady & Stronger’s transatlantic collaboration hits today.

It was the song’s introspective braveries that first singled it out to John. ‘Steady & Stronger’ taps into the coming-of-age reflections that follow adulthood’s first meaningful happenings … the insight they bring, but also the toll they can take.

Musically, John’s highlights each verse/chorus progression with its own individual element. 303-seeded bass drives her opening words, while his cascading melodies emotively catch Shelby’s ‘my God, I’m coming home’ refrain. Further in, the raw, recalled honesty of ‘being young’ and sometimes being ‘too terrified to speak’, are underpinned by his long, drawn strings. Finally, John gates the synths and re-engages the drums, as tech jabs and multi-layered vocals emphasise Shelby’s spiritually elevating ‘so this voice will sing harder, steady & stronger’ hook.

A stunningly executed production, brilliantly playing to its song’s strengths, ‘Steady & Stronger’ drops today. Find it wherever the finest music is sold or streamed [].

  1. John Askew & Shelby Merry – Steady & Stronger (Original Mix)
    02. John Askew & Shelby Merry – Steady & Stronger (Extended Mix)