Laura Marano‘s latest song is all about wishing you could change someone but knowing you really can’t. “Wake me up when you wake up,” she sings on the chorus, though Marano adds an important clarification: “if you ever change.” With this kind of specificity, it’s no surprise the tune found its origin in Marano’s own life.
As she told MTV News, she was frustrated during a “super tumultuous time” in her professional life about three years ago. “From that frustration came a super honest and vulnerable song,” she said. But working on the song — and the path it led her down — has proven to be a boon for her musical explorations.
“It was really different than anything I had worked on before. I even sounded different, which at first, I wasn’t even sure that I liked. Cut to me hearing the finished song for the first time, and I became obsessed with it. I literally changed my whole sound because of this song.”
She previously told MTV News that her 2016 song “Boombox” could be considered the end result of “if Maroon 5 and 5 Seconds of Summer had a female love child.” “When You Wake Up,” on the other hand, is decidedly less peppy, probing much deeper into confusion, heartbreak, and the unfortunate uncertainty of being caught in a loop with someone.
“I’ve realized that sometimes, you just have to leave,” Marano said. “I used to hate change (I still don’t love it because I get attached to things/people), but I now know it’s necessary for us as human beings to grow. When you are in any sort of relationship with someone who won’t change, they will end up affecting your own ability to change, and therefore your ability to grow/mature.”
As social distancing and self-isolation has become the new norm, Marano is dealing with a new kind of change: releasing a new song while doing virtual promotion, including performing it alongside her boyfriend, Thomas Macken, for Billboard. She’s also taking this time to get caught up with life.
“Luckily, I’m able to do a lot of my job at home, so I’m really grateful for that. I’m writing, recording, and constantly planning my life,” she said, “but like, I’m also super grateful for TV — I’m currently watching the Marvel movies in order right now, so that, my friend, has truly been a commitment.”
“Charlie (the cutout) is a very close friend, and honestly every day with him (the cutout) is an adventure,” she said. “But yes, we do have more adventures planned.”
Listen to “When You Wake Up” — “the first song of many songs,” as Marano revealed on Instagram this week — above.