Rick Rubin Discloses How God Inspired Johnny Cash’s Performance
After producing seven records together, Rick Rubin immediately knew the track that he helped Johnny Cash tap into his emotions and sang from the heart. Here’s what Rubin revealed to Jay Shetty about the song on his podcast:
“The first example that comes to mind is we were doing a cover of the song ‘The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face’ with Johnny Cash, and he read the lyrics and said, ‘I don’t know if I could sing this song. I don’t really feel these words.'”
To get Cash to sing from the heart, Rick took a different approach to the track, and instead of singing about a woman, he advised the singer to sing it to God. He added:
“I said, ‘Well, how about if it’s a devotional song to God?’ He’s like, ‘I could sing that song.’ When he changed it to not singing it to a woman but singing it to God, he could tap into the energy of the song, and he felt the vibration; he felt the trueness to him in singing it.”
Even though the song could have been interpreted to different meanings, whether it be God or a woman, Cash sang in a way that made everyone believe in his words. Rick talked to Channel 4 at the start of the year, where he said:
“I think one of Johnny’s greatest strengths as an artist was his ability to take a material and sing it in a way where we believe this is what he’s saying, we believe him.”
You can watch Rick Rubin’s interview with Jay Shetty and listen to Johnny Cash’s cover of ‘The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face’ below.