What happens when two musical forces come together to create? Pure magic, usually. But while we all get to enjoy the end result on repeat, we rarely hear about the steps the artists took to get there. In E! News' new series Heart of A Beat, the stars pull back the curtain on the collaborative process behind their hit songs.
Just weeks after performing "This Is Us" live for the first time at the CMT Awards, it's been announced that the duo is bringing their dreamy collaboration to 34th Street as part of the 94th annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Broadcast live on Nov. 26, the annual festivities may look a little different this year—don't count on any major crowd shots—but there will still be three full hours of music and entertainment for the whole family, making the Parade the ultimate party destination this November.
The performance at the Parade caps off a banner year for both the song, which was released just days before the world went into quarantine back in early March, and Allen. The newcomer made history as the first Black artist to launch a career with two consecutive No. 1 singles on country radio. And that was before "This Is Us" was released, becoming his fastest consumed single yet with upwards of 30 million streams.
In honor of Allen and Cyrus taking part in this year's Turkey Day festivities, they're taking fans behind the scenes of their hit track in the latest installment of E! News' Heart of A Beat series. What did they learn about each other during the process? And who would they have hop on a remix if they could? Find out that and more below!
E! News: Do you remember the first time you met each other?
Jimmie Allen: Stagecoach in 2019.
Noah Cyrus: We actually met backstage at Stagecoach in 2019.
E!: Which song of each other's is your favorite?
NC: Love Jimmie's song "Best Shot."
E!: How did the song come to be? What input did you each bring?
JA: I brought who I am vocally to the parts of the songs that I sang. In terms of the song coming to be, her label brought the song to me.
NC: My A&R set up the original session and it was with friends, so I was down. It went through a few production changes before we got it to the right place.
E!: What was going through your mind writing/recording it?
JA: "This is a cool song, and I really like it." It was written by a lot of people I'm a fan of, and I always look forward to singing it with her.
NC: I was just having a good time writing it with some friends—Ilsey Juber, Tyler Hubbard from Florida Georgia Line, and D'Mile. I don't think, at the time, we had any plans for it.
E!: How long did it take for you to finish this song?
JA: Noah wrote it first, sent it over and then it took me a half hour to record my part.
NC: It kind of just came together in one session, probably about a few hours including my vocals. Jimmie added his vocals a few months later.
E!: What's your favorite lyric from the song?
JA: "All I really know is love ain't simple."
NC: "All I really know is love ain't simple."
E!: If you could bring in a guest artist for a remix of the song, who would you want?
NC: Alex Turner. I know that probably makes no sense, but he's my dream collab.
E!: You recorded the song separately but filmed the video together. What was your favorite part about that production?
JA: Getting the chance to actually work together and hang out!
NC: Definitely getting to shoot it in Nashville. I try to go any time I can. Specifically about the video though, probably Jimmie's solo parts because that meant I was allowed to be wrapped in a towel keeping warm from the pool of water I was sitting in for my parts.
E!: How was getting to perform for the first together on stage?
JA: It was super cool to bring the song to life for the first time. I hope there's more opportunities to do that.
NC: It was weird only because, with COVID, we didn't have an opportunity to rehearse or get closer on stage since we had to stay six to 10 feet apart. But besides that, it was fun to finally do it with a live band. It was also my first real performance in a long time, so getting to do that got me excited to get back into live touring hopefully soon.
E!: Was there a time where one of you had an idea that the other disagreed with? How did you compromise?
NC: Not really. The creative for our music video and CMT performance came together pretty naturally. Next time, I might not agree to sit in a cold pool of water though.
E!: What is one new thing you learned about the other person during this process?
JA: She's got a really big heart.
NC: Jimmie can spin pretty effortlessly.
E!: If you could do another song together again, what would you want it to be about?
JA: Some backwoods, retro '90s-type country song. Would be cool to hear the Tennessee come out!
NC: I'd probably want to do something extremely country and just go all in on it!
The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade airs Thursday, Nov. 26, at 9 a.m. on NBC and Telemundo.
(E! and NBC are both part of the NBCUniversal family.)