Ant Saunders knew “Yellow Hearts,” originally released on June 17, 2019, was a smash when he received an Instagram direct message from Charlie Puth.
“Out of nowhere,” Saunders tells tmrw, “Calling me dope and giving me words of encouragement. It was just insane how someone as big as him knew who I was and liked my song.”
Puth’s method of communication was apt, too. “Yellow Hearts” was inspired by confusing Snapchat correspondence Saunders was having with a love interest at the time. The song was written in his childhood bedroom on the day of his high school graduation.
“So I was talking to this girl, and we were really interested in each other at first, but she was unsure if she wanted to be in a relationship or not,” Saunders explains. “Sometimes when we would Snapchat each other, I would compliment her, then she’d send back some yellow hearts. I was really curious, so I did some research, and I saw that yellow hearts can stand for friendship. This caused me to question if she just wanted to be friends, or if she wanted something more and yellow was just her favorite color.”
It may not have led to love, but it did result in over 200 million Tik Tok videos and 200-plus million streams. Now, Saunders is elevating “Yellow Hearts” with a remix featuring RCA Records artist Audrey Mika, released through Arista Records.
“I chose Audrey Mika to remix ‘Yellow Hearts’ because she really fit the vibe of the song,” Saunders says, “and I knew that she would be the perfect fit. Her voice is really smooth and playful, and it really worked on the instrumental. I also thought it was important to have a female on the track to have a female perspective of the situation.”
A 10-second snippet of Mika’s voice is the first thing people hear on the remix, and it establishes an ethereal feel to the rest of the track. Saunders handles the first run through the chorus and first verse solo before Mika joins him on the second chorus.
Mika’s verse injects the song with a strong woman’s perspective:
No matter what you say or what you do
I can’t really tell
I’d rather keep you waiting, conversating
Don’t wanna be your muse
Or something you could lose
I told you that I’m over it but lately
When I say
You better best believe me
I could change
The way that you perceive me
On my way
To meet you in the evening
Try to say
The way that I’ve been feeling
I’ve been lying
I’ve been holding my breath
You think I’m always upset
When I’m not , yea
I’ve been lying
Yellow hearts aren’t just friends
Now I don’t need to pretend
Try this again
The way Saunders and Mika complement each other calls back to Saunders’ 2018 single “Miles Per Hour” and 2019 single “Dial Tone,” featuring Kiaura Rose, and “Dial Tone” especially because it similarly deals with things getting lost in translation over the phone.
Saunders could have left well enough alone with “Yellow Hearts,” but his decision to refurbish his most widespread, well-received offering gives fans a glimpse into an innovative nature he plans to incorporate in his music moving forward.
“I definitely want to play around with this type of sound more, but I also love to experiment sonically and lyrically,” he says. “I feel like Yellow Hearts breaks a lot of rules in music, and that’s what I want to continue to do.”
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