LISTEN: A TikTok Challenge Results in a Gorgeous Duet

Y’all… we may have just happened upon the duet of the year.

Adam Paddock — a Nashville-based alternative chamber pop artist — issued a TikTok open verse challenge back in July in search of a featured vocalist for his single, “Stay Close to Me.” Of the many submissions he received, it was one from recent Berklee grad Katie Lynne Sharbaugh that stood out among the rest.

“When I posted on TikTok and received the immense quantity of submissions, the decision wasn’t made any easier. In fact, I had sifted through all of the verses and had someone picked out. The day that I woke up to make the video announcing the winner, one more video came through, and it was Katie’s. I was immediately drawn in by the accuracy of the verse to the storyline, and then to her melody and vocal. All in good timing, the perfect pairing was made.”

It was a beautiful conclusion to a journey that began in 2021 when Paddock, in quarantine, wrote the verses virtually alongside indie pop artist Abby Holliday. Once his path crossed with Sharbaugh, they got to recording — Paddock tracked his parts in an Ohio State University dorm room, while Sharbaugh recorded in a barn studio outside of Nashville.

Together, the collaboration resulted in a lush indie folk soundscape marked by rich lead vocals, bright and gorgeous harmonies, and brilliant horn accents, layered gently within the ambiance of cool keyboard tones and on top of the foundation of a gentle, intricate acoustic guitar progression.

“‘Stay Close to Me’ is an homage to an all-too-familiar feeling for a lot of people who might be stuck in sedentary relationships, but are secretly wanting more,” Sharbaugh said. “My verse pulls from the perspective of the ‘other girl,’ and touches on the emotional difficulty of choosing between comfort and excitement. This concept is something I believe everyone experiences while navigating romantic relationships; it’s often hard to know for sure whether you can be fulfilled with someone forever. ‘Stay Close to Me’ depicts the complex web of emotions that ensue when another prospect comes into the picture and increases the pressure to ‘get it right.'”

There you have it! Why don’t you dive in and check out “Stay Close to Me” for yourself?

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