On January 1, 2015, Kanye West tweeted a link to his song titled “Only One” featuring Paul McCartney on the piano. This sweet, lightly auto-tuned ballet is told in the perspective of his late mother, Donda West, talking down to him from heaven.
An excerpt from a press release:
In early 2014, Paul McCartney and Kanye West began working together in a small bungalow in Los Angeles. The process that would result in “Only One” began with a simple brainstorming session between the two: With McCartney improvising on the keyboards and Kanye vocally sketching and shaping ideas in a stream-of-consciousness riff.
When they played back the recording afterward, something remarkable happened. Kanye sat there with his family, holding his daughter North on his lap, and listened to his vocals, singing, “Hello, my only one … ” And in that moment, not only could he not recall having sung those words, but he realized that perhaps the words had never really come from him.
The process of artistic creation is one that does not involve thinking, but often channeling. And he understood in that moment that his late mother, Dr. Donda West, who was also his mentor, confidante, and best friend, had spoken through him that day.
“My mom was singing to me, and through me to my daughter,” he said, astonished.
The small group in the room kept listening: “Hello my Only One…just like the morning sun…you’ll keep on rising till the sky knows your name.”
To some, Kanye’s insight didn’t immediately register. But then he explained: The name Kanye, which his mother had chosen, means “only one.”
And then it dawned on everyone there: Something powerful and undeniable had occurred through the power of music and of letting go.
Along with this song release, Kanye also released handwritten lyrics to his song on his website. You can check all that out here, and if you’re interested, check out his song “Hey Mama“, another sweet tune in honor of his mom. This song was released in 2005, and his mother later passed away in 2007.
By Daisha Lewis