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A Star Is Born Songwriter Was Terrified About Hearing Bradley Cooper’s Voice

Bradley Cooper in A Star Is Born

Awards Season is officially in full swing, as the Grammys and Golden Globes have both announced their nominees for their respective ceremonies. The Golden Globes is sometimes a litmus test for larger awards like the Emmys and Oscars, with the latter being the biggest honor in the industry. One movie that has a ton of buzz around it is Bradley Cooper's A Star Is Born, which has the potential to earn statues for directing, performances, and the soundtrack.

A Star Is Born is especially notable because of its music, which was performed by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper themselves. While making his directorial debut, Cooper was also revealed to be quite the musician, holding his own as a solo performer as well as in duets with Lady Gaga herself. Jason Isbell wrote Jackson's anthem "Maybe It's Time", and recently revealed he was nervous to hear Cooper's vocals for the first time, saying:

I wrote the song for the character, and Bradley really liked it. We were texting back and forth. He recorded a demo of him singing the song and sent it to me on my cell phone. I was terrified, because I thought, I don't know if I'm gonna be able to say, 'Bradley Cooper, this is bad! You're gonna have to do better!' He sent it to me for my approval, and I just didn't open it. I had to get on a plane and was like, 'I'm not gonna listen to this yet.' It was a long flight, and I was on there for five hours or so. [At some point] on the plane I listened to it. When I got off the plane, I texted back and was like, 'Man, it's really good -- you did a great job and your voice is good! Thank you very much!' I didn't realize that he was actually staring at his phone waiting for my response!

Well, that's hilarious. While eager to hear someone else sing one of his songs, Jason Isbell was especially nervous to give feedback to Bradley Cooper. In addition to being a giant movie star, Cooper was helming the project, making him Isbell's boss. Who wants to tell their famous boss they have a crappy voice?

Luckily for Jason Isbell, that wasn't the case with Bradley Cooper. The acclaimed actor was deeply involved in the music's production, and quickly learned how to vocally perform like rockstar Jackson Maine. His speaking and singing voices sound nothing like Cooper's real life instrument, no doubt helping him disappear into the headspace of Jackson.

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Bradley Cooper sounded great performing the various songs in the Star Is Born soundtrack, which was likely a relief to the other musicians involved besides Jason Isbell. Co-star Lady Gaga helped to craft the music of the movie as well, with the songs moving A Star Is Born's narrative forward. Cooper had to become especially close to "Maybe It's Time", considering how often the anthem is played throughout the musical blockbuster.

For those of you who need a reminder, you can hear Bradley Cooper singing "Maybe It's Time" from A Star Is Born below. Just prepare to bring your tissues.

"Maybe It's Time" is sung for the first time in A Star Is Born's raucous first act. After seeing Ally perform "La Vie En Rose" at a drag bar, Jackson waits inside the closing establishment until she emerges to get a drink. After the insistence of local drag queen Emerald (RuPaul's Drag Race alum Willam Belli), he plays the song on the tiny stage as Ally appears and watches him.

It's a magical moment that helps the meet-cute of their relationship get to an intimate level. Ultimately she opens up to him musically that night, and their relationship and partnership begins. "Maybe It's Time" serves a beautiful purpose, although it gets darker as A Star Is Born goes on. During their time at the cop bar, a song of Jackson's comes on the radio, and he reveals he's sick of playing the old hits.

As the movie continues on, Jackson Maine's career begins going downhill, alongside his substance abuse issues and health. And as his gigs become less exciting, he's forced to continue playing "Maybe It's Time", with it appearing more difficult with each reprise. It's a song that haunts Jackson, and the lyrics relate to his ultimate fate.

The lyrics of "Maybe It's Time" become far more somber after you've seen A Star Is Born in its full. The lyrics lament about wanting to let old things die, which is ultimately what happens to the struggling musician. Seeing he was bringing down his wife's career, Jackson kills himself in the garage-- his second and last attempt at the terrifying action.

"Maybe It's Time" serves a very specific and complicated role in A Star Is Born, which shows how methodically Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper approached the film's soundtrack. While the songs themselves are charting well, each track is used for a specific reason to move the story forward. While some tracks are only heard briefly, hits like "Shallow", "I'll Never Love Again", and "Maybe It's Time" are performed in their full, and are important moments in the overall movie.

It should be interesting to see how A Star Is Born's soundtrack ultimately fares when it comes to Awards Season. Interestingly, it looks like the studio is putting its focus on "Shallow", leaving the myriad other tracks in the dust regarding award consideration. "Shallow" is competing for the Best Song Golden Globe, while the final nominations for the upcoming Academy Awards are not announced.

Whichever song is nominated for an Oscar, smart money says that Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga will be performing at the 2019 Oscars. The duo already have some tricks up their sleeve, and all eyes will be on how Cooper sounds live, especially if he's duetting with Gaga. There may be some naysayers, but that's exactly what Jason Isbell told Billboard he was at first. Ultimately Bradley Cooper won him over, so we'll see how it shakes down during the Academy Awards.

A Star Is Born is still in some theaters, and CinemaBlend will keep you updated on the film's awards performance. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your trips to the movies in the New Year.

Corey Chichizola
Corey Chichizola

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his famous actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.