Dan Heath Q&A: ‘Big Eyes’ songwriter
Heath has worked with Del Rey on a variety of songs, and together the two tried to create something that would work for the film while staying true to their very specific style. "The most important thing for me was to listen to the music in the film which Danny Elfman had done, and see the film and get into the head space of it, but also do something which stayed true to what [Lana and I] do, our sounds, with maybe giving it more of a cinematic, lush feel than it would be on an album."
The idea for the song came to Del Rey upon seeing the film for the first time, which tells the true story of how Walter Keane (Christoph Waltz) built an empire by taking credit for his wife Margaret's (Amy Adams) paintings of children with abnormally large peepers. "Lana saw the film first, and she came up with the idea of the 'big eyes, big lies,' hook," says Heath, referring to the chorus that recurs throughout the track. "I recorded it on a little voice memo, and I began building the music underneath what she had sung." Heath adds that he wanted the melody "to be quite magical, not too heavy, but not too light, and quite moving."
Heath speaks in-depth about the process of writing the song, ultimately summing it up by saying, "I think it does a good job of portraying Margaret Keane's voice in the film. I think it's a nice mix between somber and sad and introspectiveness, into a big sort of triumphant, half-angry chorus."
He and Del Rey have been nominated at the Golden Globes for the song, and are currently in fourth place with 14/1 odds to win the Oscar. They have to contend against John Legend and Common for their track "Glory" from "Selma," currently in first place with 15/8 odds.