In 2005, I was a junior in high school. At the few parties I attended, the song we most wanted to hear at house parties, birthday shendigs and on our self-created mixes, was Amerie’s “1 Thing.” With the sound of blaring horns, kicking drums and a groove that couldn’t be denied, it was a jam. Not to mention the dance-ability of the song was remarkable.
Shortly after that, Amerie’s career would fizzle a bit. But now, with the onset of 2020, people are reflecting on memorable moments of the past decade. And even though Amerie’s song is four years too old to be included in the conversation, Black folk wanted to acknowledge it as culturally significant. F*ck the numbers.
And in sharing their admiration for the song, there were some interesting facts revealed—like how and why the song was released. Turns out there was another artist who wanted it. Sony was hesitant to release it and some other interesting tidbits.
While people might argue about the relevance of this song, “1 Thing,” which debuted on her second album, Touch, was a certified hit. Influenced by go-go rhythms and sampling The Meters’ “Calcutta,” it rose to number 8 in the Billboard Hot 100 that year and number 1 on the Hot R&B/Hip Hop charts.
It was the only single from the album because Amerie and her writing partner Rich Harrison had to sneak and release it. Columbia, her label at the time, wasn’t convinced the song was a hit. In 2004, Amerie and Rich leaked the song, hoping to force the label’s hand. But also because Jennifer Lopez, who was Amerie’s label mate, was interested in the song. And given her penchant for putting her name on the work of Black women, Amerie made the right decision. Columbia tried to suppress the success of the song. But eventually they began promoting it. Later, it was featured in Will Smith’s romantic comedy Hitch.
J Lo. desperately wanted the song because she had Harrison produce one with a similar sound. We know it as “Get Right,” which was initially meant for Usher.
It went on to earn Amerie a Grammy Award nomination for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance.
Rolling Stone would eventually name the song one of the best songs of the 2000s decade.
See what Twitter University had to share and what Amerie herself thinks of all this love.
You can see Amerie’s response on the following page.