Jayce Cantor Reimagines Britney Spears’ “Don’t Go Knocking On My Door”

britney-spears-jayce-cantor-knockin-door

Don’t. Go. Knock my door.

Singer/producer Jayce Cantor was struck with inspiration after only recently discovering Britney’s “Don’t Go Knocking On My Door” from 2000’s Oops!… I Did It Again album. Cantor says the song is “a story dedicated to anyone who felt like they’re the side-person or otherwise unprioritized in a relationship.” His advice? “Don’t settle, move on, move forward.”

For his re-working, titled “Don’t Go Knocking,” Cantor infuses a moody R&B vibe with his inspiration from Timbaland and Drake and of course… the legendary Britney Spears.




Stumbling upon the original:
Throughout 2015, I’ve been getting into a lot of Britney’s old records, before I never dug past Circus and Femme Fatale, honestly, but over the past year I’ve never watched so many Britney performances and listened to so many Britney records (her stage presence and energy for me is a benchmark for me to be like as a performer, and her ability to make any of her songs undeniably hers is something I aspire to do in my own music). I found the original song while listening through Britney’s past albums while I got some coursework done (her music has kept me sane throughout the monotony of college work, honestly, the sheer amount of 2am dance-sessions where I pretend to be MJ to Britney songs is staggering). So I put on the OIDIA album, and just let it play throughout. On came the obvious banging singles, the title track, and Stronger, but then Don’t Go Knocking On My Door came on. I don’t know what it is but I always gravitate towards the artists’ non-singles as my favorite off their albums (for example, on the Circus and Femme Fatale albums, my favorite songs off of each are Unusual You and Up And Down), and I fell in love with this song.

Production:
As soon as I heard the song, I thought of how Timbaland-esque it sounds (the start-stop syncopation, and the rhythmic patterns) and how it would’ve been cool if this was made into a darker vibe, so the next day I turned on my keyboard and just started picking out chords from the song, then loaded the chords into my computer, just to experiment, but every time I listened back to it, I couldn’t help but dance to it, so I decided to record it. I was going to keep all the lyrics because I think the original is great as it is, but the verses weren’t fitting me, both lyrically and vocally. So I rewrote them and decided to sing in a manner that modern rap records sound like (that melodic Drake/Post Malone vibe), but with the old school R&B harmonies (I layered like 12 vocals in that pre chorus to get a Janet-inspired sound).

The meaning:
I kept most of the original chorus, and decided to tell a story from a different perspective. The verses is from my perspective, and tells the story of a guy who thought becoming the side-person to a girl would be a good idea, but then he falls deeper in love with her, but she doesn’t want to reciprocate. The chorus is from the girl’s perspective, she didn’t want anything more than a quick side-piece (hence the change of the chorus to include lyrics like “your body driving me crazy…”), so she decides to break it off completely because it just got complicated. By the end of the record, it just gets more frustrating for both, with the guy resolving to “[let] these feelings go” and just quit pursuing affection and romance in general. The song’s story is just a piece of a larger story, that I hope to tell with more records (in which a man filled with love and hope becomes broken by looking for love in the wrong places, and falls into the lust-driven/apathetic ways a lot of us mistakenly go for). Aside from the narrative and direct story meaning, a lot of this song was inspired by disappointment in general (and a lot of me being the first and only texter in a conversation, with lukewarm responses from others), so I hope listeners identify with that aspect of the meaning. I also hope they see how this refix is a sign of my sound to come, I’m influenced by so many sounds, and have a heart for pop and R&B, so my future records are going to have similar influences.

Thoughts? Let us know in Exhale!