Flying Without Wings

Wayne Hector tells the story behind one of his biggest songs

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  • By Paul Nichols
  • 28 Jul 2011
  • min read
Wayne Hector, has penned hits for Boyzone, Def Leppard, Faith Evans, All Saints, Michael Bolton and more. He told M how he wrote one of his biggest hits, Flying Without Wings.

I  was working on some R&B material with a producer in LA called EZ Cutt. The song came to me while I was standing in the corridor during a break. I just started singing the verse and then the words Flying Without Wings came to me. I didn’t have a recorder with me so I rang my mum’s house in England and left a message on her answer machine with a very loud request not to delete it, and sang the song down the phone.

By the time I’d got back home, I’d kind of forgotten about it, but my Mum kept reminding me about it. I listened to it again and realised I had to take it to Steve Mac, a songwriting partner I’d met about 12 years ago and someone I work really well with.

We actually worked the song out in about half an hour!  It’s funny, the really good ones often happen like that. I believe those songs are given to you. Steve was getting goose bumps and I think we both knew straight away we had a special one on our hands.

Sometimes you can get lost in a song, it’s just part of the creative process, and you need other people you can trust to tell you about it. You may need to tweak things or leave it and come back to the melody in another song, or sometimes you just have to dump it. Mum is my best critic and she was in tears when I played Flying Without Wings to her.

Around this time, Simon Cowell had put together Westlife. We went into the studio with them to do Swear It Again. Steve and I thought ‘okay, these boys can sing a bit - should we try them on Flying Without Wings?’ We played Simon our rough demo and his response was ‘I must have that song!’

People are always telling me that Flying Without Wings is special to them. They play it at their weddings, at their children’s christenings, at their parent’s funerals. When I think of my favourite songs and how much they mean to me, I realise how important it must be to people. It’s funny though, because when you’re starting out you think: ‘if I could just write one like that’, then when you do you think ‘if I could write just one more like that!

Flying Without Wings was written by Wayne Hector and Steve McCutcheon

Published by Rondor Music (London) Ltd / Rokstone Music