LOS ANGELES — Stevie Nicks cried on her living room floor when she first saw LeAnn Rimes perform “Borrowed” on her TV in 2013.
The song, about an intimate, yet fleeting romance between LeAnn Rimes and her lover, came out on Rimes’ “Spitfire” album when Nicks became enamored with it. The Fleetwood Mac singer knew then that she wanted to sing it with Rimes someday.
“It was very easy for me to try to be in that same sad, deeply tragic, passionate place where she was when she wrote that song because I had been there. I had lived there for a long time,” Nicks said in an interview with The Associated Press from Mexico, where she was on vacation.
Nicks heard from mutual friend and producer Darrell Brown, who co-wrote “Borrowed,” that Rimes was planning to touch up some of her hits for her “Re-Imagined” EP, and she jumped at the chance to record a duet version with Rimes.
“Being able to have another artist really kind of get you on so many levels in that authenticity and from that space is really magical,” said Rimes.
The new version, released last month, balances Nicks’ soft croon to Rimes’ striking vocals. Like in the previous version, a cool and fading steel guitar compliments the rhythmic melody and calming percussion.
Even though Nicks has been singing and recording long before Rimes was on the scene, she said working with her is like going to singing college.
“She doesn’t brush over anything,” said 70-year-old Nicks. “You have to sing every single word with her; otherwise it won’t be a good duet because she would leave you in the dust.”
Rimes, 35, became a star as a teen and launched hits such as “Blue,” ”How Do I Live” and “Can’t Fight the Moonlight.” She won the best new artist Grammy at age 14.
Both singers come from different musical backgrounds. Nicks is a rock ‘n’ roll magnate from Phoenix and Rimes has country roots in Texas, but their voices reflect on a shared passion where heartbreak isn’t bound by place, time or genre.
Rimes said she came up with the idea for the song during an emotionally troubling moment on an airplane when she noticed someone reading a tabloid magazine with her on the cover. She started to cry when the stranger’s husband came to her comfort.
“I honestly feel like that guy was an angel,” she said. “Some things came over me at that moment and I just remember thinking that title (“Borrowed”) to myself.”
The first line of the song came to Rimes: “I know you’re not mine. Only borrowed.” From there, she took it to the studio where she fleshed out the rest of the tune.
“It’s a very honest, authentic moment and capturing a piece of me that I really didn’t know existed until I wrote this song,” said Rimes.
Rimes is currently on a summer tour and Nicks is hitting the road with Fleetwood Mac in the fall. Both singers said they hope to perform the song together someday.
“I would love to do a record with LeAnn,” said Nicks. “I’m hoping that for some reason we’ll get to go onstage and sing this song together.”