One of my favorite things about working as a songwriter in Nashville is finding brilliant collaborators. I’ve been blessed to work regularly with Tia Sillers, writer of the iconic song “I Hope You Dance”, for over 10 years now. Together we’ve written many songs for my records (“The Wheel”, “Don’t Leave the Leavin'”, “Get on the Train”) and we’ve even shared the stage at the Canadian Country Music Awards to receive Songwriter of the Year trophies for collaborating on Johnny Reid’s hit “Dance with Me”. I always love playing shows with Tia and hearing the story behind “I Hope You Dance”. Here’s how she tells it.
“I had broken up with my ex, and I decided I needed a vacation to lick my wounds and dry my tears. I rented a condo right on the Gulf of Mexico and stayed there by myself for a week. The whole time, my mom was really worried about me. She would call me ten times a day, saying things like ‘Oh honey, I HOPE this doesn’t leave you bitter. I HOPE you’ll take a chance on love again.’
On the last day of my trip, I decided to take a walk down the beach. The further I went, the more depressed I got, until I found myself miles from anywhere, standing there looking at the ocean thinking ‘I should just throw myself in. I’m not even a grain of sand! I’m nothing! I’m so small. I’m completely inconsequential!’
Then all of a sudden, this huge black SUV comes pulling up on the beach, kicking sand in all directions, and this guy with a black suit and mirrored sunglasses jumps out and starts SCREAMING into a cell phone!
I thought, ‘WOW. That guy doesn’t feel small when he stands beside the ocean at all, and he never will. He’s completely oblivious! And you know what? I would rather feel like an inconsequential grain of sand than be that guy for one stinkin’ second.’
That was my first eureka moment. A couple of weeks later I shared the idea with my co-writer, Mark D. Sanders…and the rest is history.”
Interested in more behind-the-scenes musings about songwriting, creativity, the Nashville music biz and life in general, along with some free songs? Sign up for my email newsletter here.