Tonight, I’m sitting in my living room watching an American Idol contestant sing one of my songs in an audition. That’s pretty surreal.
I wrote “Why Baby Why” with two of my dear friends and collaborators, Emily Shackelton and Phil Barton. We holed up in a cabin in the Smoky Mountains for 3 days for a writing retreat, and since there was nothing to do but eat, sleep, and write, we came home with 9 songs!
I tend to stockpile ideas for these occasions – just a line or a title to start a song from – and I had sung a few lines of the chorus for “Why Baby Why” into the voice recorder of my phone a few months prior. It was tickling at the back of my mind during the retreat, so I decided to sing the lines to Phil and Emily while we were out for a walk in the fall leaves between writing sessions. They loved the idea so much that we turned around and rushed back to the cabin to pick up our instruments and finish it! All in all, it probably took less than an hour to complete. It’s nice when songs fall out of the sky and bop you on the head like that.
Fast forward a couple of years and now “Why Baby Why” has been recorded and released by Capitol artist Mickey Guyton. She sings the fire out of it, and I got to sit up in the balcony at the Ryman Auditorium and watch her perform it to a standing ovation for her debut at the Grand Ole Opry. I guess Mickey’s stellar performance of the song made an impression on American Idol contestant Tristan McIntosh, because now here I am watching her sing it on TV in a really moving audition!
(p.s. Would you like to hear the origin of this song, from the iPhone voice memo of the idea right through the piano/vocal work tape to the demo and final recording? Click here to sign up for my newsletter – you’ll get behind-the-scenes unreleased material like this that I don’t share with anyone else…plus free songs!)