“Come on Over” is a Record-Breaker!

I can’t believe the response that Jessica Simpson has been getting with “Come On Over”!  Rachel Proctor and I wrote the song with Jessica, and it was released by Columbia Nashville as Jessica’s first country radio single at the end of May.  I was performing up in Canada when the song arrived at radio stations and my phone started ringing off the hook with calls from friends all over the USA who were hearing it over the airwaves.  Within minutes it was posted on YouTube, Perez Hilton’s gossip site, Entertainment Tonight online, MSNBC etc, and by the end of the day I was watching a story about it on TV’s E! News Daily.  At the end of the week Billboard reported that the song had made history, breaking all previous records for the highest charting debut of a new country artist by entering at #41! I’ve been getting a kick out of watching the progress of the song on the charts every day.  You can  visit www.allaccess.com, register for free, and check the “published” country Mediabase chart which updates the song’s position daily.  (By the way, LW means last week, TW means this week, “Aud” means audience in millions, a red arrow signifies a “bullet” of upward momentum, “Spins” means the number of plays on major country radio stations in the USA, and you can also click on the song title to see the list of radio stations who are playing it the most).

Now, two weeks after its release, the song is at #28 in the USA (#27 in Canada) and rising fast.  Since its release on iTunes a couple of days ago it is reportedly the #3 most downloaded country song and the #22 most downloaded song across all genres in the USA.  (And #1 in Canada – thanks, eh!!)  In the past week it has been played 1200 times on the major U.S. country radio stations alone for an audience of almost 9 million.  That just about blows the top of my head off when I try to think about it.

Not only that, but the song has also been given great reviews in Billboard, R&R and Rolling Stone Magazines, and lots of great front-page press by newspapers like The Tennessean and The Chicago Sun-Times.  (You can read those on my PRESS PAGE.)

Speaking of press, I have to put in my two cents in support of Jessica, who despite the great professional press on this song, seems to be a magnet for particularly nasty public criticism by online bloggers.  They love to hate her.  She can’t sing, she’s an airhead, her music is stupid and trite…I’ve been shocked at the cruelty and ignorance of some of the things people write.  First, anyone who makes the claim that Jessica can’t sing is not a singer, because a singer would recognize that this song has a huge range (an 11th, to be specific, and anything beyond a 10th is right up there with Martina McBride and Carrie Underwood - a wider range than most of us can belt without shifting to head voice).  Jessica delivers it with both personality and good intonation, and that’s a tough balance to strike.  Second, anyone claiming that she is an airhead has never spent any one-on-one time with her, because it was instantly obvious to us as her songwriting collaborators that she is in fact a smart woman with substance, emotion, the great strength to overcome personal obstacles and the even greater strength not to share them with the public.  Third, if you think her music is not meaningful, then just wait…wait until you hear some of the songs she’s recorded for the rest of the record.  That’s all I’m gonna say about that.

I gathered with some friends to watch TV yesterday morning when Jessica performed “Come On Over” for the first time, live on ABC’s The View and backed up by Rachel Proctor on harmonies.  (Click here to watch it online.)  Rachel was text-messaging me with updates and photos from backstage, so it was almost like being there in person.  This whole experience is such an amazing one for the two of us.  She’s become my close friend and main collaborator, and from the first moment we sat down to write we realized how much we have in common.  We both experienced some success early on in our careers, but since then we’ve both come through parallel times of pain and abuse, we’ve struggled to pay the bills, we’ve experienced a lot of frustration and had to learn some hard lessons about patience, and we’ve worked really, really hard to get to where we are right now.  Rachel said that when the cameras came on and the band started playing the song, she stood on that stage and pictured me sitting in front of the TV in Nashville, and it was all she could do not to cry.  I felt the same way.  Success is a thousand times sweeter the second time around, and we are savoring every moment of this.

I heard “Come On Over” on the radio here in Nashville for the first time last night.  I had worked yet another 18-hour day and I was heading home from the studio in my car.  When I heard that familiar acoustic intro – the one that had come from my own guitar - my heart just about leaped out of my chest!  I spent the next 3 minutes driving up and down Music Row, past the late-night deserted record labels and publishing offices and recording studios, with the volume cranked up to 10 and a big goofy smile on my face, thinking “yeah – this is my town”.  What can I say?  That was a great 3 minutes.