‘...While everybody else is busy acting so dumb
We’ve been busy making plans for the long run...’
I’m running late to yet another writing session... I pull off Music Row and park my Chevrolet hastily in what looks like a typical office building car park. Not only is this my first ever writing trip to Nashville, it’s also the first time I’ve ever been invited to write at a publisher’s office and I’ve got to admit I’m just a little nervous. I briefly say hello to the secretary and the owner of the publishing company before swiftly making my way up the stairs to my work space for the day... the gold plaques hanging on the wall of Keith Urban’s ‘Somebody Like You’ and other hits from his Golden Road album simultaneously fill me with excitement and the dread that I’m probably not at all worthy of being here right now...
The writers room isn’t really what I was expecting (although I didn’t really know what to expect at all!) and feels just like a typical office work space, with the exception of the sofa and digital piano nestled in the corner. Feeling underwhelmed by the relatively dull surroundings, the room simply lights up when I see the smile on my co-writers face and I’m warmly welcomed by Charley Stefl, a seasoned songwriter who has had songs cut by artists like Blake Shelton, Lee Ann Womack, George Jones and Garth Brooks... no pressure then...
The only real advice I’d ever heard about writing with people at this level was that the least successful person in the room should always be the one to bring ideas to the table. You should always have a few up your sleeve and pray that there’s a golden nugget amongst them that the more successful writer likes. Being the non-conformist that I am, naturally I’ve turned up with empty sleeves, but thankfully I do have a pretty good story to tell!
While partying in the Bourbon Street Blues Bar a few nights before, I ended up hanging out with a group of complete strangers, two of which had only met a few days prior yet to my hawk eye seemed head over heels in love. Realising that I was a singer they asked me to join them for some karaoke at a bar across the street and so, always being up for an adventure and a good karaoke session, I joined them. After busting out a rousing rendition of Joe Cocker’s ‘A Little Help From My Friends’ I spent most of the night admiring the affection these two so evidently had for each other. It didn’t strike me as being lustful yet there was still this magnetism and spark that I could sense from them both. What they seemed to have was something quite sweet and innocent yet also incredibly passionate at the same time.
Back in the writers room I pick up my guitar and spontaneously start playing a simple descending chord progression that, to my memory, I had never played before. ‘How about if they were actually in a karaoke strip bar, but we contrast the sex’ed up atmosphere with the romantic connection that feels like so much more than just lust?’ Charley likes it... and we’re off!
“...Another Friday in a karaoke strip bar
Ladies dancing singing Britney on the table tops...”
Most of this writing session is now a blur for me, but I recall it being one of those occasions where you’re caught in the flow state and things just seem to fall into place as though they’re being divinely directed. Next thing I remember Charley and I are sat in Chuy’s Mexican restaurant sipping on equally divine Margarita’s and eating tortilla chips with guacamole. If only every song was that easy to write!
(Fun fact - There used to be a karaoke strip bar right across the street from the karaoke bar we attended that night. Whether any karaoke ever took place in said establishment we may never know...)