Carrie Underwood joined Josh Kear and Chris Tompkins, the two songwriters who penned "Blown Away," at the CMA offices on Wednesday to celebrate their song hitting the top of the charts.
The lobby of the CMA was filled with well-wishers including family, friends and music industry VIPs, all gathered to congratulate Josh and Chris on their chart-topping song. The crowd braved cold weather and a driving wind and rain as they stopped by to help honor the singer, writers, and their hit tune.
This is not the first number one song the Kear and Tompkins have penned for Underwood; they also wrote her 2006 hit "Before He Cheats." Both songwriters made Billboard's Hot Country Songwriter's list for 2012.
"That song ['Before He Cheats'] got the ball rolling for us," said Kear. "Carrie changed our lives, because everything that has happened for us as songwriters came after that cut."
"[That] is a special song," Tompkins agreed. "Josh and I have come a long way since we first started out. When we found out Carrie was gonna cut 'Before He Cheats' we were thrilled because we respect her so much as a singer. She did a great job with 'Blown Away.'"
Underwood said that, from the first time she heard "Blown Away," she knew she would record it. "There is so much drama in the song. It's a dark song but without going too far," she said. "There aren't a lot of words in the song, but you get what they are talking about. I'm just honored that they write songs and I get to sing them," Carrie continued. "It's such a blessing to hear songs that are so amazing. I look forward to hearing more of their songs when I'm ready to record again." Craig Wiseman, owner of Big Loud Shirt Publishing, publishing home of Tompkins, said that you couldn't ask for a better artist to sing your song.
"An artist of her stature and a producer like Mark Bright will put out good music," Wiseman continued. "The thing is, this is such a brave record. It's as pop as it wants to be, but there is a depth in the story. I was listening to the radio one day and everyone was riding around in pickup trucks and then, all of a sudden, this song came on. It's a great song and a very courageous record."
On the day "Blown Away" was born, Kear and Tompkins thoughts were on penning something for Underwood.
"I know that we started the song idea about the time she was on her second or third single off her third album," Kear explained. "She wasn't really looking for songs at that point, but we knew they were getting close."
"We sat down to try to write her a story song, and the first thing that happened was Chris put together a drum and string section, which in turn inspired him to put in sound effects. When he hit on the thunderstorm sound we went 'Okay, that fits the drama of the track we had going.'"
Tompkins said that when the two of them write, "Josh never fails to pull out some great line that gets us going in the right direction. With this song, because of the drama of the music we had, and because we were writing a story song for Carrie, it led us in the right direction."
There was only one minute of panic during the writing session, and that was when the two men got to the pre-chorus section that says, "There's not enough rain in Oklahoma to wash the sins out of that house."
"We paused and had a conversation at that point, because we knew we were essentially painting ourselves into a Carrie Underwood corner," Kear explained. "The song was gonna belong to Carrie or nobody would ever hear it. That might not seem like a tough decision, but actually it is. Essentially most of the time you make sure your songs are universal enough so that lots of people could record them. In this case it was Carrie or no one in our minds, and so we committed. Thank goodness she ended up liking the song as much as we did."
Carla Wallace, of Kear's publishing company Big Yellow Dog, praised the songwriter for his hard work and dedication to his craft. She also noted that Carrie was quick to say thank you to the songwriters who provide her with hit songs and said she was grateful that the singer honored the songwriters the way she did.
The songwriters and Underwood received plaques and gifts from their publishers, C ountry Radio Seminar, the Country Music Association and ASCAP. Wiseman, who is known for handing out gag gifts, presented Tompkins with a wire wall hanging of a sailfish. "It cost more to ship than it cost to buy it," he joked with the writer as he made the presentation.
CMA's Steve Moore hosted the event, welcoming the attendees to the CMA offices. Gary Overton and his promotion team from Arista Records were also in attendance.