Chris Janson Talks Writing 'Drunk Girl' From 'A Father's Perspective'
The end of 2017 was a very prosperous one for Warner Bros. recording artist Chris Janson, who celebrated his second top 10 hit with “Fix A Drink,” which peaked at No. 2 on the Country Airplay chart.
“I feel very blessed. It’s a great honor. I tell people that all I ever really wanted to do was to have my records be played on the radio – and to be on the Grand Ole Opry. I’m blessed to be able to be doing both of those. Things go by in such a flash in the business, and it really trips me up,” he says of his whirlwind year – which included a spot on Sam Hunt’s 15 in a 30 tour, and the release of his sophomore album Everybody. He admits that it’s a lot to absorb. “We work so hard with all this and get caught up in the tornado of the music business life. Our whole team works really hard on this, and it really hasn’t hit me yet.”
Though he broke onto the scene in 2015 with the blockbuster hit “Buy Me A Boat,” Janson had been at his game for a while – releasing music as far back as 2010. Even when the chart numbers weren’t in his favor, the Missouri native was having a blast. “It was a long ‘overnight,’ but a good night, for sure,” he reflects. “I tell people that I learned everything not to do before we started having a lot of success. So, it was a nice learning curve for me. I was rewarded pretty greatly when my wife showed me the Billboard list of the Top 100 Country songs, and not only was ‘Fix A Drink’ on there, but also ‘How I’ll Always Be,’ a song that I wrote for Tim McGraw.” So was “Holdin’ Her,” a song that only hit No. 20 on the Airplay charts, but made a definite impression on his audience.
“A lot of people heard it so much that they think it was a No. 1 song,” he says of the last single from Buy Me A Boat. “The general public really doesn’t follow the charts that closely, so when I play it live, it gets such a great response. That meant a lot at me. We’ve had success at a lot of levels, but I’m thankful for all of it.”
His thankful spirit comes into play with this holiday season, of which he is very mindful – especially the important theme of family. “We had Christmas throughout a couple of days. My wife has two brothers, and I’m really tight with them. They each live in different states, so getting everybody together at the same time is sort of tough. We were able to do so, but one family came in ahead of time. We had a house full of kids, and to me, that’s what it’s all about. Seeing the smiles on kids’ faces at Christmas time is a big deal to me.”
When asked what food items were on the Janson table, he says that he enjoys fried turkey and potato soup, but adds that there is one essential to any celebration – a can of Mountain Dew. Janson stresses that he is very much a traditionalist when it comes to his favorite soft drink. “I don’t get into any kind of flavor rushes. I don’t get into bottled Mountain Dew. I only drink it in a can. I am eccentric and weird like that,” he says with a laugh.
2018 begins with a new single from Janson, one that has already received a ton of press – the second single from Everybody, “Drunk Girl.” The song – which deals with the theme of being respectful to his opposite gender – is one that he says he and his fellow writers take very seriously.
“We wrote this song long before anything happened in the news. I’m just a guy who writes songs. Every now and again, they just find life when they are supposed to. Tom Douglas and Scooter Carusoe, who are my co-writers, are also fathers,” he said, adding that point of view heavily influenced the writing of the song.
“We wrote it from a father’s perspective. If our daughters ever got into that situation – and if you live very long, you’re probably going to get there – guys and girls alike. We would hope that a young man, if our daughters inevitably get there, that they would take great care of them with great respect, do the right thing, and take a drunk girl home. Tom brought the idea to the table, and some songs write themselves, and some you have to work on a while. This song really wrote itself, because it’s a natural for us. It’s how we think when we wake up anyway. If you just do the right thing, generally the right thing comes back to you,” he stresses.
As someone who has written songs in the past for LOCASH, Hank Williams Jr., and McGraw, Janson said that his composer’s instinct took over when he wrote the song at first – until Warner Bros. stepped in. “When I write something, I always keep it in the back of my mind about writing something for McGraw or someone like that, but the label said ‘You’re keeping that.’ I’m glad we did, because it’s getting a lot of heat out of the box.”
The reaction toward the song was there from his audience before it was released as a single, and Janson said it’s been amazing. “It’s drawing tears from people’s eyes, and pulling stories from men and women alike who might not have had a voice or a platform to talk about it. It’s amazing. It’s cool to see songs bring emotions out in people. It almost means more to me than getting played on the air – even when I just play it live. It reaches into peoples’ heartstrings and pulls on every single one of them. That feeling is hard to describe. I’ve never had a song do that. ‘Holdin’ Her’ has been the closest thing to it. It’s an emotional song, and one about my family. But this one is very universal. It’s for everybody. A lot of people have been there around the world – girls and guys alike. It’s a natural occurrence. You’re probably going to have one too many one night, and this is going to happen. It’s hard to believe, but when you see it with everyday average people, but it’s very humbling, to say the least.”