Songwriters are told to write what they know, but sometimes what they know can be a bit too painful to put to music.
In a new Essentials Radio interview with Apple Music, Miranda Lambert tells the stories behind some of her biggest hits, including the painful backstory of her 2012 song “Over You,” which she co-wrote with her ex-husband and fellow country superstar Blake Shelton. Shelton’s older brother, Richie, was killed in a car accident in 1990 at age 24, and when the former couple talked about his loss, Lambert wondered if it might be cathartic to put her then-husband’s feelings in a song.
“My ex-husband, Blake, had lost a brother, and it’s one of those moments where even if you’re married to someone, sometimes you find something new about them,” Lambert recalled. “Dudes don’t open up about things, but he started telling me about the experience of it all. And I was like, ‘Have you ever written about it?’ … And he’s like, ‘No.’ And he was like, ‘Well, my dad just says, “You don’t get over it. You just get used to it.”‘ And I was like, ‘Well, could we write it? Do you want to try or is that invasive?’
“I would never try to write your story because I didn’t live it, but maybe I could help because I’m an outside perspective, but I feel your pain talking to me right now,” Lambert recalled thinking as she and Shelton talked it out.
Shelton agreed, and the emotional result won song of the year at both the CMA Awards and the ACM Awards and hit No. 1 on Billboard‘s Hot Country Songs and Country Airplay charts.
“It was really a special moment and I’m so glad we shared that song and that it helped his family heal, to have that together,” Lambert added about the poignant song.
Apple Music subscribers can listen to Lambert’s full Essentials Radio episode — where she also talks about making “The House That Built Me” and her very first CMA Awards performance in 2005 — on demand here and her Essentials playlist here.