Twenty-one years ago, LeAnn Rimes was a bright-eyed, big-voiced 15-year-old country singer living every singer’s dream: She already had a No. 1 country album, two Grammys and a handful of hit songs all before she could drive a car. Little did a teenage Rimes know, her legacy had only just begun — and her sixth single would end up going down in history.
“How Do I Live” reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in December 1997, reaching chart milestones left and right. The song eventually spent a then-record 69 weeks on the chart, nearly half of that in the top 10 alone — a record only recently broken by Ed Sheeran’s “Shape Of You” last year. And if you look at Billboard’s All-Time Top 100 songs ranking, you’ll see Rimes’ name sitting pretty at No. 4 for “Live.”
To celebrate the iconic song’s 20th anniversary last year, Rimes created a re-imagined, slower-tempoed version of “How Do I Live.” The quieter production, along with stripping the power notes of the chorus down to heart-wrenching falsetto, gives the track a new life — one that cuts to the core.
“I wanted the arrangement of ‘How Do I Live’ to highlight the vulnerability of Diane’s lyric,” Rimes explains of the rearrangement, referring to the one and only Diane Warren, who penned the song (Rimes produced it with Darrell Brown). “It’s more of a spiritual experience singing the song in this new way, a personal prayer.”
Rimes decided to make the new version for her tour in the U.S. and U.K. to reflect where she was coming from musically with her 2016 album, Remnants. The affecting rendition had the kind of impact she was hoping for, as fans who saw her live were eager to know where they could get the slower version. So she thought, why not actually make it a completely new track?
One year later, Rimes unveils her studio version of the “How Do I Live” re-imagination, which Billboard is premiering today (March 29) ahead of its official release at 9 p.m. PT tonight. The new song serves as a personal thank you from Rimes to her fans for their support — and for changing her life by making the song one of the biggest of all time. And now, the singer hopes the two versions of her timeless hit will also live in tandem.
“I greatly appreciate and adore the original version and all that it has done — that will always exist and never change,” Rimes says. “I would love for this new arrangement to sit alongside the original as a companion, highlighting what a classic song Diane Warren created.”
Take a listen to the re-imagined “How Do I Live” below, and then feel the ultimate nostalgia with the original here.