“I brought the ‘Little Toy Guns’ track into the writing session with Carrie [Underwood] and our good friend Hillary Lindsey. All the parts were there, but no song yet.”
Veteran writer Chris DeStefano recalls how Underwood’s latest single originated as the song hits a chart milestone: “Little Toy Guns” becomes her 21st top 10 on Billboard‘s Hot Country Songs chart (dated May 30), rising 11-10. “Hillary heard this riff I was doing in the verse and thought it could be cool to open up the song with it. So after a quick edit, we began writing it.”
DeStefano says that Lindsey originally imagined the song as titled “Wooden Guns.” “Carrie reacted to it and put a really great spin on it, calling it ‘Little Toy Guns’ and began to talk about how it could be a story about a girl who hears her parents arguing and how she wishes words didn’t hurt like they do. We all felt very strongly on the subject. One of my favorite lines is from Carrie: ‘Fighting at the drop of a faucet.’ I thought that’s brilliant.”
“Guns” scales Hot Country Songs with the majority (58 percent) of its points from radio play, as it lifts 9-7 on Country Airplay with a 7 percent gain to 30 million in audience, according to Nielsen Music. Notably, Underwood has yet to miss the Hot Country Songs top 10 with any song she’s released as a promoted country single, dating to her first, the six-week No. 1 “Jesus, Take the Wheel” (2005-06).
Lindsey adds her 17th Hot Country Songs top 10 as a writer — she also co-wrote the chart’s No. 1 title for a fourth week, Little Big Town‘s “Girl Crush” — and DeStefano tallies his 12th. “Guns” is his fourth top 10 recorded by Underwood, following three No. 1s: “Good Girl” (one week, 2012), “Somethin’ Bad,” with Miranda Lambert (one, 2014), and “Something in the Water” (seven, 2014-15).
On May 17, “Water” won for top Christian song at the 2015 Billboard Music Awards. “It was such an honor to co-write [‘Water’] with Carrie and Brett James,” DeStefano says. “I have such enormous respect for both of them and to share this award with them is so humbling. I’ve been blessed to be a part of it and to have it affect people as positively as it has.”