A quick glance at Brett James’ Wikipedia page is all you need to know he’s a songwriting force to be reckoned with: over 10 number one singles, several more in the top ten, and songs that have become country classics in just a few years: “Jesus Take The Wheel” for Carrie Underwood, “Bottoms Up” for Brantley Gilbert, “When The Sun Goes Down” for Kenny Chesney and Uncle Kracker.
So recently, when I asked of all the songs he’s written does he have any personal favorites, his answer was a bit of a surprise.
“Oh gosh, they’re aren’t very many” he replied. “I hate about everything I do!”
Say what? The guy who wrote hits like “Out Last Night”, “Who I Am” and “Blessed” isn’t that crazy about nearly any of them?
“I think like any artist, I’m more critical of my own work”, he explained. “I’m not just not one to ever sit back and go, ‘wow, I’m really proud of that’. It’s just not my style.”
Earlier in the interview, which is part of February’s Write You A Song podcast, my new podcast featuring Nashville’s top songwriters discussing their craft (access it here), Brett did allow that the songs that “…kind of end up meaning the most …are the ones that actually mean something to people; where people go, ‘you know, I was at a place in my life where I really needed to hear that, and that song was important to me, and that song means the world to me, and it helped me in that moment.”
As an example, Brett cited “Man I Want To Be” from Chris Young.
But overall? Like any good country artist, writer or otherwise, modesty prevails: “I just feel real lucky to get to do my job and occasionally I’ll sit back and go, ‘wow, I’ve been really blessed in this job’…but you know…” he chuckles, “I don’t really praise my own work that much.”
You can hear the full interview with Brett, and get stories behind all these songs and more, on the Write You A Song podcast. And hear other great songwriters talk about their hits too, like Brett Warren (“I’m Already Home“), Jeffrey Steele (“My Wish“), Tim Nichols (“Live Like You Were Dyin‘”) and Brice Long (“Like A Cowboy“) Check it out and subscribe…it’s free!