The How I Wrote That Song limited series gives music fans a front-row seat for conversations with songwriters behind some of the biggest hits of yesterday and today. You’ll learn the stories behind the songs from the people who wrote them. New episodes will be released every other Monday through December 12. How I Wrote That Song is produced in partnership with Beasley Media Group, XPERI (HD Radio), and BMI.
“I like to write on my own” is a point that Parker McCollum makes frequently. But being successful in the music industry usually requires compromise and the ability to collaborate. And McCollum, who has written great songs on his own, has learned to work with other writers to great effect. In this interview, he discussed how his biggest hit, “Pretty Heart,” came from a collaboration with Randy Rogers, another upcoming co-write with Miranda Lambert and his two big influences: George Strait and John Mayer. Read an excerpt of our interview below; listen to the podcast to hear the entire conversation. By the way, this interview took place before Parker and Hallie Rae Light got engaged; that’s why he refers to her as “my girlfriend” in the interview.
I think a lot of people heard of you first through “Pretty Heart.” Talk about writing that song with Randy Montana.
“Pretty Heart”… golly, it was crazy to see the journey that that song’s gone on. I had never really co-written before in my life. I’d written those first two albums pretty much on my own. Randy Rogers from the Randy Rogers Band was managing me at the time, and really pushing me to come to Nashville and get in rooms with people and do that co-writing thing. I didn’t really know how I was going to go.
But that first day I wanted to go on with something that was, like, super heavy, and really have a good idea. And I didn’t have anything at the time. I was going through my notes… and I was actually scrolling my way back on my Instagram from like 2014. And I found the video, me singing, “What does that say about me?”
I was like, “How in the world did I forget about that melody and that line?” I still love that line. Randy [Montana] and I are good buddies now. At the time, we had never met and never hung out or anything. And so I went in and I kind of sang that for him and his eyes kind of lit up and he was like, “Man, let’s chase that!” And he’s got a really unique way of asking me all the questions that I don’t want to answer. He pulls those things out of me like things I’m thinking that I don’t want to say. That was a quick one.
Check out the rest of our conversation with Parker by watching the YouTube video or downloading the podcast episode.