Jake Owen's "Real Life" lyrics are keeping it real at country radio, and according to the singer, that's exactly what he set out to do.

Owen worked with producers Shane McAnally and Ross Copperman on his new album, and he had a long talk with them about where he wanted the project to go. "The song came about talking with Ross and Shane, before we ever recorded anything," he tells Taste of Country.

He felt that for two top producers to team up for the first time on his album, it needed to be worthy of the efforts of all involved. "What will this do for either one of you guys if it's not great?" he asked them. "And I said the same for me. I'm going into almost my tenth year of having a record deal. This'll be my fifth album. We have to do something that will change the perception of us a little bit, because otherwise, why would we do this? This isn't gonna change your lives unless we do something great."

We have to do something that will change the perception of us a little bit, because otherwise, why would we do this?

Owen told the songwriters that he wanted to leave behind the fun-loving beach songs that have given him much of his success and start singing about the things that are most important to him in his life.

"I'm 33, I'm married, I have a kid," he says. "My dad beat cancer. I've gone through a lot of real life situations over the last couple of years, and I said for me, on this record I want to get back to that. I want to get back to talking about things that are real to me, and real life scenarios."

They took his words to heart. "Next thing I know, a couple of weeks later, the two of them sent me this song that they wrote together called 'Real Life,'" he shares. McAnally and Copperman collaborated with Ashley Gorley and Josh Osborne for the song, which has a very distinctive '90s rock feel. The "Real Life" lyrics derive from the minutiae of everyday life: “We didn’t know we were real broke / Daddy rolled them real smokes / We drank RC, no real Coke / And our neighbor had a pool.”

Owen says some of the "Real Life" lyrics draw directly from his own experiences, including drinking RC instead of Coke and the prom queen having a plastic crown. One of the references in the song is universal. "Everybody's got that Waffle House that you hit at the end of the night after a long night, and that Waffle House lady's always a little bit perturbed at the end of the night, 'cause she knows you've had a couple of drinks," he says. "She doesn't want to deal with you. She's got her problems, we've got ours, so you tip her anyway."

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