Lyrics Uncovered: Jana Kramer, ‘I Got the Boy’
Spears co-wrote the song with Connie Harrington and Tim Nichols, two heavy hitters in Nashville's songwriting community. The co-writing session dates back several years, to when she was first establishing herself in Music City and writing for what became her debut EP, The Journey, in 2014.
"Connie was someone I had written with several times, and it's always nice writing with other females — especially when you're going through transitional kind of stuff," Spears says. "Tim came in on one of the co-writes, and we were talking about how I was personally going through this time where the person I had been with, we were not together, but he was with another girl who was bringing out the kind of man that you want to see in the person you're with. And it was bittersweet for me, because I was like, 'You know, that's what I always wanted from him, but I'm almost at peace with knowing that he's gonna be okay.' She's bringing out the good in him, and that made me feel good."
That conversation became the basis for the song. "It kind of snowballed off of that idea. It was a really clear point of view that everyone could connect to — man, woman, doesn't matter who you are, you've been there," Spears observes. "You've seen that person, the high school boyfriend or whoever it is, grow into the man that you never thought they could be."
Once the idea was in hand, the song came about organically. "Connie was playing guitar, and me and Tim were talking over some ideas, and Connie started playing this melody, and with this idea it was really sweet," Spears recalls. "It just made perfect sense. It kind of all felt into place."
The "I Got the Boy" lyrics deliver strongly on the premise of the song: “I got the class ring, she got the diamond and wedding band / I got the boy, she got the man.”
The person I had been with, we were not together, but he was with another girl who was bringing out the kind of man that you want to see in the person you're with.
Though the dominant point of view is female, Jamie Lynn is quick to point out that Nichols played an important role. "I think it was good to have a male in the room to get that perspective as well, because I think that's what makes it so universal, is having that — with just females, sometimes we can get a little carried away with our point of view, but having a male on the other side of it was a really good perspective."
"I Got the Boy" was a song that Spears considered for her own project before ultimately allowing it to be pitched to other artists. "You can't record every song you write. That's just the truth of it," she reflects. "So it was time to let some of them go, because it's been years now. This is the first one that that happened with, and it's a nerve-wracking thing. I did at some point say, 'I want to record this song.' But I say that with every single one of my songs. So whenever you have co-writers and you're not 100 percent sure you're going to use it on your project, it's important to let it go and see what happens. And now I'm not as wary to let some others go, because it's such a good experience for me so far."
Spears is particularly happy to have a hand in a song that could ultimately be good for women at country radio, where they have had a notably difficult time in recent years. She's thrilled that Kramer not only cut the song, but chose to release it as a single.
"I'm just so happy that another girl in country music is doing that, because it's just such a cool message to send that we're all supporting each other," she says. "We all just want the ladies to have a comeback in country music. I hope that it just does above and beyond for Jana, because that opens the doors for us in country music. I think that it could be a really cool pathway to open that door for the rest of us to get back in there. It's a cool experience to share that with another female in country music, and see the support we have going on for each other. We're all wanting each other to do well, because if one of us does well, I think it means all of us do."
So far the song is having a positive impact at country radio. It was the most-added song from a female artist in the week of its release, and currently sits at No. 48 on Billboard's Country Singles chart. Spears is hopeful that early success is indicative of a breakout hit, which she sees as part of a larger pattern of country radio accepting a wider diversity of material in 2015.
"I really hope that this year it one of those years where every type of country music can have its place and really be able to shine," she says.
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