How Did They Write That? Lee Brice, “A Woman Like You”
(Phil Barton, right, with Lee Brice and Johnny Bulford)
“A Woman Like You”
Written by: Phil Barton, Johnny Bulford, Jon Stone
Recorded by: Lee Brice
Peak Chart Position: No. 1 Billboard Country
When and where did you write “A Woman Like You?” Anything in particular about the vibe or your frame of mind while writing it?
Phil Barton: We wrote “Woman Like You” in one of the writers’ rooms at Warner Chappell in Nashville in July 2011. I probably drank 15 to 20 hot chocolates in the day from the Warner Starbucks coffee machine they have. We worked hard and solidly on the song, spending 10 plus hours on it, making sure the lyric was super tight. The inspiration really came from Jon Stone’s girlfriend asking him constant questions like “what would you do if I died,” and so on. Jon kind of mumbled the line, “what would you do if you had never met me.” I think we all related to the idea and each wrote it thinking of our own situations.
How much did you edit it, during or afterward? Were there any phrases or words you can remember that were especially tough to make a final decision on?
The song was recorded the actual night that we wrote it by Lee Brice on his home pro tools rig, and then the final recording was put down a day later, so we really did not have much time to make any edits on it. Thank goodness we did a good job on it on day one. It is Lee’s first take on the vocal and took him something like 7 minutes. Pretty impressive, really.
One of lines that seems to get the biggest reaction is the “yoga” line. I remember us being stuck on that for awhile, trying to rhyme with nova, something Jon wanted to put in the song. And I joked around and said yoga, thinking it was a joke, and johnny loved it. Some people call it the yoga song now. I’m glad we got it in there.
What do you enjoy most about writing songs?
I enjoy hanging out with great people and friends and making up stuff that I’m real proud off, songs are little windows to your life. There is nothing like hearing a great singer, sing your melodies, it is my favorite thing in the world.
What do you like most about writing with Stone and Bulford?
I have only written the one song with Jon Stone and Johnny Bulford, and it truly was a special day. A day that changed my life. I like that we are all from different worlds and we seem to able to compliment each other, and use each others strengths to get the best result. I like that no one settles on average lines and we push each other to excellence.
Step outside of the song for a moment. How would you describe “A Woman Like You” as a music fan?
It’s what every guy wants to say, and what every girl wants to hear. Its a song that is real and everyone connects with. It is real amazing the reactions from people that really love this song.
Any stories about the song’s path to Brice and its selection as a single?
Jon Stone, one of the writers on the song, took it to Lee Brice’s house while he was grilling out, straight after we wrote it. Lee immediately fell in love with it, and recorded a guitar vocal of the song that night. I woke up the next morning totally unaware of any of this and had an MP3 of Lee singing it in my inbox. He then recorded the full band master of it that day.
Curb Records loved the recording, and Lee Brice fought hard for it too be a single. The record is so strong, that I am honored the song was selected as a single.
Walk us through a typical day in the life of Phil Barton.
I get up, shower, get on my scooter and ride five minutes into my publisher’s office, HoriPro. I usually sip on a Starbucks on the way. Talk to my song plugger, Amy Hendon-Scott, for a bit. Then start writing with whomever I am booked with that day. I’ll probably scoot to a nearby studio to record a song in the middle of the afternoon, then make some calls and see who is up for writing in the afternoon, and then write. Then go record some more. Then go play a show at one of the writers’ nights around town. Then do some emails, then jump into bed, and do it all again the next day.
Any words of wisdom or advice for aspiring or newly professional songwriters, regarding both the craft and business?
Create your own luck, by working your butt off. Write ‘cause you love it, do it for the right reasons, surround yourself with people that inspire you, be patient, cool, focused and work super hard.