Songwriter Lori McKenna won the award for best country song at the 2017 Grammy Awards.

Credit: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

Grammy Winner Lori McKenna Shares Her Song Writing Secrets

May 19, 2017

Lori McKenna, the Grammy winning songwriter from Stoughton, Mass., isn't all that comfortable with the title, "Songwriter of the Year." That's the title she got from the Academy of Country Music Awards back in April. Though she's the first woman nominated, she was "very surprised to win" because the other nominees "have had so many other hits." 

McKenna sat down with WGBH’s Bob Seay to talk about her awards — including her two Grammys — and share stories about how she approaches song writing and raising her family in Stoughton. (Nashville, she says, is only a plane ride away. She visits Music City often to collaborate with other songwriters and artists.)

Around the age of 12, McKenna started writing songs during an era when songwriters often performer their own music. Raised on the music of James Taylor, she comes from a musical family, and her work was influenced by her two older brothers. 

I do most of my songwriting when the kids are at school... sitting in my dining room somewhere.

Lori McKenna, Winner of the ACM Songwriter of the Year Award- 2017

Every now and then, McKenna says something that is very Boston or Massachusetts creeps into her song writing. The origin of her Grammy winning song, "Humble and Kind," which was sung by Tim McGraw and won the Grammy for Best Country Song in 2017, has a simple chord progression. She describes it as a simple elementary song that stems from teaching her five children manners and being polite.

"I do most of my songwriting when the kids are at school ... sitting in my dining room somewhere," she says. "Humble and Kind" was no different. The main lyrics are... "Hold the door... say please... say thank you... don't steal, don't cheat and don't lie...I know you got mountains to climb...Always stay humble and kind..."

To listen to the entire interview, click on the audio file above.

 

 


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