Jerrod Niemann On The Dangers Of Writing About Exes
Jerrod also admits that many of his songs are inspired by past relationships. The second track on his new album Free The Music is just one example. He explained how “Whiskey Kinda Way” came together after a business meeting.
“There was a bar in Nashville called the LongHorn Steakhouse. My vehicle was broken down and I borrowed my friend’s and he said, ‘Man, I gotta go to work so don’t get drunk and me not have a car to go to work,’” Jerrod says.
“A friend walks in and we’re sitting there. The jukebox is playing and we get to talking about girlfriends and he asked how me and my girlfriend at the time were and I said, ‘Well, we’re no longer anything and have moved on with our lives.’”
When asked if he loved her the song’s premise came together.
“I said, ‘I guess I do in a whiskey kind of way.’ He said, ‘Oh my gosh that should be a song!’ So I wrote it on a napkin, took it home and a month later I was looking for my keys and saw this crumpled up napkin with the lyrics.”
Jerrod says every songwriter has a different approach and outcome and some songs are more autobiographical than others.
“‘What Do You Want’ was the second song off of Judge Jerrod & The Hung Jury and it was extremely autobiographical. I wrote that because you only hear from your exes for one of three reasons,” he said. “One, you haven’t called them so they wonder what you’re up to. Two, they want to make you jealous, tell you about all the cool places they’re going, all the cool people they’re hanging out with. Or, three, it’s really late at night, the bar is closed and they’re lonely. That was where that was derived from.”
“It would have been very easy to put someone’s name in there, but when you put someone’s name in there someone who is listening to it, maybe it was a song they needed to hear, all of a sudden they can no longer relate to it because you’ve personified the character and named the character in the story,” he said.
Jerrod explained that it’s better to be vague than calling out one particular person.
“I guarantee at the end of the day the person is going to know the song is about them.”
Jerrod made one mistake though, when he sent an ex a song he wrote about her.
“I had a song that my buddy Lee Brice just recorded that we wrote together and I had sent it to an ex-girlfriend and said, ‘This is the last song I’ll ever write about you.’ The first line of the song says, basically when you can look at her lips and not want to kiss her no more, when you can look at her picture and not want to be next to her anymore, that’s when you know it’s over.”
He quickly learned it’s not good to use music as a weapon.
“She just sent back, ‘Good. I hope to have a song about me on the radio.’ So, it gets you right back.”
So, what has Jerrod learned from that experience?
“I think I’ll go ahead and leave the details out.”
-Annie Reuter, CBS Local