BMI‘s “How I Wrote That Song” is an annual pre-GRAMMY weekend event that celebrates GRAMMY winners and nominees, and serves as a platform for panelists to discuss the process of writing, producing and performing hit songs.
The Knockturnal was on the scene for the event at The Roxy on Feb. 13, where we got to chat exclusively with panelist Liz Rose. She is currently nominated for Song Of The Year again in 2016 for her work on the song “Girl Crush” performed by Little Big Town.
Rose worked with Taylor Swift on her 2006 self-titled debut album. They co-wrote most of the album including “Tim McGraw” and “Teardrops on My Guitar.” Rose also worked with Swift on her second album, 2008’s Fearless including hits “White Horse” and “You Belong with Me.”
What was your initial start with the music and the songwriting?
Liz Rose: Well my initial start was that I got a job in publishing when I was much older and my kids went to school and I got a job in a publishing company, then started one, started writing with one of my writers and kind of fell into writing like that.
And from that, how did you end up meeting Taylor Swift?
Liz Rose: It’s so weird how things happen and it’s always from something that I don’t really do. I did a writers round, which I don’t do really because I’m not much of a singer really and I had never done one. It was my first time to really get up and sing in front of anyone and Taylor was there. It was a small group. She heard a couple of my songs—she was I think 13, barely 14—and she walked right up and introduced herself to me, asking if I would write with her sometime.
What is that like when you guys are collaborating on a song? What’s the creative process?
Liz Rose: Well, usually I’m the lyricist. I’m the one that puts the words together, but with Taylor, sometimes she just needs somebody to bounce stuff off of. That’s what worked with us. We got in there and it’s just bam bam bam, she’s always got the idea, the melody, she’s a genius. There’s no co-write like it in the world. She’s brilliant. She’s amazing.
What makes Taylor so special?
Liz Rose: I just think she’s got it. I just think she’s got a huge imagination. She’s got a lot of emotion, and she likes to get it out in a song.
So what do you think of her most recent project, 1989?
Liz Rose: I think it’s fantastic. It’s so fun to watch her just grow as a young woman and watch her music grow. When you see an artist grow who started so young, at some point even musically they go off in another world, but you listen to that, listen to her country records and listen to her pop records, and her lyrics … she has stayed true to her lyric ability the whole time as well as her storytelling. She’s very strong in what she does and she knows exactly who she is.
Speaking of working with other country artists, how was it working with Carrie Underwood?
Liz Rose: I didn’t work with Carrie Underwood, it was an outside song, which was amazing. I wrote that with Lori McKenna, Hillary Lindsey (Love Junkies) and Carrie cut it. It was an outside cut so that was awesome.
So what are you working on next?
Liz Rose: Just various cuts that are coming out. I’m working with a few new artists. I’m working with Jamie Lynn Spears. I’m working with this new country artist named Alyssa that I’m very excited about. Of course I have the publishing company, so we’ve got a lot of great things coming out. We’ve got a lot of great things on Chris Young’s record.