Caylee Hammack will always consider ”Mean Something” to be a key song in her career: Not only is its message an important one to the singer, but its creation, with co-writer Mikey Reaves, also kickstarted the pair’s working relationship as co-producers of Hammack’s debut album, If It Wasn’t for You.
When it came time to record “Mean Something,” Hammack enlisted her two friends, fellow artists Ashley McBryde and Tenille Townes. No one else would have done, she says: McBryde and Tenille just get what the song’s about, Hammack explains.
Below, Hammack recalls the writing and recording of “Mean Something,” including which rapper inspired her to start the song. Read on for the story behind the song, in Hammack’s own words.
Both of those women — their albums are unreal … They’re just as good of people as they are musicians and artists and creators, and that’s the type of people I want around me … For them to be willing to sing on this song is a big deal to me.
I remember, that day in the studio, I was just bawling my eyes out: It had been a hard week, and I had gotten a lot of bad news right before it, and I went in just bawling, trying to get myself together before I got in there. And Ashley took one look at my face, my swollen eyes and stuff, and she’s like, “Sit down.“
She’s like, “I need some Jack [Daniel’s] … We need a drink … What’s going on?” And both of them just sat there and listened to me vent, and were able to give me advice that no one else could have because they actually have felt those things. And that’s why, on “Mean Something,” I needed them on that one.
That was the first song that even started Mikey and I’s relationship, that even was the reason we were co-producing; it was the first song we ever wrote together. I was inspired — it was after the 2007 Grammys, it was after Chance the Rapper’s performance: He did this mixture of his songs and hymns, and it was this beautiful thing. I started jotting down lyrics, and I came up with the premise for “Mean Something.”
I knew from then that it needed to stand out, because I feel like it’s a message I needed out there in the world, and I wanted it to make an impact, and having those two women on it, I think that’s exactly the impact it needed to make.
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