A Q&A With November/December 2023 Lyric Contest Winners Trent Fisher and Terri Jo Box

“Who I’m From”
Written by Trent Fisher, Terri Jo Box, and Russell Sutton

Trent Fisher, Terri Jo Box, and Russell Sutton scored 1st place in the November/December 2023 American Songwriter Lyric Contest for their song “Who I’m From.” American Songwriter caught up with Fisher and Box to get the scoop on the inspiration behind the lyrics and other musings.

Interview by American Songwriter

American Songwriter: What made you decide to enter the American Songwriter’s Lyric Contest?

Trent Fisher: My good friend and co-writer Mason Caviness won the contest last year. After recording the demo for “Who I’m From,” I decided to submit it for the contest. It’s a lyric I’m very proud of.

Terri Jo Box: My co-writer, Trent Fisher, entered us, I didn’t know until we won.. how fun is that! 

AS: How did you feel when you learned you won?

TF: Honestly, I submitted the song and didn’t expect to hear anything back. I couldn’t believe it when Shane called me to tell me that we won. I’m just really thankful that the people at American Songwriter connected with it and I’m excited about what is to come.

TJB: I was honored, it’s always humbling to have the work you pour your heart into recognized. 

Since 1984, American Songwriter’s Lyric Contest has helped aspiring songwriters get noticed and have fun. Enter the Lyric Contest today before the deadline:

What was the inspiration for your submission? Why did you want to write it?

TF: There are so many “where I’m from” type songs in country music, and a lot of songs about the people who made us who we are. I felt like “who I’m from” could be a fresh way of saying something that a lot of people would connect with.

TJB: Trent had this great title and I’m very family-oriented and super proud and grateful for “who i come from” as well. 

AS: What’s the story behind the song “Who I’m From”? 

TF: I don’t remember when exactly I had the idea, probably just sitting in the basement late one night about a year and a half ago. I started writing first about my mom, then my dad. I wrote a verse and tweaked it a bunch before reaching out to Terri Jo Box and telling her I thought I had an idea she’d get excited about. Terri Jo has been an amazing friend, co-writer, and songwriting mentor to me. I thought she’d be the perfect one to help bring it to life. We got together and wrote then re-wrote. We finished that write and still felt like something was missing. We had another writing session scheduled and Russell happened to be free so we pulled him in. Russell is another writer I really look up to and I was pumped to have him help us finish it. 

TJB: Trent Fisher, Russell Sutton and I are all big family folks and we wanted to write that title about the people, not the place. It was a cool twist on the usual angle. 

AS: Have you written music for this lyric? If so, how would you describe it?  

TF: Yes. The first verse starts off a little slower and more mellow but builds into a big, sing-along, head-bobbing type of chorus. Russell was actually a big help in creating the musical direction for the song. I have a tendency to write slower stuff, but Russell brought the energy to the chorus that the song was missing and I’m really proud of how it turned out!

TJB: We have, I think the melody and the track really present the lyric well! 

AS: How long have you been writing lyrics?

TF: I’ve played guitar since high school and wrote a little bit in college, but I didn’t really begin pursuing songwriting until right before COVID hit. Then the world slowed down a ton and gave me a chance to put more time into learning how to craft a song.

TJB: I’ve been writing poetry since I was in 5th grade. 

AS: What keeps you motivated as a songwriter? 

TF: Some of the best songwriting advice I’ve been given came from my father-in-law who’s also a songwriter. He simply said, “Write what you know.” A lot of times in co-writing in Nashville, it’s easy to get stuck in the headspace of trying to write something you think other people will like or want to record. This was one of those songs where I just told the truth about my life and I wanted to write something real for me. 

TJB: Every day is a blank sheet of paper, so it never gets old

AS: What’s next for you?

TF: I spent time in the studio this summer working on Who I’m From. My plan is to release it independently this fall. I love meeting new writers and developing great writing relationships so I’m doing a lot of that. I’m just trying to learn the craft and write the best song I can every time I sit down to write.

TJB: Hopefully more songs … more stories … more big moments. 

AS: What would you tell other songwriters who are considering entering the Lyric Contest?

TF: Just go for it! The worst thing that can happen is you don’t hear back. A good friend and very successful producer told me once, “The best thing you can do as a creative is learn how to be rejected for your creativity.” So just go do it. Go write it, then share it. Get feedback, then go do it again, because that’s how you grow.

Since 1984, American Songwriter’s Lyric Contest has helped aspiring songwriters get noticed and have fun. Enter the Lyric Contest today before the deadline:

Photo courtesy Trent Fisher

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