A Q&A With the Home Sweet Home Lyric Contest Promotion Winner, Shawn Chambliss

“Home By Dinner” 
Written by Shawn Chambliss
Interview by American Songwriter

Shawn Chambliss is the American Songwriter Home Sweet Home Lyric Contest Promotion winner for his song “Home By Dinner.” American Songwriter caught up with Shawn to get the story behind his lyrics. 

How long have you been songwriting? 

I’ve been writing songs in some capacity for 14 or so years. I wrote all the music for the songs for my high school band and then started writing lyrics and melodies more seriously in college, when I started my pop project The DLX.

Why did you enter American Songwriter’s Lyric Contest? 

One of my favorite producers in Nashville, Chris Ganoudis, text me a link to it and thought the song I had recently been showing around town (“Home By Dinner”) would be a great fit. I’ve always loved American Songwriter, and I trust his opinion – so I went for it.

What was the inspiration behind your song, “Home By Dinner”?

I started a new writing exercise this year- I ask my wife to give me a random word or phrase, and I try to make the best verse/chorus I can out of it. She sent me this phrase when I was out of town and she was upset that I wasn’t going to be home to try something new she cooked. As soon as she said “Home By Dinner,” I knew (Spoiler Alert) I wanted “Home” to be heaven by the end of the song. From there, I wrote the song backwards – I wanted to feel connected to the whole life arc of the main character and for all the people throughout his life that he’d been “Home By Dinner.” It felt real to me because the guy in the song lives an amazing and beautiful life, but just like in real life, sometimes tragedies happen.

Who are your all-time favorite songwriters and why? 

Too many. I’m always drawn to fellow Mississippi Writers – Craig Wiseman, Chase McGill, Michael Hardy- to name a few. I LOVE great concepts and/or taking an on-the-surface “mundane” concept and describing it in such a way that you can’t stop listening to it. Every writer brings different strengths to building my favorite songs, but whatever they bring – whether incredible rhyme schemes, mesmerizing melody, genius turns of phrase – they all support a well-thought out concept. Jeffrey Steele, Luke Laird, Eric Church, and Emily Weisband are others that all do things differently while still bringing a concept to life in a way that makes me want to throw the song on repeat.

Are you planning on releasing any new music anytime soon? 

I’ve primarily swapped to being a songwriter, and I have been blessed to be able to work with some incredible artists on songs being released in the new year. However, I’ve been writing so much lately that we’re looking at a new artist project in the Spring to give a home to some of the songs that aren’t quite right for pitch.

What would you tell other artists who are considering entering the contest?

Go for it! To have the chance to get access to resources, affirmation and to be associated with such a great and supportive company like American Songwriter is incredible. 

Read Shawn’s winning lyrics to “Home By Dinner” below: 

V
Boy comes home smiling ear to ear
Saying, “dad, I think I found the one.
She got eyes that shine like diamonds,
And my heart’s as good as gone.
She said pick her in 30 and we’ll go down by the lake,
But I know mama’s cooking supper, so I won’t be out too late”
He said,

C
I’ll be home by dinner
You can count on that
Save a seat there at the table
And don’t start till I get back
Can’t wait to tell you all about her
Pray I don’t act like a fool
But hey, I love you and I’ll see ya soon

V2
Sweethearts into lovers
A boy into a dad
20 years together
Never knew they’d go so fast
(But) Each and every morning right before he hits the door
He pulls her in, gives her a kiss
And as he walks off the porch
He says,

C2
I’ll be home by dinner
You can count on that
Save a seat there at the table
Let me know what I can grab
Can’t wait to hear what you get into
And what the kids did at the school
But hey, I love you, and I’ll see ya soon

B
A rainy night in August
His wife pours a glass of wine
Then she got the call about a wreck on 65
Crowded in the church hall
A preacher stands to speak
A few familiar words over his friends and family

C3
He was home by dinner
You can count on that
Seat there at the table
Between Jesus and his dad
Wish he could tell us all about it
But only time will heal these wounds
Just know he loves you and we’ll see him soon
Know he loves you and we’ll see him soon”

Since 1984, American Songwriter’s Lyric Contest has helped aspiring songwriters get noticed and have fun. Enter the 2024 Lyric Contest today before the deadline:

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