Bringin’ it Backwards: Interview with Brett James

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We had the pleasure of interviewing Brett James over Zoom video!

After a decision to leave Med school to pursue a music career, he’s had more than 500 songs recorded by artists like Carrie Underwood, Taylor Swift, Jason Aldean, Bon Jovi, Nick Jonas, The Backstreet Boys and many others. He also co-wrote the NBC Sunday Night Football theme songs “Oh, Sunday Night” and “Game On.”

He’s spent more than two decades establishing himself as one of Nashville’s most sought-after writers and collaborators, and is also now a business owner with his own publishing company, helping develop younger talent via Cornman Music Publishing. He was also just named a 2020 Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame nominee.

Apple Music’s Brett James Songbook:

James just released his ‘Tell The People’ EP earlier this Fall, following his ‘I Am Now’ EP which marked his return to a solo artist career after more than two decades. Listen here:

*25 No. 1 hits
*500+ songs have been recorded for albums with combined sales of more than 110 million copies
*2007 GRAMMY Award (Best Country Song / “Jesus, Take the Wheel” recorded by Carrie Underwood)
*3 CMA Triple Play Awards
*45 BMI and ASCAP song awards


  • 2005 Nomination – ACM Award – Song of the Year “Jesus, Take the Wheel” Carrie Underwood
  • 2006 ASCAP Country Songwriter of the Year
  • 2006 ACM Award – Single of the Year “Jesus, Take the Wheel” Carrie Underwood
  • 2006 ACM Award – Song of the Year “Jesus, Take the Wheel” Carrie Underwood
  • 2006 Nomination – CMA Award – Single of the Year “Jesus, Take the Wheel” Carrie Underwood
  • 2006 NSAI Song of the Year “Jesus, Take the Wheel” Carrie Underwood
  • 2006 2 CMA Triple Play Awards (for 3 #1 songs in a 12 month period)
  • 2007 Nomination ‐ Grammy Award – Song of the Year “Jesus, Take the Wheel” Carrie Underwood
  • 2007 Grammy Award – Best Country Song “Jesus, Take the Wheel” Carrie Underwood
  • 2009 Nomination – ACM Award – Song of the Year “Cowboy Casanova” Carrie Underwood
  • 2010 Nomination – ACM Award – Song of the Year “Cowboy Casanova” Carrie Underwood
  • 2010 American Country Awards – Female Single of the Year “Cowboy Casanova” Carrie Underwood
  • 2010 ASCAP Country Songwriter of the Year
  • 2014 NSAI Ten Songs I Wish I’d Written “I Hold On” Dierks Bentley
  • 2014 Nomination ‐ ACM – Song of the Year “I Hold On” Dierks Bentley
  • 2015 Music Row Magazine Songwriter of the Year
  • 2015 Billboard Music Awards – Top Christian Song “Something in the Water” Carrie Underwood
  • 2016 CMA Triple Play Award

*45 BMI and ASCAP song awards in Pop, Country, Christian and Latin Genres

Top 15 Singles

  • #1 “Blessed’ – Martina McBride
  • #1 ’‘Bottoms Up” – Brantley Gilbert (3 weeks)
  • #1 “Church Bells” – Carrie Underwood
  • #1 “Cowboy Casanova” – Carrie Underwood
  • #1 “Gonna Know We Were Here” – Jason Aldean
  • #1 “Hope In Front of Me” – Danny Gokey
  • #1 “I Hold On” – Dierks Bentley (2 weeks)
  • #1 “It’s America” – Rodney Atkins
  • #1 “Jesus, Take the Wheel” – Carrie Underwood (7 weeks)
  • #1 “Life After You” – Daughtry
  • #1 “Love You Out Loud” – Rascal Flatts
  • #1 “Mr. Know It All” – Kelly Clarkson
  • #1 “Out Last Night” – Kenny Chesney
  • #1 “Reality” – Kenny Chesney
  • #1 “Something Bad” – Miranda Lambert feat. Carrie Underwood
  • #1 “Something in the Water” – Carrie Underwood
  • #1 “Summer Nights” – Rascal Flatts
  • #1 “The Man I Want to Be” – Chris Young
  • #1 “The Truth” – Jason Aldean
  • #1 “When the Sun Goes Down” – Kenny Chesney feat. Uncle Kracker (7 weeks)
  • #1 “Who I Am” – Jessica Andrews – (5 weeks)
  • #1 “You Save Me” – Kenny Chesney
  • #3 “Baby Be My Love Song” – Easton Corbin
  • #4 “Everything I Shouldn’t Be Thinking About” – Thompson Square
  • #4 “I Want to Live” – Josh Cracin
  • #4 “Stay With Me (Brass Bed)” – Josh Gracin
  • #5 “The One You Love (Todo Mi Amor)” – Paulina Rubio
  • #6 “Keg in the Closet” – Kenny Chesney
  • #8 “Stone Cold Sober” – Brantley Gilbert
  • #10 “Drugs or Jesus” – Tim McGraw
  • #10 “What Do You Got” – Bon Jovi
  • #10 “Love Wins” – Carrie Underwood
  • #11 “On My Way to You” – Cody Johnson
  • #11 “What the World Needs” – Wynonna
  • #12 “The Heart of Dixie” – Danielle Bradberry
  • #13 “It’s a Business Doing Pleasure With You” – Tim McGraw
  • #15 “Get Off on the Pain” – Gary Allan
  • #15 “I Love You This Big” – Scotty McCreery

TV Themes:

  • “Oh, Sunday Night” – Carrie Underwood (NBC Sunday Football Theme)
  • “Game On” – Carrie Underwood (NBC Sunday Night Football Theme)
  • “The Champion” – Carrie Underwood feat. Ludacris (2018 Super Bowl and Winter Olympics Theme)

Other Songs and Singles Recorded by:

Tim McGraw, Kenny Chesney, Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan, Keith Urban, Bon Jovi, Taylor Swift, Kelly Clarkson, Meghan Trainor, Carrie Underwood, Nick Jonas, Miranda Lambert, Kip Moore, Colbie Caillat, Faith Hill, Martina McBride, Leona Lewis, Daughtry, The Fray, Dierks Bentley, Chris Young, Florida Georgie Line, Brantley Gilbert, Chicago, Backstreet Boys,, James Arthur, Emeli Sande’, Paulina Rubio, Jake Owen, Rascal Flatts, and many more.

Songwriting Credits:

Backstreet Boys:

  • No place
  • Helpless when she smiles

Billy Currington:

  • Little bit lonely

Billy Ray Cyrus:

  • You won’t be lonely now

Bon Jovi:

  • What do you got
  • Scars on this guitar
  • Til we ain’t strangers anymore

Brantley Gilbert:

  • Bottoms up
  • Baby be crazy

Carrie Underwood:

  • Jesus Take The Wheel
  • Flat on the Floor
  • Cowboy Casanova
  • Something in The Water
  • Church Bells
  • Drinking Alone
  • Love Wins
  • The Champion
  • Relapse
  • What I Never Knew I Always Wanted


  • 90 degrees and freezing
  • Long lost friend

Chris Young:

  • The man I want to be

Colbie Caillat:

  • Never gonna let you down

Danielle Bradberry:

  • The heart of Dixie


  • Life after you
  • Start of something good
  • Louder than ever

Dierks Bentley:

  • I Hold On

Faith Hill:

  • Love is a sweet thing

Florida Georgia Line:

  • Dig Your Roots

Gary Allan:

  • Get off on the pain

Jason Aldean:

  • The way a night should feel
  • Gonna know we were here
  • Two night town
  • Heartache that don’t stop hurting
  • Don’t give up on me
  • On my highway
  • The truth
  • I use what I got
  • Grown woman

Jessica Andrews:

  • Who I am

Jo Dee Messina:

  • You were just here

Josh Gracin:

  • Stay with me (brass bed)

Keith Urban:

  • Red Camaro

Kelly Clarkson:

  • Mr. Know it all

Kenny Chesney:

  • Out last night
  • Trip around the sun
  • Bucket
  • Spread the love – (feat. The wailers and elan arias)
  • Reality
  • Spirit of a storm
  • Wife and kids
  • Dancin for the groceries
  • Keg in the closet
  • When the sun goes down
  • You save me
  • Flip flop summer

Kip Moore:

  • Up all night
  • Faith when I fall
  • Wild ones
  • Come and get it

Lee Ann Womack:

  • Stubborn (psalm 151)

Leona Lewis:

  • Here I am


  • With me

Luke Bryan:

  • Blood Brothers

Martina McBride:

  • Blessed

Meghan Trainor:

  • No good for you

Miranda Lambert( feat Carrie Underwood):

  • Something Bad

Nick Jonas:

  • Touch

Paulina Rubio:

  • Todo mi amor  (Spanish)
  • The one you love (English)

Priyanka Chopra:

  • In my city (feat. Will I Am)

Rascal Flatts:

  • Love you out loud
  • Summer nights

Rodney Atkins:

  • It’s America

Sara Evans:

  • Cheating’

Scotty Mcreery:

  • I love you this big

Steven Tyler:

  • Somebody new

Taylor Swift:

  • A perfectly good heart

The Fray:

  • Keep on wanting

Tim McGraw:

  • It’s a business doin pleasure with you
  • Drugs or Jesus
  • Telluride

Wynonna Judd:

  • What the world needs

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