The pandemic completely changed the priorities of country hitmaker Craig Campbell.
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For the first time in a long time, he was primarily off the road and home with his wife Mindy and kids, Preslee and Kinni. He finally was able to go the volleyball games he had missed. He made that trip to the beach and let his girls give him a makeover. But most of all, the pandemic gave him the time to think things through a little bit, leading the country singer to come to one conclusion.
“I’m not saying that there is lots of things I put ahead of being a dad, but I was in the mind frame of striking while the irons hot,” Campbell admits to American Songwriter. “My music was more on the front burner than it should have been. I missed a lot. I missed a lot with my girls.”
The Georgia native suddenly grows quiet, as if the heaviness of his words has made their way straight to his heart. “I’ve arranged my priorities back to where they should be, and it’s awesome,” he continues.
Indeed, despite Campbell’s supposed shortcomings, its long been known that this is a man who absolutely adores his wife and their two daughters. And it’s this adoration that one can hear clear as day on Campbell’s new single, “What a Girl Will Make You Do,” the sweetest of songs about a man’s adoration for the females in his life, and a man’s constant determination to keep them happy.
To catch a smile, you’d rope the moon.
Ain’t a mountain you wouldn’t move.
Ain’t nothin’ you wouldn’t go through.
It’s crazy, what a girl will make you do.
“I got together with my co-writers Brian Davis and Blake Bollinger back in 2019 and I remember Brian threw the title out, ‘What a Girl Will Make You Do,’ and as soon as he said it, I was like, ‘I am in,’” Campbell remembers. “I have all kinds of things to say about that.”
In a matter of a few hours, the chorus and the last verse was complete.
“We basically wrote the song backwards,” remembers Campbell, best known for hits such as “Family Man,” “Keep Them Kisses Comin” and “Outskirts of Heaven.” “Brian (Davis) sang it down and doubled up on the lyrics because we didn’t have all the lyrics for certain spots of the song, and I went and played it for a lot of people. (Laughs.) I was fired up about it. And it was unanimous. Everyone loved it. Everyone said, ‘this is a hit.’ It wasn’t just me that thought it was a good song. Everyone thought it was a good song. It was one of the reasons I was so passionate about getting it done.”
But the song wasn’t done. And it wouldn’t be for a while. The trio of songwriters were having trouble finding time in their schedule. And then, COVID hit. But the song continued to tug on Campbell’s heart.
“I kept on going back to these guys and saying, ‘I really like what we have, so let’s finish this thing,’” Campbell remembers of the addicting song, which serves as the follow-up to his light-hearted, 2020 quarantine jam “All My Friends Drink Beer.” “Eventually, we tied it all up. It was a process, but we enjoyed it.”
And it’s this enjoyment factor that Campbell finds himself seeking out more frequently these days, especially within in the writing room. Because these days, Campbell says he is determined to go into the writing room every single time with a distinct purpose.
“A lot of times, you used to write just to write,” remembers Campbell about the pre-pandemic style of writing in Nashville. “But with these Zoom writes, it just feels way more focused. You get in there, and you are not in there just to hang out and drink beer. We are sequestered and we got to make the most out of it. We need to dig in and create the best music we can.”
In a similar way, Campbell is digging into his personal life with the same amount of fervor and excitement.
“Life is just really awesome right now,” gushes Campbell, who currently lives with his family about 45 minutes outside downtown Nashville. “We have been knee deep in travel volleyball and that’s just so much fun. Preslee is always singing and Kinni sings because she can, and she does have this really cool voice, but I’m not sure if she loves it as much as Preslee. (Laughs.) I mean, the general consensus around here is that we would love for things to go back to normal so we can do things again, but I’m not complaining. This has been fun.”
Listen to Craig’s “What a Girl Will Make You Do” here.