“I am who I am because of my dad,” Chandler Stephens tells American Songwriter. “So, I always wanted to write a song to thank him for everything he’s done for me and how he raised me.”
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Born and raised in Lake Mary, Florida with 15 siblings, Stephens began writing songs when she was a teenager—though, it wasn’t until she moved to Nashville eight years ago that she began pursuing the craft seriously. Since then, she’s built a name for herself in the country world thanks to her thoughtful, down-home tunes (including a 2016 duet with country superstar, Kane Brown). Through it all, the point-of-view and philosophy instilled in her by her father served as a guiding inspiration.
So, when she met up with Nate Montgomery for a writing session in 2015, they decided to take a crack at the song she’s always wanted to write: the “Thank you” for her dad. Now, that song is finally coming out—on August 13, she unveiled the single “Raised By A Working Man.”
“This song is really a thank you to my dad for being a great father and raising me to be strong and a hard worker,” Stephens explained. “I wrote it in 2015 and I unexpectedly lost him in 2020. This song has always been special to me but it’s even more so now.”
With a bit of a throwback feel, poignant lyrics and a truly gorgeous pedal steel part, the song speaks to a powerful feeling. Working-class life is never easy, but with a certain attitude and the bonds forged by a family’s love, even the unimaginable can be endured. This idea steps right into the spotlight when the song reaches its stirring chorus: I’m gonna make it/ no, I don’t have to wonder if I can/ ‘cause I was raised by a working man.
“That line has always been my favorite, but it’s taken on a whole new meaning for me now,” Stephens explained. “Losing my dad was one of the hardest things I’ve ever gone through—this line hits me every time I sing it because, when you lose someone you loved dearly and they were influential in shaping your life for a while, it feels like you can’t go on. Frankly, it feels wrong to go on without them. But I know he’s watching over me and, because he raised me to be strong, I can keep pushing forward and keep going. I want to make him proud.”
To that end, Stephens hopes the song can be a source of strength for folks in similar situations—a testament to the comforting power of music. “I know there are people out there who have had the same experience I have,” Stephens concluded, “I want this song to be a song they can use to thank the people in their lives that have been influential in making them who they are.”
Chandler Stephens’ new song “Raised By A Working Man” is out now—watch the lyric video below: