“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.”
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: