Songs can create crazy triangles, but friendship is the great common ground. When Nicolle Galyon decided to surprise her friend lifestyle guru/internet influencer Landyn Hutchinson with a song, she knew just who to call. Lori McKenna, the critically acclaimed artist/writer and sometime Love Junkie, wasn’t just a buddy, she was also a fan of the woman others turn to for everything from the perfect white tshirt to dinner tips to decorating advice.
“The heart of this,” Galyon explains on the phone from the small town in Kansas where she grew up, “is I’m so proud of my friend. We’ve been business confidantes on the phone for years, from when we didn’t have anything going on. We met in a suite at a Titans’ game in 2011…Watching her career-rise, I’d be high five-ing her every step of the way.”
For McKenna, who’s never actually met the woman whose every move inspires other women, Hutchinson’s ability to put it all out there hooked her.
“I’m a woman who loves women who inspire other women,” McKenna thrills on the phone from her home in Massachusetts. “Landyn holds nothing back; you never sense she keeps things to herself to be one up on everyone. And her mantra is: ‘If you can do something, do it. But if you can make it pretty, it’ll make you happy!’ I love that!”
Together, the pair wrote “All The Things,” a sunny midtempo that strings all the positives over three minutes. Simple, yet cutting to the heart of Hutchinson’s appeal, the song gets to the core of who women want to be today.
Laughing, McKenna, who’s actually whipping up a batch of vegetables on a cookie sheet in the oven a la Landyn as we speak, confesses, “Nicolle knows I am a diehard fan, and she’s the friend writing about a girl she goes to parties with, has dinner with…I’m seeing it from the outside, she’s seeing it from the inside and we just stretched out who she was, how you see Landyn from all those perspectives.”
McKenna pauses, “And she didn’t know we were doing it. If the song didn’t work, we just wouldn’t show it to her.”
Galyon, who’s won a pair of Academy of Country Music Awards Song of the Year Awards for “Automatic” and “Tequila,” as well as being 2019’s BMI Country Songwriter of the Year, understands the notion of writing hit songs. But writing a song so specific? “Any time you write, it’s. getting up to the bat and swinging, trying to hit the ball – and have a hit. You’re not always aiming at something so specific, but this one? It’s more ‘Right over the wall at left field, the second row…,’ which is so unique. Landyn tells the whole world what to buy their girlfriends for gifts; that’s her brand: Everygirl.”
November 12, 2018, McKenna went to Galyon’s house. Each had a write during the day, and they figured this might need another vibe. Wine. Fire. Friends. BOOM! “All The Things” practically fell out.
“Lori says, ‘I’ll do whatever Landyn tells me,’ so I knew she got her,” Galyon explains. “One of the things we have in common is our marriage. We love our husband and our sons… So it truly was a labor of love.”
“It wasn’t what word does the country radio world need today,” McKenna says. “I don’t get to spend a lot of time with Nicolle, so we were going to get together at her house, have wine and just be girlfriends talking about another girl we both love.”
Drawing on Hutchinson’s focus on “all the things,” the title emerged. McKenna remembers, “We wanted to write it in a way the listeners could put themselves in there; this song could be theirs, too. A fan letter is such a great way to say it, because for it to work, it has to work for other people, too.”
When they were done, Galyon made the decision to do what she so rarely does: sing on the recording. With her Songs & Daughters all-female record label, formed in tandem with the folks at Big Loud, the woman with the Music Business Degree from Belmont recognizes her company’s greatest asset is its ability to take creativity beyond any kind of expectation.
“I want to let my work speak for itself, not speak about it or for it,”Galyon offers. “That’s a big reason we kept the label a secret for six to eight months, to surprise people with Madison (Kozak, the first signing).”
That surprise factor weighed in for Hutchinson, too. McKenna, obviously invested, remembers having no idea when the “Livin’ with Landyn” theme might land.
“I got a text, saying, ‘She loved it!’ It was fun for me, waiting to see what she thought…”
As Hutchinson’s friend, Gaylon was clear about what they wanted to create, “We weren’t going to write some outside the box, obscure kind of song because we wanted it to connect for everyone who loves her… something that felt like Landyn.”
In the end, theme songs are often in the eye of the beholder. The proof was in the phone call.
The woman who wrote Camila Cabello’s I Heart Radio Award winning smash “Consequences” remembers, “She said, ‘This is a dream! My whole family is dancing around the kitchen!’”
For the woman who seemingly has it all, “All The Things” reflects who the personable lifestyle blogger/podcaster is and her loyal followers can be.