The Story Behind the Song: Phillip Phillips, “Home”

Videos by American Songwriter

(Left to right: Phillip Phillips, Greg Holden, Drew Pearson)

How Did They Write That?

Phillip Phillips, “Home”

Written by: Drew Pearson & Greg Holden

Recorded by: Phillip Phillips

Peak Chart Position: No. 7 Billboard Hot 100, No. 1 Adult Pop & Triple A

What is a typical day like in the life of Drew Pearson?

It’s kind of 9 to 5 for me . . . well more like 11 to 8. I head to my studio in the morning and either write a song (usually with an artist or another writer), or finish production on a song I’ve written on previously. I’ll usually play an instrument and sing (poorly I might add) sometime during the day, and I’ll almost always laugh too loud at something someone has said. I struggle with the volume of my laugh.

When and where did you and Greg Holden write “Home?”

We wrote it at my studio in Burbank, California last November.

How much or how little did you edit it, during or afterward? Were there any phrases or words you can remember that were especially tough to make a final decision on?

I edit quite a bit in sessions. Sometimes even changing a conjunction can make a huge difference. Even while the singer is on the mic I’ll be asking them to try different words or melodies, because you never really know how well something is going to sound until you hear it through the mic and out of the speakers. On “Home,” we did make an arrangement change about a month after it was written. Originally the song was just two verses at the top, then the “oooh” tag and then it ended. We thought maybe it should come back to one more verse, but we couldn’t find anything new that we wanted to say without taking the song in a different direction. A month went by of listening to the song off and on and there was just something missing. My girlfriend, who’s a songwriter in her own right, suggested just repeating the second verse after the tag. We tried it and it worked. The song just flowed really well after that.

Did you demo it or worktape it? How did it end up getting to Phillip Phillips and selected for his finale performance on American Idol?

We demo-ed the song in my studio. I always try to get my demos sounding as close to a finished production as possible without going too crazy. About five months later my publisher pitched the song to Interscope. Jimmy Iovine heard it, liked it, and selected the song for the finale. It was crazy.

What do you enjoy most about writing songs?

That’s a hard one, because I love the whole process. For me lyrics, melody, and production are all part of the process of writing, and I love them all. This is going to sound so narcissistic, but I also love listening to the songs I’ve written. Thats part of it for me. Why make something you can’t enjoy yourself? I just try to write songs that I’ll want to listen to and hope that other people will want to listen too.

What was it like collaborating with Greg?

Greg is a great talent, and on top of that, he’s one of the nicest people I’ve worked with. He’s down to earth and super good at what he does. I’m lucky have gotten to work with him.

Do you have any words of wisdom or advice for aspiring or newly professional songwriters?

I would just say don’t give up. Seems like a no-brainer, but I’ve seen some very talented people throw in the towel. You can’t write a great song if you’re not writing, so keep writing, keep trying and sooner or later you will catch a break.

Next: How Did They Write That? Lee Brice, “A Woman Like You”


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