The Story Behind the Song: Blake Shelton, “God Gave Me You”

(Songwriter Dave Barnes)

Videos by American Songwriter

“God Gave Me You”

Written by: Dave Barnes

Recorded by: Blake Shelton

Peak Chart Position: No. 1 Billboard Country

When and where did you write the song?

I wrote the song at home in Nashville. I had the lyric idea on a visit to London, but to another melody. I’d had the idea of the music for a while. I actually went over to write with Matt Wertz for his album, and we didn’t have time to mess with the idea, so he asked me to shelve it and if we could come back to it. After playing it for Wertz, I remembered how much I loved the idea, and remembered the lyric idea from London, and the rest is history — i think i wrote it to that idea. I had to, of course, call Wertz and tell him I ended up writing it myself — he still gives me hell about that!

What inspired the song?

i really loved the song title idea – it was a bit different at the beginning – the God Gave Me You idea, but as I kept tweaking it kept getting simpler, so that’s what it ended up as. It really resonated with me. It’s about and for my wife, Annie. It’s really a “Thank you” kind of a song. Because she’s awesome and has been, it wasn’t too hard to think of what to say!

How long did it take to write?

It didn’t take long at all to write. I really do think I wrote it in an afternoon. Those are the nice ones, where a melody and lyric idea match up perfectly. It was quick.

Were there any lines or words you can remember that were especially tough to make a decision on, that you went back and forth on?

It’s funny – there are some weird lines in this song. I mean, I love them. But i struggled through leaving a couple of them – namely “You’ll always be love’s great martyr, and i’ll be the flattered fool.” I mean, who says that? But I knew it was really unique and cool. And I never thought anyone other than me would be singing it, so I wasn’t thinking that way. I knew I would sing that and loved what it meant. and honestly how quirky it was! I love the “divine conspiracy” line too. And the bridge idea – “on my own i’m only, half of what I should be.” that’s a theme i seem to revisit a lot in my lyric writing. Maybe i should work on that. Ha!

How did the song get to Blake Shelton and producer Scott Hendricks? Any kind of story there?

Blake actually heard the song on Christian radio, which is funny due to the fact that I’ve never had a song on that format before. He was driving home from the Dallas airport to his home in Oklahoma, and the song came on, and due to where he was in his relationship with Miranda, it really connected with him. he downloaded the song then and there on the way home, and called Scott and told him he found a song he had to record. it’s such an amazing story because of the way he heard it. On the radio. No one pitching the song, trying to convince him about it. None of that. And also how it connected with him. there’s no greater thing for a songwriter than to know a song really connects with the people hearing it. So cool. Kudos to Blake for believing in it and pushing for it to be recorded!

How would you describe “God Gave Me You?”

I’ve thought about this alot with all that’s happened to the song as of late. I think it’s a sentiment that most of us can relate to, which is funny, because while I was writing that, i never meant for that to happen.I just knew it was how I felt. But I think most of us have people we are thankful for, people we have great appreciation for, and it’s hard to believe that we meet those people randomly, but rather that there was some divine providence in their involvement in our lives.

Any words of wisdom or advice for aspiring songwriters, regarding both the craft and business?

Just do the work. If this story proves anything, we never know what’s gonna happen. Ever. God has some crazy crazy plans, and they are best executed when we don’t mettle… but we do the work we know we are supposed to do. I personally think it’s a lot more fun that way too, to do your work and then watch it unfold… than to wear ourselves out worrying and overworking every angle to make it happen ourselves and on our own timeline. That’s my thought, anyways.

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