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This flirty and carefree tune is the first single from Currington's fifth studio album. The song was written by Rhett Akins, Ashley Gorley and Chris DeStefano and produced by Dann Huff. "When I first heard 'Hey Girl' it took me back to chasing young love and the sweet summertime," said Currington.
Akins, DeStefano and Gorley penned the tune in December 2011. Akins told Roughstock
it was the first time he'd written with either of the other songsmiths. "I knew Ashley. I had been friends with him, and we had always wanted to write together," he said. "I just met Chris the week before. He lives in L.A. and was flying back and forth to Nashville. He had written a bunch of songs for Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood, and he had a lot of pop success. When I met him the week before, I said, 'Are we going to write a pop song? Something for Kelly Clarkson?' He goes, 'No, I want to write a country song.' I didn't really know how it was going to go.
"I got there and Ashley had this title called 'Hey Girl,' and Chris sort of had a little melody mapped out," Akins continued. "We just sat there and wrote it. It's really melodic. Ashley is one of the most melodic songwriters I've ever written with. He has unbelievably great melodies. It's just a song about meeting a girl in a bar somewhere and throwing out your best pick-up line. He didn't really have any because he's so tongue-tied about how pretty this girl is, so he says, 'The only thing I can think to say is 'hey girl' [laughs]."
Chris DeStefano has also penned tunes for the likes of Carrie Underwood and Kelly Clarkson. He likes to record his own demos in his office rather than going into a studio and using a band. "Chris plays everything. I've never written with anybody who can do that in one day," Akins told Roughstock. "When I sang the song that afternoon, I thought it would be a couple of weeks before I got the track back, but I literally got it back by midnight that night. I didn't know that's how they do it in L.A. and New York and Miami and other places. I figured it would at least be a month before I heard the song.
"Immediately, Brian Wright from Universal fell in love with the song," Akins continued, "and he said, 'Man, this is a smash ... I think Billy Currington could kill this song.' It wasn't my first thought, because it didn't sound like the songs that Billy had been doing. Billy's pretty country, and this song has a little more pop flavor to it because of Chris, obviously. But Brian Wright fought and fought and fought for this song. He said, 'I'm going to do everything I can to get Billy Currington to cut this song.' And he did! Here we are, it's his first single."
Currington told Country Weekly that upon hearing the song's demo for the first time he was flooded with memories of high school. "My friends and I would walk down the beach," he recalled with a laugh, "and, as goofy as it sounds, the perfect way to start a conversation is just to say, 'Hey, girl!'"
The music video was directed by Kristin Barlowe and filmed in downtown Nashville. It finds Currington and his girl weaving their way through a Chinese street festival portraying the flirty and carefree feel of the song. Billy's band portray the waiters, who at the beginning of the clip heckle the object of the singer's affection.
Currington discussed the evolution of playing this song live. "When we first started playing 'Hey Girl' live was about the same time that the record label put it out on the radio, and at first, everybody was like, you could see their heads bobbing and grooving like, 'Yeah, it's pretty cool,'" he said. "But it didn't get a big reaction cause people didn't really know it. I mean, they were responding that they love it."
"But now, a couple months later," Currington continued, "that it's been out there for a while and people's had enough time to hear it, it's total opposite. It's like once you kick out that intro, that guitar, that (guitar sound), that thing that Dan (Huff) played so well on the project, once they hear that, they immediately know what song it is, and they let you know how much they love it in the first two seconds of that song. And it just gets crazy from there, all three minutes of that song."
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