If You See Him, If You See Her

Album: If You See Him (1998)
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  • This song had rather auspicious beginnings. Written as a solo, it morphed into a duet only when songwriters Tommy Lee James, Terry McBride, and Jennifer Kimball found out that Reba McEntire was looking to record with Brooks and Dunn. Tommy tells the story of that days' session. "I hate to say it, but it was completely calculated, where I think it was something like Terry said, 'Brooks and Dunn and Reba are looking for a duet.' And Jennifer goes, 'Well, I just have this idea called "If You See Him." I don't think that's a duet.' Or something like that. And then it was like, 'Well, what about "If You See Him/If You See Her"?' And so that's kind of how that came about. And we pretty much completely wrote it for Brooks and Dunn and Reba, and they recorded it. That hardly ever happens where you're just that calculated and it just works. But we just tailor made it. When we were writing it, it was like, 'Well, I don't think Ronnie (Dunn) would say that,' 'I don't think Reba would say that.' We were actually using their names. And we were very pointed and focused, and it just happened to work out, and they both liked it. And it made it through all the channels."
  • Pitch sheets are often passed around to Nashville songwriters clueing them in on when artists want certain types of songs. However, says James, "You don't take a lot of it seriously, because a lot of times that kind of stuff is wrong. For instance, you'll get a, 'So-and-so is looking for a Sheryl Crow-type song.' It might be a real traditional Country artist, but that'll be on the pitch sheets. But then when the record comes out, it doesn't sound like Sheryl Crow, it still sounds like that artist. So you take all that stuff with a grain of salt, too. Unless you have a real in on something, like, 'Here's what they're looking for'… there's a lot of that. Just somebody hears a song and they like it, and they want another one."
  • Due to the ongoing battle songwriters face for rights to royalties through online sales, etc., Tommy says the numbers of writers in Nashville is dwindling. "It's just so much harder to make a living as a songwriter these days with downloading… It's a much tighter market than it used to be in the early '90s. I mean, there were a lot of songwriters here. A lot of signed songwriters. And there's just a lot less. But, no, I couldn't even guess. I'm not gonna try and guess how many songwriters there are. (laughing) There's too many as far as I'm concerned." (Check out our interview with Tommy Lee James.)
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