Mama's Song

Album: Play On (2009)
Charted: 56

Songfacts®:

  • This loving tribute to Carrie Underwood's mother was written by the American Idol star along with Nashville-based songwriter Luke Laird, rock/pop writer/producer Marty Frederiksen and pop hitmaker Kara DioGuardi. Laird collaborated with Underwood on three other songs from Play On, the title track, "Undo It" and "Temporary Home." He also co-wrote her hit singles, "So Small" and "Last Name."
  • In this song, Underwood thanks her mom for teaching her some important life lessons. She told Billboard magazine: "I really am in a good place in my life and I think that does show."
  • This song talks about finding the right guy for mama's little girl. It is the most personal of the seven tracks Underwood co-wrote for the album and the presence of her boyfriend, Ottawa Senators center Mike Fisher, can be felt on the song. Laird commented to The Associated Press: "I think a lot of girls around her age are thinking about getting married. I think that was probably easier for her to write - not that she's thinking about getting married. I wouldn't know." It should be noted that this song was written at a time when Kari DioGuardi was planning her wedding, without her mother, who passed away in 1997.
  • This is one of two songs on Play On on which Kara DioGuardi has a songwriting credit, (the other one being "Undo It"). CMT News asked Underwood if there was there a time where DioGuardi came out with a lyric and you thought, "How'd you come up with that?" She replied: "Well, she's a little bluesy. She's got this different thing about her voice. Her phrasing and my phrasing are completely different, which was really good because my motto is that I can make anything fit. I can make as many words as you need fit. I can find a way to get them in that line. And she'd lay back a little more and could figure out other ways how to say things instead of doing it like I do and cram in stuff all weird. But it really worked between the two of us. I think we have a lot of the same vocal range, too. And that helps, too, because sometimes when you write with just men, they don't understand. Like, 'I can't sing that an octave higher, and I can't sing it where you're singing it, so we're going to have to work something out.'"
  • Laird told The Boot the story of the song: "We wrote this song on the same day as 'Undo It.' We were in Los Angeles at Sunset Marquis Hotel ... about two years ago. I got this call from Carrie's management, and they were like, 'Hey, do you want to go out L.A. and write with Carrie?' I was like, 'Well, yeah. I'd write with Carrie in Dothan, Alabama. if I have to!' [laughs] She was already booked to write with Kara and Marty; I don't know why I got invited, maybe just because Carrie and I had written together before and she felt comfortable with it or something.
    We got out there, and Kara came in the first day with the idea of 'Undo It.' We wrote it, and everybody was like we've got time, let's do another one. We figured that we wrote this cool, rockin', uptempo thing, let's shift gears. So Marty and I started playing that slow musical thing. Kara and Carrie seemed to be into it. Carrie just came out with that first line, 'Mama, you taught me to do the right things.' And this was before she was engaged, obviously, but she was in a relationship. We knew where this was coming from. Nobody was like, 'Oh, are you and Mike [Fisher] going to get married?' We just went with it, and thought it was something cool to write.
    It was real special for Kara, too, because she had lost her mom; you could tell they were really close. You could see Kara and Carrie bonding, talking about their moms. For me, I was coming from the place where I wasn't engaged to [my wife] Beth yet, but I was thinking, 'I hope she feels this way about me!' [laughs]
    It was just a really good co-write. It didn't feel forced or anything. I love that we wrote a song like 'Undo It,' and then went right into something like 'Mama's Song.' That's the thing about writing songs; you just do whatever you want to do and whatever you feel.
    Beth's mom thinks that's the best song I've ever written because she's a mom and her daughter married me. I played it for Beth's mom in the car, and she was all teary-eyed. It was cool."

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