I Don't Love You

Album: Final Touches (1993)
  • "This song was actually my first cut," recalls songwriter Tommy Lee James. "I wrote that with my friend Liz Hengber. When you get that first cut under your belt, that’s an amazing feeling. So many things fell through before I got that. And then especially to have a cut by somebody like Conway, who’s a total legend and an icon, to have that voice on one of my songs, I mean, I remember how exciting that was." His publisher was the one who broke the news to him, and the excitement that he felt then is the same 20 years later. He can't wait to hear the cuts once his songs have been picked up by an artist. Like a little kid waiting for Santa Claus, he says, "That’s one of the things, I couldn’t wait… I just couldn’t wait. I still can’t. The excitement is still there. I always can’t wait to hear the record or go out and buy it, or whatever. To hear a really good singer like, Reba McEntire’s recorded a few of my songs, and to hear her voice on a song, it’s just an amazing feeling. Especially somebody that can interpret a song like Conway, or Reba. One of those classic, classic Country artists."
  • Not willing to cite any examples of songs he wrote that have been badly interpreted by artists, Tommy chooses to take the high road. "If it gets to the point of recording, I mean, I’m usually pretty thorough. I’ve had a lot of things I wasn’t happy with, but usually those things never see the light of day. Usually if they’re good, they come out. I’ve been, for the most part, really pleased."
    The interpretation of a song by an artist is usually a bit different than the songwriter's version, and there are times when it's rough getting used to it. Tommy says, "You’ll hear your cut for the first time, and sometimes I’ll get attached to a demo, and for the first 25-30 listens I think sometimes the demo might be better, but then after a while I realize… I start liking the record better. Sometimes it takes you a while to get used to something." Repetition helps. "It’s like anything else; you hear a song on the radio you think you hate, and then after they play it for too much, all of a sudden you’re singing along." (Check out our interview with Tommy Lee James.)

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