Ohio-born and raised singer-songwriter Joshua Radin turned to music when he moved to New York City and bought a guitar. This was the first song he wrote. He recalled to American Songwriter magazine: "I was walking through the East Village where I was living and I kept thinking 'I should know who I am by now.' And that became the first line of my first song. It came out of frustration."
In 2004, the American actor Zach Braff introduced this song to Scrubs' creator, Bill Lawrence, who included it in the "My Screw Up" episode. He ultimately used several of Radin's songs in various scenes of the hit television series.
The song has gone on to touch many people. Radin told American Songwriter magazine: "'Winter' is a song that I hear people really have been moved by. A lot of people play that song at funerals, so I know it's an emotional response people are having."