Tough

Album: 100 Proof (2011)

Songfacts®:

  • The first single from American Country artist Kellie Pickler's third album is a female anthem, which finds the song's narrator declaring that while she is just a regular girl, she has been able to overcome challenges in her life by staying tough. The song was released on June 13, 2011.
  • The song was written by Country and Bluegrass songwriter Leslie Satcher, who also has songwriting credits on tracks by George Strait, Martina McBride, Gretchen Wilson, Patty Loveless, and Vince Gill.
  • Despite being written by an outside writer, the song is autobiographical and sums up Pickler's personality. After her first session of writing with Satcher, Pickler told the songwriter that though she's been given some great songs by songwriters for the album, they just didn't feel right for her as they didn't really reflect her true personality. The American Idol alumna told The Boot that Satcher was determined to find out the real Kellie. She said: "I told her about my life and my story, and I shared some very, very personal things with her that I've never shared with anybody. She went home, locked herself in the room and said, 'I ain't coming out until I write Kellie Pickler's first single.' She tells me that I speak in lyrics, so she could take my story and what I shared with her and sum it up with one word she used to described me, and that was 'tough.'"
  • Pickler told The Boot how she reacted when Satcher told her she'd titled the song "Tough": "I thought, 'That's interesting. I can't wait to hear it.' I did say a prayer before I listened: 'Lord, we have listened to a thousand songs, please let this be the one.' And it was. Leslie really hit the nail on the head with that one. She really captured 'Kellie.' She captured not just my story, but it's a lot of people's story. There a lot of people who life's dealt them a hand of cards that ain't a royal flush, but it's all how you play the game."
  • Kellie Pickler had a difficult upbringing. She was raised by her grandparents, after her mother abandoned her and her alcoholic father spent time in and out of jail. The singer told The Boot this song helped her to become emotionally tough. "Going through my life, and this video, it was very therapeutic and healing," she explained. "Because there's parts of my life, things that have happened with my father and I that I have not addressed and I've not revisited those places. So it's just been subconsciously in the back of my head, but it's still there. I think the first part of healing with that is going back and walking through those places as an adult."
  • Pickler performed this song on the October 18, 2011 episode of the CW drama, 90210 as part of her role of Sally, the cousin of Country singer Austin.

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