Singer-songwriter and actress Lauren Pritchard was born and raised in Jackson, Tennessee, hence the title of her debut album. Pritchard moved to Los Angeles at 16, where she lodged with Lisa-Marie Presley and attempted to make it as a singer in a reggae band, before spending two years playing the 15-year-old runaway "Ilse" on the off-Broadway show Spring Awakening. An attempt to break through into the big time as one half of a pop duo failed due to differences over style and image. Pritchard later settled in Britain, and signed with Universal/Island. This is her debut single with the label.
Pritchard explained the song's meaning in an interview with Artist Direct: "The meaning of the song is the running theme that you're always going to have to fight to get through. 'Not the Drinking' has gone over really well here and in London because it was meant for both types of audiences and all kinds of people—from young to old. People seem to be getting it. At the moment when the song was written, I realized that my relationship was coming to a close, and it was because I wanted it to come to a close. I wanted to find the best way to tell that story honestly without hurting him. Everybody finds themselves in a similar moment, whether they're in love with someone, it's a job, it's a day that's horrible or they simply realize they can't do it anymore and they have to give it up. That's what 'Not the Drinking' is about. I think that's why it can work in any country. That's the sentiment a lot of people share. They can say, 'Yes, I had that moment where I just couldn't do it anymore and I had to be honest!' There's that moment in the middle eight of the song where I'm basically shouting [Laughs]. In the video, I wanted to communicate exactly what this is about."