This slice of Blues-Rock was written by Little Big Town's Karen Fairchild and Jimi Westbrook with Nashville songwriter Natalie Hemby and Australian Country musician Jedd Hughes. Fairchild told The Boot
: "We like music that feels a little bit raw. We've been singing together so long that we like to match the vocals with some roughness in the tracking, and also in melody choices. Natalie is great at that and so is Jedd. They're so much fun to write with. 'Self Made' was his title."
LBT's Kimberly Schlapman said regarding the song's lyrical content to The Boot: "Everybody can identify with working hard for something. Unless you've been handed everything on a silver platter. Most of us have had to work really, really hard to get where we are."
The song was the last one laid down for Tornado. "I'll never forget recording 'Self Made,' Jimi Westbrook recalled to The Boot. "It will forever be a marked moment because you could've cut the energy with a knife. It was such excitement. Down to Jay (Joyce, producer) standing on top of the B-3, screaming at the top of his lungs, counting everybody in! It was just one of those musical moments that I'll always remember."
Phillip Sweet recalled: "When Karen and Jimi first played us that song, I instantly gravitated towards it because I love what it said: 'Born a survivor, like father, like gun.' It was just cool."
There was a special sense of urgency when recording the track that was felt by everyone involved. "During the session our guitarist Johnny (Duke) asked Jay what advice he had for him, because there's some amazing guitar work on that song," recalled Fairchild. "And Jay's, like, 'Release your inner monkey, man!' He was standing on top of the speakers wearing big Chanel sunglasses - I don't know where he got them – holding a bullhorn. On the track that made the album, you can hear him counting off: 'One, two, three - get it, Johnny!' Jay said his heart was racing when we finished."