Tim McGraw has three kids, all daughters: Gracie, Maggie and Audrey. This Lori McKenna
-penned song finds him giving advice to his children, some of it practical (roll the windows down instead of using the AC) but most of it imparting strong character and moral values (Don't hold a grudge, lie, cheat, or steal). The most important lesson though, is to stay humble and kind.
Recording the track was an emotional experience for McGraw. He recalled to Billboard magazine: "We had just dropped Gracie off at college, and I went into the studio and I kept blubbering. I couldn't get through the song - I'd fall apart. I had to leave to go to a volleyball game, and after about five miles I turned around and cried all the way back to the studio, because I wanted to get it out of my system. It's such a great message."
The song's Wes Edwards
-directed video features scenes from Oprah Winfrey's documentary Belief
, which depicts people from all walks of life searching for connection with the world around them.
McGraw told Entertainment Tonight
how he came up with the concept. "I was running on the treadmill one morning, and I saw the Belief
series of Oprah's that was coming on, and I saw the 30-second trailer of it, and I thought, 'That's it! That's the look that I want this video to have!'"
"I made a few phone calls to a few friends, and she agreed to let us use the footage for the video."
Tim McGraw's wife, Faith Hill, recorded three of Lori McKenna's songs for her 2005 album Fireflies. McGraw revealed during his panel at CRS 2016 that he wasn't sure if he or his wife would ultimately record this song. "I guess I had it for a year and a half or so," he recalled, "and it was just her and an acoustic guitar playing it. The night that she wrote it, she sent it to me, and I listened to it over and over, and I just fell in love with the song and her version of it."
"I knew I wanted to record it, but I just couldn't quite get my head around how I wanted to do it," he continued. "I couldn't get past her demo of her singing it. It was just so beautiful and so touching. If anybody's ever heard Lori just sit and sing with a guitar, she could sing anything to you and sell it to you. It's so beautiful what she does."
The song had its own webpage at stayhumbleandkind.com
. Gathered on the site were various stories about acts of kindness that were shared with the hashtag #stayhumbleandkind.
This reached #1 on the Country chart. It was the first tune written by just one person (Lori McKenna) to reach the summit since Taylor Swift's "Ours
" topped the tally in March 2012.
This was the second Country #1 penned by Lori McKenna. She also co-wrote Little Big Town's " Girl Crush
," which reigned for 13 weeks in 2015. McKenna said: "I can say it's one of my favorite songs, mostly because I had my kids in my head the whole time I was trying to write it. My kids know that it's theirs, and it's nice in that way. It worked out pretty good."
Lori McKenna wrote the song at her home when her kids were at school. She set out to write down what she and her husband would want the children to know, fully aware that kids are bombarded with advice and most of it goes right through them. "Honestly, it's a very simple song," she told The Boot. "It's really just this list of things that I wanted to make sure we told them, in this rhyme form. I was lucky that the chorus made as much sense as it did. I did write it in that one sitting; it took me a few hours, but it was a lucky day."
Tim McGraw interpreted this song differently than Lori KcKenna, who wrote it specifically for her own children. McGraw thought it could apply to just about every parent, and put that take on it. "I should give Tim some publishing on that because of where he brought it," she told Entertainment Weekly. "But then, he doesn't need any money. [Laughs]"
McKenna sang the demo into her phone, and sent it to McGraw, but she didn't hear anything back for a while. After a couple of months he told her he was cutting the song.
Lori McKenna included her version of the song on her 2016 album, The Bird & the Rifle.
Lori McKenna won her second consecutive Song of the Year trophy at the 2016 CMA Awards for this song. The tunesmith won Song of the Year in 2015 with Hillary Lindsey and Liz Rose for "Girl Crush."
This won for Favorite Country Song at the 2016 American Music Awards.
American Songwriter named Lori McKenna's version their Best Song of 2016, writing, "Maybe it was 2016. In a year defined by tragedy and violence, by Orlando and Oakland, by Brexit and Trump, by the continuing fraying of our collective sanity, 'Humble And Kind' comments on a trouble season without being overtly political. It's a challenge to everybody who hears it, no matter which side of which issue they might find them on, to live up to our best selves."
This won the Grammy Award for Best Country Song at the 2017 ceremony.
Tim McGraw released a Spanish-language version titled "Nunca Te Olvides De Amar," which literally translates to "Never Forget to Love."
"I've said repeatedly that 'Humble and Kind' has a universal message, so singing the song in Spanish, for me, is a way to really stand up to that statement," said McGraw. "It's one thing to say 'I'm being universal' and it's another thing for me to try to reach out across a language barrier and put in the effort to deliver that same message. To make someone understand that you're trying to love them through a song and work to make people feel it is a pretty cool thing."
He added: "My Spanish may not be perfect, my accent may not be perfect, but if I can reach out and touch someone in a language that's not my own – that's a good enough reason enough to try."
Hachette Books published a bound edition of "Humble And Kind" featuring the song lyrics plus illustrations, an introduction by McGraw, and an epilogue by McKenna. McGraw donated his book proceeds to the Neighbor's Keeper Fund of the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee.
McGraw released a second video for "Humble And Kind" on May 1, 2020 highlighting the sacrifices Americans made during the coronavirus pandemic.
This song inspired many young songwriters, including Hailey Whitters, who two years later wrote the Little Big Town song "Happy People
" with Lori McKenna. "It was Grammy Award-winning, but it feels so simple," Whitters told Songfacts
. "It's a song that people will remember forever - that level of greatness that she can pull off so effortlessly always has me in awe."