Matthew Ramsey Of Old Dominion On Why Men Should Write About "Girl Power"

Photo: Jim Spellman/WireImage.
Girl power: It’s not something you would expect a band of five dudes to write a song or make a video about — especially a band like mine, whose first hit single opened up with the line “Hey girl. Wassup?” To be quite honest, it wasn’t something we expected either. And, it almost didn’t get written in the first place.
It was a rare day when our band, Old Dominion, was actually at home in Nashville and not on the road. Our lead guitarist Brad Tursi and I were scheduled to write with our friend and hit songwriter/producer Ross Copperman. We showed up around 11 a.m. and managed to finish a song by 2ish. With about an hour and a half left before I needed to pick up my daughters from school, we had to decide whether to try and write another song or go get some lunch. The three of us sat in Ross’s studio for about 15 minutes taking turns saying things like:
“What do you want to do? Are you hungry?”
“I mean. I can always eat. But I could work too.”
“I’m not starving or anything, but we did just write a pretty good song. Let's go eat.”
“Or we could just snack and write.”
"Whatever you guys wanna do.”
“Whatever YOU guys wanna do”
Stare at phone.
“I have an idea called ‘BE WITH ME.'"
“I have this groove I was working on.”
"Hmmm. Be with me. *singing now* ‘like your daddy told you when you were a little girl, you could be anything. Why don't you be with me?”
Decision made.
The next hour flew by, with the three of us shouting clever lines at each other like “a tiger vs. you ain’t even a fight” and “your mama brought you up in a woman's world.” We finished up in time for me to run out the door and frantically pick up my girls without a minute to spare. (I was also starving at this point.)
To me, from a writing standpoint, the best songs are always the ones that you don’t remember writing. Your subconscious kicks in and you're flowing with your friends and the song sort of writes itself. Then you listen back a few days later and realize you might have something special on your hands. Here we thought we had hastily spit out a song that sounded like a fun “hit” song that girls would want to hear and went about our day. A few days later when I listened back I heard something different. When I called Ross and Brad, I was happy to find they had the same experience. Underneath the candy-coated melody and popping production of the demo was a surprising message of female empowerment.
Fast-forward to months later. We recorded the song to be included on our second album, Happy Endings. It was time to make a video. We were back out on the road playing shows and doing promo for the upcoming album when our go-to video director, Steve Condon sent me an message. He wanted to make a video that showcased all types of strong women. We hadn’t discussed the meaning of this song at all with him, he just gets us. He is also a father of daughters. The fact that, without any previous discussion, Steve heard the message clear enough to spark an idea like this cemented my confidence in this song. If the three “dudes” that wrote it, the five “dudes” that recorded, and the one “dude” whose job it was to create a visual for it could hear that message — maybe everyone else out there would actually hear it, too.
I’m surrounded by wonderful women of all ages at home and at work. Still, I can’t imagine what it is like to be a woman. When Steve sent us the final cut of the video for "Be With Me," we all huddled around my phone to watch it on the bus. When it was over, we all cheered out loud. We watched as women from all over the county told their stories, let go of their inhibitions, laughed, cried, sang, and danced to our music. Our moms even made surprise appearances at the end — a fact that made us cheer all the louder.
Between the seven dudes who created this song and video, there are 11 daughters. Hopefully one day they watch this video and see how inspiring they can be, just by being themselves. The women in my life show me that every day. These are women I want to “be with me.” (The title should actually be "Can I be with you?" — but it doesn't quite sound the same.) They work, they play, they sacrifice, they create, they protect, and they love hard. I hope my little girls watch it one day and can see that their daddy wasn’t just the dude who sang “Hey girl. Wassup?”
He was the father that said “Hey girl, it's your world.”
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