One of the song’s writers, Jimmy Robbins, talked with Radio.com , and he admitted the two singers almost weren’t used.
“(Miranda)’s on a different record label, so there’s a whole other world of red tape,” Robbins said, “so many people that have to approve of it for him to be able to use it.”
Then there’s the added issue of whether the cut will even make the cut.
“Songs get cut, and don’t make records, and get cut again. But once we heard Keith and Miranda sing [‘We Were Us’], it would have been hard to hear anybody else sing it because it sounds like it was made for them,” he said.
Robbins also talked about how the song wasn’t necessarily going to be a duet until he and his co-writers Jon Nite and Nicolle Galyon started writing the second verse.
“That didn’t happen until we got to the second verse, and thought, ‘maybe a guy could say this, too.’ That’s when we all got pretty excited about it,” he said.
Urban, too, heard the song as a duet and set his sights on Lambert to sing with him. “I think that Keith had been toying with the idea of a duet, and my publisher knew that. He toyed with the idea of a few different people, but (Lambert) was always his first choice,” Robbins explained.
“It’s easy to listen to and kinda hard to write, to tell a story without really telling a story. It leaves it up to the individual to piece (the story) together and make it their own,” Robbins said of the nostalgic song about an old love. One that turned out to be an up-tempo duet, as opposed to the super-ballad kind of duets that are the norm. And one that is now nominated for an ACM Award for vocal event of the year.