Inside Carrie Underwood’s “Something in the Water”

Co-Writer Chris DeStefano Says She Gave Him Chill Bumps

It happened May 2 in Carrie Underwood‘s songwriting cabin in Tennessee.

That’s when Chris DeStefano came in with a musical idea, and Underwood came in with a big idea. It was, as DeStefano describes it, “the perfect write.”

“I played Carrie and Brett (James) this music, and Carrie was immediately like, ‘I’ve got this title and concept I’ve been wanting to write,” DeStefano told me of the day the three wrote Underwood’s latest hit, “Something in the Water.”

“I remember it like it was yesterday, getting chill bumps when she said that title,” he said. “It felt so right with the music.”

He said anytime he’s writing with Underwood, he likes to go in with ideas, but she’s usually the one who brings her best. And DeStefano loves to build on those.

“Going into a session, you never know what you’ll write,” he said. “That’s what’s so exciting. It’s like riding a wave. You all kind of get on this wave together and just roll with it. It’s almost like you can’t think about it too much.”

And that day, the wave took them on a ride the songwriters knew was special.

“By end of that day, we were cranking it up on the speakers and had our hands in the air. We definitely went to church that day. I can’t tell you how many times it brought me to tears,” he admitted. “Countless times. Just constantly. It’s such a powerful thing.”

We compared our favorite lyrics. Mine are, “Got joy in my heart, angels on my side,” and his are, “Got washed in the water, washed in the blood.”

“I’m getting chill bumps just talking about it,” DeStefano. “Each line lifts me up higher and higher.”

I remember seeing Underwood’s songwriting haven on TV when she gave Oprah Winfrey a tour of it. It was built in the 1800s and has been lovingly restored. It has plenty of religious touches all around. Like wooden plaques that say things like, “As for me and my ranch, we will serve the Lord” and “Nothing but the blood of Jesus (Romans 3:25).”

DeStefano probably felt that.

“With a song like that, there was so much at work in the room — beyond the three of us — that we all kind of knew it,” he said.

It sounds like there must have been something in the cabin.

Alison makes her living loving country music. She's based in Chicago, but she's always leaving her heart in Nashville.