Carrie Underwood’s Songwriting Is “Just Effortless”

Songwriter Chris DeStefano Sings Her Praises

Just when you think you know a guy. From listening to four minutes of Carrie Underwood’s new “Something in the Water,” then talking with Chris DeStefano for about a half-hour, I thought I knew this songwriter pretty well.

But he’s not all songwriting cabins and Christian country.

If you look back at DeStefano’s writing credits, it kind of reads like one of the most diverse playlists you’ve ever seen. He can be the songwriter who the traditionalists love to hate, for helping pen lighthearted party tunes like Jason Aldean’s new one “Just Gettin’ Started,” Chase Rice’s “Ready Set Roll,” Chris Young’s “Aw Naw” and Luke Bryan’s “That’s My Kind of Night.”

Then he can do the girl-you’re-awesome songs, like Brett Eldredge’s “Don’t Ya,” Rascal Flatts“Rewind” and Billy Currington’s “Hey Girl.”

But put DeStefano in a room with Underwood, and something really special happens.

“Ever since 2011, when we first wrote together, she’s always been a great songwriter,” he told me about how her talent has always been there. “It’s just effortless with Carrie. We’re always on the same page musically and energetically. We love the same things, so we gravitate toward the same things. I’ve had nothing but great experiences with her.”

When DeStefano wrote with Underwood that year (a session that ultimately produced “Good Girl” in 2012), it was also the year he had his first country cut, with the Eli Young Band’s “Every Other Memory.”

“That song was my first country cut, but more than that, it was a turning point for me,” DeStefano said. “Now I’m living here, I found a wife here and Nashville has become such an incredible home for me. I feel like the luckiest man on the planet.”

As for his continued diversity within the country genre, DeStefano is all about that life.

“I love it all. I love being able to be energetically and emotionally diverse like that,” he said. “Sometimes people want to go out and have a good time, and sometimes it’s about digging a little deeper and finding something really meaningful that everyone can relate to, hopefully.”

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