She was so eager to move to Nashville and get started on her singer-songwriter career that she finished high school early and moved to Music City at just 17. Now, roughly three years later, Anderson already has a debut single about to go to country radio. It’s half old-school country piano ballad, and half how-to guide for dating. The takeaway of Anderson’s song is less about Mr. Right Now and more about Mr. Right: a boy’s gonna run, but a real man’s gonna stay.
Anderson told CMT.com all about her road to this song, and how it was her parent’s life lessons that inspired the lyrics.
CMT.com: I know you finished high school early, so you could get going on your Nashville career. What was that like for you? Do you feel like you had a normal high school experience, or were you so focused on the future that you feel like you missed out on things?
Anderson: No one has ever asked me this, and I really appreciate this question. I’m not really sure what a “normal high school experience” means to be honest. I know I am glad I homeschooled. And I’m thankful for knowing so surely what I wanted to do with my life from a very young age. I feel like because I homeschooled, I got to experience so many things that most kids my age weren’t able to. I got to travel around Texas playing gigs, doing what I loved every day, practice my craft, and still manage to go to a few proms.
When it came to writing “Make Him Wait,” did you pull from something that happened to you? Or to friends? Is there a guy out there somewhere who is going to think, “Is this about me?”
“Make Him Wait” is my whole life. I’ve had plenty of guys lose interest in me because I like to make them work for it. So I think guys that I have gone out with in the past will hear this song and say, “Yup.” Growing up in a home of six girls, I think it was important to my parents to instill in us what our worth is and more importantly, where it comes from. I have a lot of friends in college who call me in tears after a not-so-great night out with a guy, just beating themselves up for it like it was their fault or something. And every time, I would just want to hug them and shake them a little and say, “Don’t you know how valuable you are?”
What was it like to walk into a songwriting session with Josh Kerr, knowing he is an it songwriter in Nashville right now? Were you nervous? How did you guys arrive at this idea of patience being such a virtue?
Josh Kerr is incredible. The guy exudes talent, and he makes me better. I write with Josh a ton, and I’m a better writer for it. He has a way of making you feel safe and confident in the writer’s room. I look up to the guy so much, and I’m thankful to call him not only a collaborator, but a dear friend. That day we were writing with the great Tom Douglas and started with this really fun, happy-go-lucky song about a crush I had at the time. But then we took a little break, and we were just talking, and I said something like, “Hey man, you get the guys by makin’ ’em wait.” I kept talking, Josh started playing, and in 45 minutes we had the song.
Are there any downsides to making a guy wait? Do young women have a fear that he will walk away if they’re too slow to answer, respond, or jump in bed?
I can’t speak for all women everywhere, because we all live our lives so differently and that’s a really beautiful thing. In my experience, though, I have found that the good guys always stick around. And that just goes for people in general, I think. When you have to work for something, you value it more.
The truth you were raised on — like recognizing someone who appreciates chivalry and patience — is exactly what the world needs right now. Was your timing of this song (while the culture of sexual misconduct has become an epidemic) intentional?
Not at all. In my mind, God just hands you songs when the time is right. And I sure think He had something in mind when He handed me this one.
Have you heard Chris Janson’s “Drunk Girl?” I think the guy in that song would be perfect for the girl in yours.
YES!!! Oh my goodness, yes. We ought to set them up.
There are so many beautiful 20-year-olds with beautiful voices who moved to Nashville with the exact same dream as you. Why do you think you stood out, and why is your dream the one coming true?
You are absolutely right about that. I could throw a lucky penny on any street in Nashville and a girl with a better voice and prettier face would pick it up. In my mind, though, there was never a plan B. There were never ships to sail me away in case this didn’t work out. No, I burned those a long time ago. I knew from the time I started singing that I was going to be a performer, an entertainer and a creator, and that I was going to excel in it. I am the most blessed girl in the world to have the opportunity to do what I love. Most people in town would give an arm and a leg to even put out one single. So that is not something I take lightly.
If you hadn’t taken the risk and moved to Tennessee at 17, what might you be doing now?
If I didn’t move to Nashville when I was 17, I would have moved when I was 18. And if I didn’t move when I was 18, I would have moved when I was 19. Never did another thought cross my mind of doing anything else.