Story Behind the Song: Chris Janson, ‘Buy Me a Boat’
Chris Janson had been in country music for more than five years before releasing his single “Buy Me a Boat” in March of 2015 — but the song changed everything. Written by Janson and his good friend and publisher Chris DuBois, “Buy Me a Boat” earned the singer-songwriter plenty of new fans … and a record deal with Warner Bros. Below, Janson and DuBois recall to The Boot the day that the song was written.
Chris Janson: The process was actually pretty easy. I like writing with Chris, and we hadn’t written that many songs together. “Buy Me a Boat” just came out of really nowhere: He had the hook line, and I had my little gut-string guitar that I always write on. Literally, the song, he would probably attest to this, too, sort of just fell out.
Chris DuBois: It was one of those things, like Chris said: a title that I had written down, and when I threw it out, it really kind of wrote itself. It was obvious the angles that we needed to take, and it didn’t take long to write. But one thing was for sure: When we got done writing it, it was a Chris Janson song. It was not going to be a song we were going to pitch around.
Janson: A lot of times, we sit down and try to write a song for someone else, or even me, or whoever it might be … But this time, we just sat down to write something that was fun, that we both felt was cool, and we both had Yeti coolers outside in our trucks. I’m sort of an outdoorsy, hunter-fisher guy, and he is, too. Everything just sort of naturally fit: The Powerball lotto, everybody’s doing that. We just picked little things from life and put it in a song. The “redneck, white trash, blue collar” stuff, that’s really true to life for me. That’s exactly how I grew up, so it’s a real biopic song for me.
DuBois: It was never in doubt to me whether that was going to be a Chris Janson song or a song we pitched. It was always meant to be sung by Chris. So however it needed to get released, I was comfortable with. It’s the kind of thing, when you write a song with an artist, even if they don’t have a record deal, to me, you respect the fact that they have first dibs to cut it, and in this case release it, even though there wasn’t a record label attached. I believe that, if you do things the right way, things will have a way of winding up the way they’re supposed to be, and in this case, it worked out great.
Janson: … I’m just glad it was on the radio, period, because I love it.
DuBois: … This song, when it was released, was released independently by Chris on iTunes, and he released the demo that we cut, which was on my demo session, and that just never happens … It never got remixed. The mix that my engineer sent me, along with two other mixes that day, was the mix you hear on the radio, and that’s amazing. It’s the kind of experience, to me, that renews my faith in this business, that great songs can still just get through and cut through, even if it’s not a trend that radio’s going in. It really has been a special, special song to me.
Chris Janson Discusses Surprising Success