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Story Behind the Song: Zac Brown Band, ‘Whatever It Is’

Wyatt Durrette and Zac Brown co-wrote the Zac Brown Band‘s “Whatever It Is” together back in the early 2000s. In January of 2009, the song became the second single from the ZBB’s major-label debut album, The Foundation, which had been released in 2008. Following the smash hit that was “Chicken Fried,” the song had a lot to live up to — and while “Whatever It Is” didn’t make it to the No. 1 spot, it got darn close, peaking at No. 2 on the country charts and earning a Top 30 spot on the all-genre Billboard Hot 100 (No. 26). Below, Durrette tells The Boot about the inspiration for the hit song.

Zac was playing at a little bar called Thunderbirds [in Atlanta, Ga.]; we’d known each other for a while. We were sitting around talking, and I said something that was a compliment to him: I told him that he had whatever “it” is on stage, that people love to listen to and watch him play. I told him they were drawn to him.

Zac said, “That’s a great title for a song, but we should write it about a woman.”

At the time, I was head-over-heals in love with a girl. Those kind of songs are easy to write when you’re in that place in your life. I wrote the first verse real quick by myself, and finished it with Zac. It was our first song we constructed together, melody-wise and lyric-wise.

It was easy to write. Some songs take a while to write, but this song came right out. This was just about when you’re in love, and the woman has all those things that draw you into them.

This story was originally written by Alanna Conaway, and revised by Angela Stefano.

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