Story Behind the Song: Hailey Whitters, ‘Janice at the Hotel Bar’
Hailey Whitters released her debut full-length album, The Dream, on Feb. 28, but before she ever broke into country music as an artist, she was a songwriter. During her days penning hits for other artists, Whitters co-wrote with some of the best in the business, including Brandy Clark and Lori McKenna.
Whitters made her mark as a songwriter, and when you listen to songs such as "Janice at the Hotel Bar," it's easy to see why. Whitters has an uncanny knack for sharp lyricism and storytelling, and in the case of "Janice," she applied those skills to a real-life story of a sage older woman she got to know via a friend.
Read on to learn the story behind "Janice at the Hotel Bar," told in Whitters' own words.
It's just a song about an 80-something-year-old woman named Janice who just dished all this life wisdom one time.
There's a real Janice. It's kind of a long story, but a friend knew her and had this encounter with her in a hotel bar. And she just dumped all this incredible advice.
I wrote it with Lori McKenna, and we just twisted it up into, I guess, this little four-minute [manual] on what to do and what not to do.
The hook is one of my favorite lines on the record, and it's something that I've just been trying to live life by lately: It's, "Go on and make a good living, but don't forget to make a good life."
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