Story Behind the Song: Jake Owen, ‘Damn’
Jake Owen came back into his signature sound with 2019's Greetings From ... Jake. The final track on the album, "Damn," was actually written 10 years before it made its debut. It's a song featuring a little wordplay, about a woman whose momma should've named her Damn because ... well, listen and you'll get it.
Perhaps surprisingly, "Damn" was inspired by none other than fellow country artist Kellie Pickler, and a comment from Owen's personal stylist. Read on to learn why Owen chose to put the song on Greetings From ... Jake, the story that inspired it and the co-writing session that made it come to life.
It goes to show you the way that the circle comes back around. I think there’s few and far between artists that can just do that one thing from day one until now. But, it’s also about riding the wave of understanding what people are enjoying.
It’s just like fashion. Ten years ago, fashion wasn’t what it is today, but it doesn’t mean you’re the same guy. I think when I wrote that song 10 years ago … I wrote that song then, but it was changing into this new wave of music, and that’s almost when my Barefoot Blue Jean Night stuff came out, shortly after. That sound was getting bigger, but I’m seeing now that music is turning back around to the classic sounds of ‘90s country and stuff like that. I can just see it. I hear it when people are writing songs.
That’s my wheelhouse. My first tour I was ever out on was with Brooks & Dunn and Alan Jackson. A lot of respect, not a lot of people right now in the format can say they were out with Alan Jackson and Brooks & Dunn. I had these veterans showing me the ropes. I wrote ["Damn"] then. Now, to be able to put that song out and people, when they hear it, are like, "That song sounds amazing." It’s not so much validation that I wrote it, it’s more or less validation to the fact that, heck yeah, music is back to a point that I was loving it 10 years ago and just riding the wave of how much it’s changed.
It’s always been on my radar. It’s the last song on the record; I put it as the last one. That song’s waited a long time.
I remember playing that song 10 years ago, the day after I wrote it. I wrote it the morning after the CMA Awards here in Nashville. I wrote it with Brett James and David Lee Murphy 10 years ago because Kellie Pickler was on the CMA Awards, and she was in this black leather Catwoman outfit, and when she came out, I was like, "Damn." It occurred to me that my stylist, Jennifer Kemp -- every time I used to put on clothes to try something on -- she’d say, "Your mama should’ve named you Damn." That next morning, I told that story to David Lee Murphy and Brett James [and they said], "We gotta write this song about a girl that her mama should’ve named Damn."
Here we are all these years later. Ten years ago, I don’t know if I was ready to do the stuff I'm doing now. Neither was that song. It just takes time to get to a place in life where you feel comfortable about [who you are] now.
You Think You Know Jake Owen?
All of Jake Owen's Singles, Ranked