Miranda Lambert Reflects on the Song She Wishes She’d Written (and Her Riskiest Release)
Miranda Lambert has had plenty of hits throughout her more than 20-year career. Some of these were written by the singer herself, and others weren't, but there's one particular song that she wishes she had written.
"A hundred percent 'House That Built Me,'" she tells Vulture in a new interview. "That song hit me like a brick — like, a train ran over me when I heard that song for the first time."
Lambert further explains how the song, written by Tom Douglas and Allen Shamblin, tells her exact story about moving away from home. She also reveals that the tune took the songwriters seven years to write.
"It was a piano demo with Tom Douglas singing it, just piano and a male voice," she says. "I was like, 'How do they know? That’s my story.' They knew because it’s everybody’s story, and that’s why that song is what it is," she adds. "I think Allen Shamblin and Tom Douglas both told me that they had revisited it for seven years to get to where it landed. I’m so glad they did, because it’s actually perfect."
Lambert notes that "any songwriter" would most likely have the Grammy-winning tune on their "top-ten list" of songs they wish they'd written. The singer also says when she performs the tune, there are still plenty of tears coming from those in the audience, and sometimes, tears are coming from her, too.
"I’m so thankful for that song," she says. "I sing it every night and I watch people cry. I cry once a tour, at least — especially if I’m playing in Dallas, because my family’s there."
Lambert is also aware that the tune may mean something else to people who had a different upbringing than the one described. For example, late guitarist Scotty Wray had a different reaction to hearing the song for the first time.
"The first time he heard it, I was saying, 'Isn’t this just everyone’s story?'" Lambert says. "He goes, 'No. I wish I had that house. I wish that was my story.' I’d never thought about it like that. There’s a whole different meaning when you listen to it from someone that didn’t have that. It made me cry when he said that. I think that’s the power of 'The House That Built Me.' It brings out so much emotion."
While "The House That Built Me" showcases Lambert's emotional side, she built her early career on fiery songs such as "Kerosene" and "Gunpowder & Lead," which deal with subjects like infidelity, domestic violence and revenge, and Lambert says the latter tune came with a bit of a risk.
"Maybe 'Gunpowder & Lead,'" she tells the publication when asked about her riskiest releases. "That’s what came to mind first, because abuse is not something everyone talks about. I think I learned that from Loretta. I mean, she wrote 'The Pill' when you weren’t supposed to be talking about that stuff."
Lambert adds that her 2021 album The Marfa Tapes, which was recorded outdoors in Texas, was also somehow risky due to its "raw and real" nature.
"I guess it didn’t feel as much of a risk at this point in my career, but I wouldn’t have ever thought I would’ve put out a record like that before," she says.
Lambert is busy this month kicking off her Las Vegas residency, Velvet Rodeo, at Zappos Theater at Planet Hollywood. She played her first show on Friday (Sept. 23) — read our recap.