Story Behind the Song: Tenille Arts, ‘Call You Names’
Tenille Arts’ “Call You Names” tells the story of a sometimes rocky, but ultimately powerful, bond between a mother and daughter. Read on as the singer shares the story behind one of the most poignant tracks on her Love, Heartbreak and Everything in Between album.
That one I [wrote with] James T. Slater, and I had never written with him before. I was sitting in my room the night before the writing session, and, honestly, I had no ideas. I was kind of stressed out, and I didn't know what to do [at the writing session the next day]. I kind of just sat down on my bed like I'd done years prior and just tried to think about what I really wanted to write about.
I've always wanted to write a song for my mom, so I just started the guitar-picking part, thinking about the journey of my relationship with my mom. A lot of the things that came out of my mouth that night, ended up in the song the next day with James. And it was an eight-hour writing session. And then we came back and worked on it the next weekend, for another four hours! So it was a long one. But I think we just knew that we had something really special, so we wanted to work on it and really perfect it to be something great.
I usually send all of my songs to my mom, but I decided to keep this one and perform it for her in person. Last year, I was opening for Reba [McEntire], and my mom and grandma drove down for the show. As I was getting ready for the show, I said, "I have a new song that I wanna share with you." So I sat down and started playing it in our hotel room.
My mom was crying. My grandma was crying. It was just a special moment that I got to share with them. It talks about being a teenager and being a little angsty, stuff like that, so I thought hopefully it's a good enough apology to my mom for all those teenage years.
Who is Tenille Arts? 5 Things You Need to Know