Story Behind the Song: Chris Janson, ‘Check’
Chris Janson's "Check," off his album Real Friends, was almost the project's lead single. That distinction ultimately went to "Good Vibes," but the singer says "Check" still tells a true-to-life story that he's excited to share with fans.
Below, Janson outlines the other reasons why he decided to include "Check" on his 2019 album, and explains how he shifted his songwriting mindset to focus on writing songs for himself as well as for other artists.
When I write, people always ask me, "How do you know if [the song] is for you or if it's for somebody else?" Well, I always sit down to write for somebody else, because that's the songwriter mentality in Nashville, but [Warner Music Executive Vice President of A&R] Cris Lacy talked me out of that real quick, and I'll tell you how.
When [LoCash's] "I Love This Life" and [Tim McGraw]'s "How I'll Always Be" were on the chart racing against each other, and Cris Lacy was like, "Can you please hold some of the songs for you?" -- then it turned into, "Just hold some of the songs for you." And so I started doing that.
But I will tell you, it totally changed my mind in a positive way, because that means that people believe in you enough to say, "Look, man, you should take pride in what you're doing. You should keep this for you." And now I write in a totally reverse way. I write for me first, and whatever I don't think I could do, it's open game for my friends.
So, "Check" -- it was down between "Check" and "Good Vibes" for the first single, actually, and it was a hard choice, and I think we made the right one. But "Check" is giving some songwriters in Nashville who have never had a cut before their first cut.
Actually, there are a lot of firsts on this album: One of my co-producers on this album has never produced an album before. It just works. So that's a very humbling thing, to know that the project that's being put forth in my name and that I'm able to put my stamp on, is giving a lot of people their first shot. A lot of people don't get a first shot in this town. It really is that hard.
So I'm just proud that it's able to open doors. This song is unabashedly honest, and it's called "Check."