Carrie Underwood’s ‘Something in the Water’: Story Behind the Hit Song

by Matthew Wilson
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Carrie Underwood embodies bible hymns in her song “Something in the Water,” which topped the charts back in 2014.

Underwood sings of how her life changes after being baptized during a church sermon. The tune speaks of redemption and becoming a better person through faith and religion. Like many of Underwood’s songs (think “Jesus, Take the Wheel“), she borrows from the gospel.

Underwood co-wrote the tune with songwriters Chris DeStefano and Brett James. DeStefano discussed the process of developing the song and it involved an early morning cabin trip.

“I was up probably around 5 or 5:30 in the morning and got to my studio around 6,” DeStefano told The Tennessean. “I started working on ideas and prep … a lot of what they call ‘tracks,’ the music bed without the song. I drove out to Carrie’s cabin. And I pulled up in my dad’s 2010 Ford Taurus that I bought from him.”

The Songwriter Apologized For The Song

The genesis of the song started with an apology. DeStefano didn’t know if his idea for the song was any good. So he wanted to give his fellow songwriters, Underwood included a fair warning.

“I remember apologizing,” DeStefano said. “You know, it’s good to always apologize for ideas before you put them out there. So if your co-writers don’t like it, you’re kind of immediately forgiven. I played this piece of music for them. I had a few things prepared, but I was really hoping that they were going to like this one in particular.”

But fortunately, Underwood and James loved the idea.

“They both immediately reacted to this,” DeStefano said. “And Carrie, through the first listen even, she started singing some of those melodies that are the final (song). She was just immediately in it.”

Carrie Underwood Made Them Cry

But once the trio got going, Carrie Underwood made them cry. At the end of the song, the singer went into a rendition of “Amazing Grace,” which brought tears.

“It was right at the end and we were listening back (to the recording),” DeStefano said. “And all of a sudden, I just hear Carrie singing that in the background. It was a special moment. I think we all cried that day.”

DeStefano said it took months for them to be able to go through the song without breaking down in tears.

“Yeah, it just was so much bigger than us,” he said. “I think Carrie and Brett would agree that that was just, there were absolute forces at work that day that just, you know, I felt very, very blessed to be in the room that day.”

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