That was the first time I really understood the depth of which I would go to expose the truth because the song was very polarizing. It was a real turning point for me as a songwriter and as an artist. I was very unwilling to be unwavering in my truth.
To be able to perform that song with Stevie Nicks in the studio was a defining moment. To have her open up to me about what that song meant to her…it felt so good to be validated by another artist. Especially because I had so many women who were like, “How could you write that? This is so hard to listen to.” But to me, it’s like, “How do you think it was to write?”
“What I Cannot Change”
The third single on her 2007 album, Family, “What I Cannot Change” earned Rimes a Grammy nom for Best Female Country Vocal Performance. Rimes loved the sentiment behind the song so much that she also wrote a book and launched a website with the same name. She used both projects to connect with readers about the hardships in their own life.
That song was probably where I started speaking truth through my music as a songwriter. “What I Cannot Change” is about a moment in time with my parents where I was having a challenging time. I was in my early 20s and trying to become an individual and find a new relationship with them. This song was my version of the serenity prayer. Since it came out, I’ve seen these words tattooed on people’s bodies. It’s just one of those songs that so many people relate to because it’s about that deep surrender. For me, it’s the ultimate high to see people use these words for different things.
“Remnants” is the title track to Rimes’s 15th studio album, released in 2017. The song is an anthem for picking up the pieces of your life and showcases the powerhouse vocals that made Rimes famous all those years ago.
I was really focused on uplifting people out of darkness because I know there are a lot of people who have lived in some dark corners. This song has the lyrics “I will build a kingdom from my remnants.” It’s about reclaiming your power, saying no matter how many pieces have been shattered, you will be whole again. I was in the studio recording it and had to hide behind a wall because I was working with Darell and the genius producer Mark Batson and he told me, “I really want you to dig into it.” But I didn’t want him to watch me, so I was singing behind a wall. There was this anger and rage coming from me. Over the last year and a half, I’ve been playing around with this song on the piano a bit and I’ve turned it into this very sad, heartbroken midballad kind of thing. I can’t wait to play it live.
“Throw My Arms Around the World”
Rimes released this track in December 2020, in the middle of the pandemic and on the heels of her massive Masked Singer win. She performed it during Fox’s New Year’s Eve broadcast after releasing a BTS video about making the recording.
It’s a rallying cry for people to wake up to all of the destruction against Mother Earth. The message here is that we’re all connected to her, on physical, emotional, and spiritual levels. I’m at that time in my career where what’s being asked of me is more of service to something than what’s been of past works of mine. On this album specifically, I worked first with the rhythm and the drums, and then built it out from there. I can’t think of that song without crying.
“Innocent” has yet to be released but will appear on Rimes’s next album, God’s Work, due out later this year. It’ll be her 18th studio album and follows 2020’s Chant.