Lori McKenna is a Grammy Award-winning Nashville songwriter, but she has never actually lived in Nashville. Her new album 1988 is packed with songs about family, marriage, and the life she’s lived in Massachusetts. It’s a stirring emotional journey, thick with narrative and resonant with empathy.
Indeed, these are all the elements that have helped her become such a sought-after songwriter for artists as variant as Reba McEntire, Sara Bareilles, and Mandy Moore. She once wrote a song with Taylor Swift, during Swift’s Red era (Swift included it as a “vault” track on her version of that album).
On this episode of the Why We Write podcast, McKenna talks about what she learned from the pop star during that writing session. She also ruminates on her earliest songs, the importance of trusting one’s writing process, and how she feels about her children becoming songwriters.