Songwriter/Producer Chris DeStefano Knighted In Honor of Chart-Topping Hits

Pictured (L-R): MusicRow Chart Director Troy Stephenson, Chris DeStefano, Josh Van Valkenburg, and MusicRow Owner/Publisher Sherod Robertson

Pictured (L-R): MusicRow Chart Director Troy Stephenson, Chris DeStefano, Sony/ATV’s Josh Van Valkenburg, and MusicRow Owner/Publisher Sherod Robertson

In a very brief period of time, songwriter and producer Chris DeStefano has solidified his role as one of Nashville’s most in-demand creative forces.

He recently visited MusicRow‘s office, where he was feted for two chart-topping singles on MusicRow’s Country Breakout chart, including the Miranda Lambert/Carrie Underwood duet “Somethin’ Bad,” (penned with Brett James and Priscilla Renea), and Chase Rice’s “Ready Set Roll” (penned with Rice and Rhett Akins). These mark DeStefano’s second and third MusicRow Challenge Coins, respectively. His first was for “Rewind,” recorded by Rascal Flatts.

Chris DeStefano accepts a MusicRow Challenge Coin for "Somethin' Bad."

Chris DeStefano accepts a MusicRow Challenge Coin for “Somethin’ Bad.”

“It was the first song we wrote together,” recalls DeStefano of writing “Ready Set Roll.” “Josh [Van Valkenburg] called and told me about Chase, and how he co-wrote ‘Cruise,’ and was working on songs for an album. We wrote the song pretty quick, and it had a different title at first. Chase suggested, ‘Ready Set Roll,’ so I made up the melody and Chase loved it. It was pretty fun. At the end of the day, we felt good about it. That kind of kicked him off into ‘You should produce my album.’” The album, released on Columbia Nashville/Dack Janiels, reached No. 1 on the Billboard Country chart.

Chris DeStefano Brett James

Pictured (L-R): Sir Brett James and  Sir Chris DeStefano

During DeStefano’s visit with MusicRow, he also shared that the feisty female duet “Somethin’ Bad” was penned approximately two years ago, and not in a 9-to-5 Nashville writer’s room, but rather in a chateau near France’s Bordeaux region.

“It’s about a three and a half hour train ride from Paris,” the Sony/ATV writer recalled of the location. “It’s all farmland, and it’s beautiful, out in the middle of nowhere.”

For several years, performing rights organization ASCAP has arranged for writers to spend a week at the chateau, networking and co-writing with fellow songwriters from different genres of music. “There are six rooms, and usually about 18 songwriters that head out there,” said DeStefano. “It’s always like a bonding thing. By the end of it everyone’s heartbroken they have to leave.”

He and fellow songwriter Brett James “penned two songs that day, but ‘Somethin’ Bad’ was the standout,” said DeStefano. “We were in this huge, roomy studio with a large fireplace. There was a lot of reverb in the room, so we started doing these stomps and claps and rocking out. We went out of the box a bit with it.

“It was exciting when Miranda put it on hold, because it was so out of the box. But I never hold my breath about those things, then Carrie [Underwood] texted me one day,” he continued. “She said ‘Look what we are cutting today for Miranda’s record.’ And she sent me a picture of the lyric. We were ecstatic. The two of them on that? I couldn’t wait to hear it.”

DeStefano and James recently completed a return trip to the French chateau, where they each garnered new titles.

DeStefano and James were officially knighted, Ordre des Cevaliers Troubadours de Marouatte. “They have a tradition in the castle which has only happened a handful of times. If you write a song that goes to No. 1 on multiple charts, then you get knighted in the castle,” explained DeStefano. “It’s a real, formal knighting ceremony with traditional language. It is a true honor, and it was incredible to share it with my good friend Brett James. Having been at the castle for the past four years, it already feels like a home away from home to me. I’m very grateful to my ASCAP family for inviting me to participate in this inspiring event.”

Next up for DeStefano? Another chart-topper, most likely. He co-wrote Underwood’s new single, “Something In The Water,” which sits at No. 13 on the MusicRow CountryBreakout chart.

Pictured (L-R): Gali Firstenberg and Jason Silberman, Sir Christopher DeStefano, Lord Miles Copeland, Sir Brett James, David Ryan Jordan and Axton Copeland.

Pictured (L-R): Gali Firstenberg and Jason Silberman, Sir Christopher DeStefano, Lord Miles Copeland, Sir Brett James, David Ryan Jordan and Axton Copeland.

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About the Author

Jessica Nicholson serves as the Managing Editor for MusicRow magazine. Her previous music journalism experience includes work with Country Weekly magazine and Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) magazine. She holds a BBA degree in Music Business and Marketing from Belmont University. She welcomes your feedback at [email protected]

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