Exclusive: Clint Lagerberg Talks Career And Smash Hit “Blue Ain’t Your Color”

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• June 30, 2017

Clint Lagerberg is a co-writer of Keith Urban’s massive hit “Blue Ain’t Your Color.” He penned the song with Steven Lee Olsen and Hillary Lindsey, and also produced Olsen’s version of the song.

“Blue Ain’t Your Color” was voted Song of the Year at the recent MusicRow Awards. Lagerberg called from his studio in Thompson’s Station to discuss the win. Read more in the new issue of MusicRow magazine, or subscribe to MusicRow today.

Tell me about your career as a producer.

I’ve been in town about 12 years. I’ve been playing guitar forever. Early on, I started recording myself on a four-track so that I could critique my playing.

I’m not the typical Nashville track guy. It’s become part of my process but the song is most important for me. The track is the easy part.

My production process is I don’t want to use stock sounds, I want everything to be unique. We’re creating a sonic vibe that totally fits what the artist is about and we search for it.

In addition to co-writing “Blue…” you produced Steven Lee Olsen’s recording of it, which ultimately ended up being pitched to Keith Urban. How did you approach the recording?

“Blue…” came at the end of the record. The recording of it was cool because we knew it needed to be very sparse and the song kind of has the production in it already. You really need to step out of its way, and not do too much. But we had to do something to make it fit more sonically with the rest of the record. It was so cool to see what Keith did with it. He took it even further back with simplicity, which to me was so cool. I loved hearing it that way.

How have you handled all the success this year?

While Keith was taking “Blue… “ to No. 1, I was building a studio at our new house. I was working around the clock to finish the studio because I had a deadline for a record with the band Everett, so they could pitch it to a label. Meanwhile “Blue…” is climbing the charts and we are getting award nominations.

I’m a little bummed that I didn’t get to fully immerse myself in the excitement of it all, because I was so tired from working. My wife and I went to the Grammys, and that was the first moment I got to soak it up a little.

Then it really hit me at the No. 1 party. I had just finished the EP for Everett. I probably slept 15 hours in two weeks. When I got to the mic at the party it all hit me. Everything I might have missed. All the emotions, the celebrations, seeing my wife and daughter in the audience. It was so hard to talk. It was very powerful. And to be standing up there with great friends, Hillary and Steven. And also Missi Gallimore and Keith. It was very cool to be there in that moment.

Now I’m rested and getting back to work in the studio with Everett. It was all worth it, because there are major offers.

What have you learned as a songwriter?

To get a “yes” in a “no” town really helps. You’ll get 1,500 “no’s” but one “yes” will make up for that and more. It prepares you for the next round of “no’s.” Part of you wonders, “How can I recreate this?” There’s no way to choreograph this kind of thing. We couldn’t make it happen again. It was so organic. And that’s the answer: just keep making the best music you can. Dive in deep as you can and then let whatever is going to happen, happen.

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About the Author

Sarah Skates has worked in the music business for more than a decade and is a longtime contributor to MusicRow.

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