Story Behind the Song: Reyna Roberts, ‘Raised Right’
Reyna Roberts shows the world who she truly is with her song “Raised Right.” In the successor to “Stompin’ Grounds” and “67 (Winchester),” Roberts continues to let her fierce voice fly as the swampy country-rock song that details the various elements of her formative years.
Interestingly enough, the idea for "Raised Right" came to Roberts while she was watching a Star Wars movie. The singer also brought inspiration from her military parents and her childhood spent living around the country into a writing session with Danny Myrick and Kylie Sackley.
Below, Roberts shares the story behind “Raised Right,” in her own words.
I love the swampy, front-porch sound — that's what I've grown up listening to. “Stompin’ Grounds,” for sure there's a lot more rock, and then I love that “Raised Right” has a lot more swamp, because that's what I love, definitely, from all the music that my parents played.
I know for a fact when Danny, Kylie and I started “Raised Right,” they were like, “What are you feeling today?” And I took my idea and I was like, “I have this idea called "Raised Right." I have a few lines, and I hear something that's kind of Gretchen Wilson wild. What do y'all think?” And they're like, "Heck yeah, let's roll with it.” So that's how we created the sound for “Raised Right.”
There's actually multiple stories that went into “Raised Right.” This is going to sound really nerdy, but I got the title because I was watching my favorite movie — well, at the time it wasn't my favorite, it was my first time seeing it. I was in the theater, and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker was playing, and now it's my favorite movie, but at the time, it was my first time seeing it. I remember ‘cause we had these little hot fudge sundaes at the AMC Theaters with the little lightsabers in them.
As I was watching the movie, I was watching Kylo Ren’s character. He's my favorite character, and when I was watching his scenes, I just remember thinking of the title ... and so I whipped out my phone real quick, put it on the low setting for the light, and I wrote down the title and a few lines. Later on that night, I came up with a few melodies.
Then, later on, when it was time to write it with Danny and Kylie, I was like, “Y'all, I have this idea.” Instead of it being based on Star Wars, we started talking about me and my upbringing: a few stories, one of them being, there's a time and point where I didn't really drink — I’m not going to say at all, but I didn't really drink. I was really sick one day, and my dad was like, “Hey, Sugar Bear, let me help you out. Here's some whiskey for your sweet tea. Wrap yourself up in some covers and sweat it out and you'll feel better in the morning.” And I was like, “That sounds really interesting, let me try it.”
And so, the thing is, since I didn't drink, I didn't really measure how much whiskey to put in my sweet tea, and so I drink the whole thing that I made, and by the time I was finished, I was really drunk, and I didn't sweat anything out — I was just drunk and sick. I didn't feel better at all — I felt worse. So that's what made me think of whiskey in my sweet tea ...
It's hard, because everybody grows up differently. The thing that I do like about “Raised Right” is that it's universal: Everybody was raised by somebody and ... I just feel like, with “Raised Right,” it’s relatable to a lot of people.
For me personally, my parents — first of all, they're freaking amazing. I always tell people I was raised by wolves: My parents were veterans in the military, and at the time, say they couldn't watch me, they had some of the other soldiers watch me at the time. So, for me, I was raised by — I don't want to say wolves, but by a whole bunch of Army veterans. So, for me, growing up, going to different places, being in different environments, that's what shaped who I am as a person.
One of the things that I was talking to Kylie and Danny about for the "city in my country" line, we wanted to explore on that, and I was telling them [about] going from ... Alabama to California. When I made that move, people would ask me about my accent ... and my characteristics from being in Alabama ... It's funny, because when I moved from from California to Nashville, the same thing happened: It was like, "You're dressed different, you look like you're from the city, you sound like you're from the city" ...
I think that created the fighter in me. I love people, I always want to help people, and I care, but at the same time ... there's a fire and there's a fighter in me ... I feel like, because of that background, it's also shaped me in terms of my determination and my drive to go after things, to be non-stop and just to fight for what I want ...
It was actually our first Zoom write. It was during COVID, it was my first Zoom write, and it was also our first time writing together. Right off the bat, though, we all connected and we clicked. I feel like those are my people — we're family. That's how I feel; that’s how we feel about each other.
We were just going through my story and what certain things meant to me — like, for instance, [with] “baptized in the neon lights,” we were talking about being onstage and how I feel onstage is like I was made for this ...
For instance, “I know I ain't always ladylike” — so, growing up ... I didn't wear makeup, I didn't wear dresses, I was always in sweats, I was a wrestler ... I wasn't into putting on heels and things like that ... I'm acknowledging the fact that I'm not those things ...
“Raised Right” is just the embodiment of who I am. I feel like it tells the perfect story of me, and I feel like it's also a universal story ... I feel like it's a strong song, and I just love it ... It's the one I feel the most confident about ...
I've grown up listening to songs like [Little Big Town's] "Boondocks,” and I feel like with “Raised Right,” it also shows a great part of my range as well. “67 (Winchester)” and “Stompin’ Grounds,” I feel like it showed off my vocal ability, but I feel like “Raised Right” took it to the next level.
Who Is Reyna Roberts? 5 Things You Need to Know: