Amy Speace Finally Gets Her Say in “Better Than This”

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Amy Speace spent years waiting for a relationship to click. When it ultimately fizzled, she channeled her energy into songwriting and captured all her complicated emotions in her upcoming album, That Kind of Girl. She recorded the project in East Nashville with producer Neilson Hubbard in just three days. It’s scheduled for a March 3 release on Windbone Records.

Being a former Shakespearean actor, Speace comes by her poetic inclinations naturally. Check out the CMT Edge premiere of “Better Than This,” an empowering portrait of a woman who’s finally getting her life back together. Read a Q&A with Speace after the player.

CMT Edge: I think of “Better Than This” as a pep talk to yourself. What was on your mind when you wrote it?

I wrote “Better Than This” with my friend Kate Klim. It was a pretty easy song to write lyrically speaking. I’d just gotten through grieving a recent relationship that didn’t work out where I’d waited for years to see if it would work out, waited on him to make up his mind. And I pretty much just channeled all the confusion and rage I had felt at the end of that relationship when I realized I was worth way more than how he was treating me. Of course, in reality, I never said any of this. The relationship just faded away as they do. But that’s why I love writing — you can say the things you didn’t get a chance to say in life.

I like the bass line in this track in particular. It captures the urgency of the lyrics, in my opinion. What was the vibe in the studio during the recording session for this song?

I had a groove idea for the song and played the acoustic part for the band for them to hear the rhythm and then we pretty much cut it live with Carl Broemel playing the acoustic part and Will Kimbrough playing the electric guitar. Dean Marold, from the band The Farewell Drifters, played the upright bass. He’s just a great player and a great guy and he and Neilson (who played drums) kept the heartbeat going. I’m fairly sure the record has the 2nd take we did.

The lyric of “I can do better than a near miss” is a message that a lot of people can relate to. What is the imagery that you were hoping to capture in that line? Or, what is it about that line that rang true for you?

“Near miss” is really any relationship that you’re working too hard to make right. It shouldn’t be that hard. We all have such feelings of unworthiness, which is why we stay in toxic relationships, addicted to the “what if” part of it, and the truth is we’re only really in love (or addicted to) some false ideal that is never gonna happen. We don’t look honestly at what IS right in front of us. We keep hoping, working on, waiting for THEM to change or for US to change or for something to change, banging our collective heads against the wall of love, wondering why we are failing. When there’s a reason we are failing. We aren’t choosing healthy people.

That’s a whole ‘nother conversation that took a lot of soul searching and pain to get to the other side of the angst, but songs help us see the truth and that’s what I tried to do in this lyric. Cheer for the woman who says “I don’t want to be another woman grieving for the years she lost” because once she says that, then you know she’s gonna make a move and get the hell out and you’re rooting for her.

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