Tia Sillers Celebrates Great Year With Best Country Song,
"I Hope You Dance"
Dale Kawashima from Songwriter
Nashville songwriter Tia Sillers has enjoyed steady
success during the past several years, co-writing hits for the Dixie Chicks, Pam Tillis, Kenny Wayne Shepherd and George Ducas.
But her latest hit, the inspirational "I Hope You Dance," (co-written by Mark D. Sanders) has become a milestone achievement.
This song, which became a #1 country hit and Top 20 pop hit for Lee Ann Womack, recently won the Grammy Award for "Best Country
Song" and the CMA & ACM Awards for "Song Of The Year."
"I Hope You Dance," which was first released as a
single in March 2000, has shown remarkable staying power on the charts. It became a major country hit last summer, staying
atop the Billboard country chart for five weeks. Then in December, pop and Adult Contemporary stations began playing the record,
with the song eventually reaching #1 on the AC chart as well as achieving major pop success. In addition, the popularity of
"I Hope You Dance" has led to the release of a book by Sillers & Sanders, which contains poems and writings inspired by
In 1998 Sillers co-wrote with Mark Selby
the #1 country hit "There's Your Trouble" for the Dixie Chicks. This caught the attention of Mark D. Sanders which
lead to their collaboration on "I Hope You Dance" in September of 1999, which became their milestone achievement. The
song was written during a particularly difficult time for Sillers, when she was in the midst of divorce proceedings.
"For ‘I Hope You Dance,’ I had written
the opening line, 'I hope you never lose your sense of wonder,’" recalled Sillers. "I had just broken up with someone,
going through a brutal divorce. I needed to get away, so I went to a beach on the Florida Gulf Coast. Sitting on the beach
and reflecting about the break-up, I felt so small and inconsequential. But out of this difficult time came the inspiration
to write ‘I Hope You Dance.’ As I was leaving the beach, I remember thinking that things weren’t really
so bad, that I would get through it. That’s when I came up with the line, ‘I hope you still feel small when you
stand beside the ocean.’"
The following week, Sillers returned to Nashville
and collaborated on the song with Mark Sanders. "It was still an emotional time for me," explained Sillers. "I alternately
cried and babbled during the writing session. But Mark made everything better; he was great to work with. We wrote the song
very quickly, finishing the song in just a day or two."
Once the demo was recorded, Sillers’ publishing representatives, Pat Finch (Vice President) and Curtis
Green (Sr. Creative Director) of Famous Music, played "I Hope You Dance" for Lee Ann Womack’s producer, Mark Wright.
Wright immediately loved the song, and he played it for Womack, who also loved it. A recording session was quickly booked,
and the song was recorded shortly thereafter. Womack sang the song, accompanied by vocals from country group, Sons Of The
"I Hope You Dance" was named the title of Womack’s
album, and the single had an immediate impact at radio, and with the Nashville music community. "The response to the song
was beautiful," said Sillers. "Someone told me a story, that when great songwriter Matraca Berg was driving and first heard
the song on the radio, she pulled off the road because she loved it and said, ‘Thank God.’"
"I Hope You Dance" went on to multi-format success
on the country, pop and Adult Contemporary charts. Womack’s album has now reached double platinum status, selling two
million units. The song had become so popular, that Nashville book publisher Rutledge Hill Press approached Sillers &
Sanders to write a book about the song. The 64-page book, also titled I Hope You Dance, has been released and entered the
New York Times bestseller list, with almost 200,000 copies sold to date.
The all-around success of "I Hope You Dance" has made
the past year a tremendous one for Sillers. "A year ago, I had no idea things were going to go so well," she explained. "I
was going through a divorce, things were difficult, and there was no way of knowing that great things were about to happen.
But now, a year later, it's been incredible. I have a hit record and book, we won the Grammy, CMA & ACM Awards, and I’m
in a wonderful new relationship. And I’ll be flying off to Paris soon, traveling with the love of my life!"