Morning Sun
  • PATRICK'S PEOPLE: Jenn Schott is the co-writer of Tim McGraw's "Two Lanes of Freedom"

  • Now is a really, really good time to be Jenn Schott.

    Born and raised in Pittsburg, the Nashville songwriter is co-writer of “Two Lanes of Freedom,”  title song on country super-star Tim McGraw’s latest CD.

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  • Now is a really, really good time to be Jenn Schott.
    Born and raised in Pittsburg, the Nashville songwriter is co-writer of “Two Lanes of Freedom,” title song on country super-star Tim McGraw’s latest CD.
    “A part of me still can’t even believe it,” Schott said in a telephone interview. “It’s been a really fun week.”
    Part of the fun was having McGraw sing “Two Lanes of Freedom” on Jimmy Kimmel Live.
    Her co-writer is Jaren Johnston, a Nashville native who has had songs recorded by Kenny Chesney and Keith Urban, among numerous others.
    “We got together early last April,” Schott said. “It was a sunny day out and Jaren started playing a riff on his guitar. We started writing verse, not knowing what we were writing it to. It was a good day, a quick day and we wrote it in about an hour and a half. I think it was a Tuesday, and by Friday we sent the song to Tim’s producers.”
    An hour later, they received an e-mail saying that the song was “on hold,” meaning that the producers were asking them not to pitch the song to anyone else.
    “We got another e-mail an hour later saying that Tim had heard the song and loved it,” Schott said.
    That was certainly a good sign, but an artist does not have a formal or legal obligation to record a song on hold.
    “We knew that Tim had over-recorded, recorded more songs than he had room for on his CD,” Schott said. “We held our breath all summer and didn’t know anything until November. We learned just a couple of weeks ago that ‘Two Lanes of Freedom’ will be the name of Tim’s summer tour as well.”
    She confided that she and Johnston first thought of calling the song “Four Lanes to Freedom.”
    “We thought that sounded more like a traffic jam, so we changed it to two lanes,” she said.
    Jennifer Schott was probably destined for a musical career. Her maternal grandfather was the concert master violinist for the CBS orchestra, including the popular “Ed Sullivan Show,” and her mother, Isa Schott, is a flutist. Her father, the late Robert Schott, was a professor of woodwinds for many years at Pittsburg State University.
    Her parents began taking her to recitals at McCray Recital Hall when she was a toddler. She studied piano for more than 10 years and performed in more than 15 musical theater productions while growing up in Pittsburg.
    “All that music through the years soaked in,” Schott said.
    After graduating from the University of Missouri with a journalism degree, she moved to Nashville to pursue a career as a songwriter, and has had songs recorded by artists such as Billy Ray Cyrus, Jennette McCurdy, Jana Kramer, Eden’s Edge, Restless Heart and the Eli Young Band.
    Page 2 of 2 - She noted that there are still some challenges to being a woman composer.
    “The way the country world is now, radios play more male artists than female artists and there are more male songwriters than female,” Schott said. “There is a spot for women, you just have to work hard and fight for that spot.”
    She added that women composers learn to write “male” songs, or songs that can be sung by either sex.
    Schott is also a talented acoustic performer, but said that, aside from some “Writers Night” performances, she primarily devotes her time to writing.
    A 2011 graduate of Leadership Music, she serves on the board of directors for the Nashville Songwriters Association International.
    She’s also on the board of Girls on the Run Nashville.
    “As a runner, I think it’s great to see girls starting out young learning about healthy lifestyles, team-building, body image, etc.,” she said.
    Now she’s enjoying the exhilaration of success, but isn’t about to let up on her songwriting race.
    “I’ve got some other good things in the works later this year, and I have to keep my nose to the grindstone,” Schott said. “But this proves that it can happen, that dreams can come true.”

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