Martina McBride was the featured artist on Monday night's (May 4) episode of the songwriting-focused competition show Songland. The track she selected to record, "Girls Like Me," had a country music connection even before she put her voice on it.

Songland brings in up-and-coming songwriters to pitch their compositions to superstar artists from across the genre spectrum. After one writer is eliminated, the remaining three work with the show's panel of producers, including Nashville's Shane McAnally, to fine-tune their tracks before one final pitch.

Songwriter Halie (full name: Halie Wooldridge) worked with hitmaker Ester Dean to refine "Girls Like Me." The 20-year-old writer is a Thayer, Mo., who moved to Nashville in 2018; she originally co-wrote the song with Dan Swank, Lexi Lauren and her brother, Michael Tyler, a 22-year-old songwriter and artist who recently signed with Reviver Records and has written, among other songs, Dierks Bentley's hit "Somewhere on a Beach."

"I grew up listening to Martina and [McBride's 2003 hit] "This One’s for the Girls" was one of my favorites,” Halie shares in a press release. "We wanted to write a song that girls can relate to in an honest way. I wanted them to know that it’s ok to have insecurities. I’m so glad I get to deliver that message through Martina McBride."

McBride says she "loves the message of this song," and agrees that every woman — really, every person — can relate to the track: "We've all gone through things in life and have dealt with insecurities and mistakes," the singer adds.

"Halie wrote this from a young woman's perspective, and I needed to be able to sing it from the perspective of someone who has already been down this road and is saying, basically, 'I've been where you are and it's all going to be okay,'" McBride continues. "There was so much of the lyric and melody that I loved, and once I was able to find the way to flip the narrative, so to speak, it all came together beautifully. I think the message is powerful and relatable."

McBride's Songland episode was filmed pre-coronavirus pandemic, but she recorded the final version of the song after safer-at-home orders took effect. Producer Nathan Chapman helped McBride record remotely.

"I have to say that I don't know how I could have made this record without Nathan. He is such a gifted musician, singer and producer and was able to play and record all of the instruments on the track from his home studio," McBride shares. "Aside from our initial meeting, before isolation began, when I played him the demo and we talked about doing this project, we were never in the same building throughout the entire recording process. But we both had the same vision and we were able to communicate that into a beautiful finished record."

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