41: It Matters to Me

41: It Matters to Me

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Country Music

It Matters to Me

Story by Mark D. Sanders

Song written by Mark D. Sanders and Ed Hill

Recorded by Faith Hill

One of the first times I heard one of my songs on the radio, I was driving a van for Stardust Tours in Nashville. It was a Sunday morning and the radio was tuned to the Top 40 Country Countdown. The song was “Oh Carolina” by Vince Gill. It had apparently broken into the Top 40 that week and I turned the radio up and started yelling to everyone on the bus, “Hey listen, that’s my song on the radio. I wrote that!” And they all just stared at me. Then I realized that they didn’t believe me! It was like they were thinking, “If you really wrote that, you wouldn’t be driving this bus.” They didn’t realize that just because you have a Top 40 hit as a writer doesn’t mean you can retire.

I grew up in California and played basketball in high school. Then I went to college, where I majored in literature and then taught high school for a few years. I knew I loved poetry, but I also knew poets didn’t make any money, so I started thinking about writing songs. I moved to Nashville in 1980 when I was 29 and started working odd jobs. Then I started getting a few hits and was finally able to leave the tour bus company.

“It Matters to Me” is one of the more personal songs I’ve ever written. We wrote the song on a Friday, and it had been a bad week for me at home. My wife and I had been fighting about something. My approach to anger back then was just to shut up, which is probably the most maddening thing you can do.

When Ed Hill, my co-writer, and I went in to write on that Friday, I didn’t really want to write. The funny thing about the brain is if I’m upset about something else, I have trouble getting to that songwriting part of the brain. So I told that to Ed and he started whining and complaining. He would do that sometimes. He said, “Come on, let’s just try to write.”

He said, “I’ve got this title — ‘It Matters to Me,’” and I thought, Oh, no. I know where this is going.

We ended up writing the song from my wife’s point of view. I didn’t tell Ed that at the time. I do that a lot. I don’t always tell my co-writers who or what I’m writing about. But that one was definitely from her point of view, looking at me. I came up with the lines, “When we don’t talk, when we don’t touch, when it doesn’t feel like we’re even in love.” She didn’t really say that, but I know that’s what she was thinking, so I said it for her. Because we weren’t talking to each other!

Even the first lines, “Baby tell me where did you ever learn / to fight without saying a word” — I usually try to use pure rhymes instead of slant rhymes, but in a song like that, when it says exactly what I need it to say, I just go along with it. I didn’t mind rhyming “word” and “learn.”

If I remember correctly, Faith didn’t want to record it at first. I’m not sure why. Scott Hendricks was her producer then and he had to talk her into it. The first time I talked to Faith about it, I told her I knew her voice was just perfect for it. The first time I heard her sing it on the radio, I was turning off Franklin Road onto Tyne Boulevard (in south Nashville), and I got tears in my eyes because I knew what it was really about. That was back before I discovered anti-depressants.

It Matters to Me

Baby, tell me where’d you ever learn

To fight without sayin’ a word?

Waltz back into my life

Like it’s all gonna be alright

Don’t you know how much it hurts

CHORUS:

When we don’t talk

When we don’t touch

When it doesn’t feel like we’re even in love

It matters to me

When I don’t know what to say

Don’t know what to do

Don’t know if it really even matters to you

How can I make you see?

It matters to me

Baby I still don’t understand

The distance between a woman and a man

So tell me how far it is

And how you can love like this

’Cause I’m not sure I can

CHORUS

I don’t know what to say

Don’t know what to do

Don’t know if it really even matters to you

How can I make you see

Oh it matters to me

Oh it matters to me

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