Federal court isn’t the place you’d expect to see Carrie Underwood. But according to a new lawsuit, that may be exactly where you find her. Se is now being sued for plagiarism in a story that includes good friends, northern neighbors, and a cabin in the woods.
The “Something” Story
Two obscure Canadian songwriters, Ron McNeill and Georgia Lyons, brought the lawsuit. According to the pair, they pitched a song to Mark Bright several years ago (Bright is Underwood’s producer.) The song they claimed to have pitched was one quite similar to “Something in the Water.” This is the track that went on to win Underwood the Grammy for Best Country Solo Performance in 2015.
Here’s how it supposedly went down.
It’s May 2, 2014. Carrie Underwood, Brett James, and Chris DeStefano are having a writing session at Underwood’s cabin outside of Nashville. According to CMT, the three remember the night clearly.
The trio was batting about song ideas, including one for “Something in the Water.” DeStefano said he had an idea for “Water,” and as he told CMT, “I played Carrie and Brett this music, and Carrie was immediately like, ‘I’ve got this title and concept I’ve been wanting to write.”
“I remember it like it was yesterday, getting chill bumps when she said that title,” he said. “It felt so right with the music.”
“By end of that day, we were cranking it up on the speakers and had our hands in the air. We definitely went to church that day. I can’t tell you how many times it brought me to tears. Countless times. Just constantly. It’s such a powerful thing. Each line lifts me up higher and higher,” he described.
This became the backbone of the lawsuit.
Despite his recollection of the creative high DeStefano experienced as their project evolved, this is the song that led to the suit.
The lawsuit is for song theft.
In it, McNeill and Lyons allege that the hook on both their original song and Underwood’s 2014 song are structurally and lyrically identical.
In a statement to the Tennessean, Underwood’s spokesperson said that she is saddened by the lawsuit. “Neither Carrie nor any of her co-writers ever received or heard the plaintiffs’ song. We fully expect that Carrie, Brett and Chris will be vindicated in the courts,” it says.
It will be fascinating to see how this one plays out.