For chart-topping songwriter Phillip LaRue, accolades, awards, and chasing singles isn’t conducive to the creative process. When the session starts, what truly matters are the stories, the people that inspire the songs, and the act of bringing those characters and journeys to life with authenticity and fine songcraft. And judging by Phillip’s #1 country hit co-writing Tyler Farr’s “Whiskey In My Water,” his integrity-driven approach yields more than just pure artistic success.
“My motto in life is the less I think about myself, and the more I think about others, the better the person I become. That’s a guiding principle for me in the studio, too,” the Nashville-based songwriter confides. “When I’m in a session, I’m there to help someone express their story—it’s not just writing a song—it’s honoring someone’s life path and learning about them.”
Phillip LaRue has produced and collaborated with artists as varied as Tyler Farr, Jon Pardi, Brandon Heath, Jars of Clay, Jennifer Knapp, Phil Wickham, Ronnie Dunn, Jason Castro and Dave Barnes. His co-write with Tyler Farr, and songwriter John Ozier, “Whiskey In My Water,” has hit number one on the country radio chart, and has been certified Gold by the RIAA. Phillip has also won a Dove Award “Song Of The Year” for co-writing and co-producing Tenth Avenue North’s “By Your Side.” Phillip’s songs have appeared in film and TV, most notably in such shows as Nashville, Vampire Diaries, Pretty Little Liars & Drop Dead Diva. His songs have also appeared in ads for Kohl’s, the Food Network, Verizon, Apple and Ford. In addition, Phillip is an acclaimed artist in his own right, having released four studio albums with the group LaRue and two studio albums as a solo artist.
Phillip is fluidly creative in the studio, able to craft jewel-like vocal melodies, emotionally resonant lyrics, music, and handle production duties. “I love using a car as a metaphor for creative endeavors. With an artist who needs direction, I can hop in the driver’s seat and steer the session, but with an artist who has a vision that just needs honing, I can hop in the backseat and give directions,” he explains. “At the heart of it all is writing a great song with my collaborator. My ego or artistic identity doesn’t factor in the process.”
He’s been able to successfully work across genres such as country, pop-rock, rock, singer-songwriter, and folk because his artistry transcends styles. “I’m a sucker for a timeless melody, and songs that put a smile on your face and stir your heart,” he says.
Phillip stays active with his folk project Us And Our Daughters and his pop-rock band The Rival, but, first and foremost, he prizes his collaborative work as a songwriter and a producer. “I love being in the background to serve somebody else’s vision and dreams,” he says. “Every time I go into a room to write, I strive to do something special and significant. These aren’t just songs, they are stories we are telling, and I feel so blessed and honored to do this for a living.”