Story Behind the Song: Mitchell Tenpenny, ‘Walk Like Him’
In 2014, Mitchell Tenpenny lost his father to soft-tissue cancer, and today, the singer links his ability to move on from his grief -- and keep a part of his father with him -- to having songwriting as an outlet. Specifically, it was the writing process behind his song "Walk Like Him" that played a key role.
Read on to learn how songwriting was therapeutic for Tenpenny as he dealt with grief, and why it was so important for him to share the song with his listeners on his debut album, Telling All My Secrets.
We just started playing that song recently [as of December 2018], because it's new, and I always get people coming up to me afterwards saying, "Thank you, I lost my dad," or, "I lost my brother." And that was always the goal. Well, the goal was first, to pay homage to my dad, who believed in me and this crazy dream of doing music, but also so that somebody else who's lost someone close can have their song, that when they're down and they're at their lowest, they can listen to and remember them. That was the goal.
Of course [the process of writing "Walk Like Him" made my dad's death more real]. I mean, that's why I write songs. It's the only way to get it out, for me. It's why I started doing it at a young age, and then all this built up. It helps me in the hardest and happiest times, and even to move on.
That one is my song on the record, that I wrote about me. I broke down a couple of times in the writing process. Especially that line, "One day, my babies can look at me and see what he's like," because my mom wants grandkids, and I wish -- I just started crying when I wrote that line, because they'll never get to meet him. But it's something that I really wanted to say, because, you know, I grew up from him. I'm so much like him. And so they will see a little bit of him.