Song: “Came Here To Forget”
Artist: Blake Shelton
Written by: Craig Wiseman and Deric Ruttan
Inspiration can strike at any given moment for a songwriter, regardless of their surroundings and circumstances. For Deric Ruttan, a quick run to Walgreens was all it took for the title “Came Here to Forget” to enter his mind. As he sat in the parking lot, Deric quickly typed the title into his cell phone for safekeeping and waited for the perfect writing scenario—which just happened to be a few days later during his very first mash-up with award-winning tunesmith Craig Wiseman.
When Deric arrived at Craig’s publishing company, Big Loud Shirt, he shared his idea, which immediately got the creative wheels turning in Craig’s head. A guitar lick from Deric set the mood, and the initial idea soon evolved into the storyline of two heartbroken people looking for salvation in each other, setting out to drink until they can’t remember why they were dejected in the first place. “I thought, ‘There’s no way that hasn’t been written,’” recalls Deric with a laugh. “And maybe it has been written, I don’t know! Maybe I should have looked.”
Even though the song seemed to mirror Blake Shelton’s personal situation, not once did the superstar’s name surface during the writing process. “That kind of thing shuts me down,” reveals Craig. “I don’t ever think about artists when I’m writing a song. It’s really hard for me to do that.”
By the end of the first afternoon, Deric and Craig had penned almost half of the song. The holidays were just around the corner and they both knew what they had started was too special to tuck away until afterward, so Craig put a new date on the books for them to get back together just before Christmas 2015.
One more day was all it took to complete “Came Here to Forget,” and the finished product had Craig so excited he opted to go one step further. He made a demo to pitch the song to the person who had since become the obvious first choice to sing it—Blake. “I knew he was cutting, but you still just never know,” Craig notes. “It’s really hard to say, ‘Oh, Blake will want to sing this because this is where he’s at in his life,’ because he could be going through a really nasty divorce where the last thing he wants is a song about that, but I knew it was a good song.”
A week or so after Christmas, Craig and Deric got the call from Blake’s record producer, Scott Hendricks, informing the writers that Blake felt just as passionate about “Came Here to Forget” as they did, and he had put the song on hold for his forthcoming album. “We were both very excited, but you never know if it’s going to make the final list,” says Deric. “When we found out it did, it was pretty amazing.”
Less than three months after “Came Here to Forget” was written, the song was released to country radio as the lead single from Blake’s 10th studio album, If I’m Honest. The song wasted no time soaring into the Top 20.
“It’s just so interesting because this song was not written for Blake,” says Deric. “It really shows the power of a song, where you can be in a room with someone and write something and just be trying to write the best version of that idea possible. Then through timing and divine intervention, it all lines up with the exact right singer at the exact right time. There is something in it that is just extremely meaningful to his life at this time. I never had a song connect in that way with the artist in such a timely, unique manner, so it makes this song extra special.”
History in the Making
Blake Shelton’s current Billboard No. 1 streak—which stands at 16—started in 2010 with his hit “Hillbilly Bone,” which was co-written by Craig Wiseman. Fifteen more chart-topping hits have followed, including the 2013 smash “Mine Would Be You,” which was co-written by Deric Ruttan.
Photo of Blake by Cooper Neill/Academy of Country Music