Regie Hamm – The Story Behind David Cook’s “Time Of My Life”

Regie Hamm, the songwriter who won the American Idol songwriters contest, blogs today about hearing his winning song, “Time of My Life”, played during the Beijing Olympics this week. The song is inspired by his family’s struggle raising a special needs child from China. As you can imagine, hearing the song on the Olympics, taking place now in China, had a very special meaning for the family, You can read all about it here.

Get out your tissues! This story is a tearjerker. An excerpt:

In April of ’08, with no publishing deal, no record deal and no career left to speak of, my wife suggested that I try and write a finale song for the American Idol song contest. My friend Scott Krippayne had won it the year before and Yolanda told me “Scott did it last year, why couldn’t you do it this year? Please try it – you have nothing to lose”. I reluctantly agreed, then immediately thought of the line “taste every moment and live it out loud”. That was a Thursday. I went into my office the following Monday and worked through what a “moment” song would sound and feel like. I couldn’t bring myself to write about conquest and achievement. None of that rang true for me anymore. I had been living a cautionary tale of hanging your hopes and dreams on material success for the past five years. All I could think of was the need to give in to love, let bitterness burn and embrace the moments we have and people we love. I thought about my shattered career and the words “holding on to things that vanished into the air left me in pieces” washed over me and I briefly felt the sting of it all again. Then I thought about my wife and my daughter and my son and how they were truly all I needed. The words “all that I needed was there all along, within my reach, as close as the beat of my heart” came rolling off my tongue and I knew that it was the truth. I finished the song in five hours. Recorded and mixed it over the next three days and turned it in to the contest website (along with my ten dollar entry fee) the day of the deadline. Three days later, I was notified that my song “may” be in the top twenty. Two days later …it was. Several weeks later, I was notified that I’d actually won the contest. A week after that, David Cook became the 2008 American Idol winner and performed my song in front of 30 million people. Two and a half months later, it had been downloaded over seven hundred thousand times, was number 3 on the pop AC chart, number 7 on the hot AC chart and had been performed live on TV a dozen times and been used in several TV production pieces. You almost can’t ask for more out of a song than that. But then …

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Founder and editor of mjsbigblog.com, home of the awesomest fan community on the net. I love cheesy singing shows of all kinds, whether reality or scripted. I adore American Idol, but also love The Voice, Glee, X Factor and more!