In 2011, Heidi Newfield released “Stay Up Late” as a single. Written by husband and wife Jimmy Yeary and Sonya Isaacs, along with Ben Hayslip, the track is, the tunesmiths agree, “a little risqué,” but an awful lot of fun; in fact, they had a feeling that whoever heard the song first would wind up cutting it.
Below, the three songwriters share how the tune came to be. Read on for the story behind “Stay Up Late” in Isaacs, Hayslip and Yeary’s own words.
Jimmy Yeary: It was Sonya’s hook, and, of course, as songwriters, we love great hooks.
One day she asked me, “Is “Go to Bed Early and Stay Up Late” a good song title?” I thought it was wonderful. I wrote with Ben the next day, and I asked him the same thing.
Ben Hayslip: Jimmy Yeary is a good buddy of mine … I knew Sonya, but I’d never written with her. [Jimmy] came in one day and said, “Man, Sonya had a great idea last night: ‘Let’s go to bed early and stay up late.'”
Yeary: He went, “Oh my goodness! That’s incredible.”
Hayslip: Me and Jimmy got a good start on it that day. The next week, Sonya came in to help us finish it.
She’s an unbelievable writer. She has done so many things in the bluegrass and gospel world. She’s a great country music writer, and it really clicked with us three … That song basically wrote itself pretty quick. It was an easy idea to write.
Yeary: It happened in a few hours. We demoed it about week later. We knew the first person who heard it was going to cut it. We knew it was magic.
Heidi’s camp heard it and they cut it. It’s a little risqué, but it’s fun.
Sonya Isaacs: It was a little risqué! [Laughs]
What I love about it, even though the hook of the song is a little risqué, the song is very, very honest. It’s not a dirty song; it’s not a sex song or anything like that. It’s a very mature way of saying, “We need to have some time together.”
We were actually at home when I thought of that hook. We had been apart all weekend, and we knew that we really needed some time together. Sometimes it’s great just to go to bed and watch TV or just enjoy the night together and not have to get up too early. That’s kind of where the idea that I had for that song came from.
What’s funny about this song is all my roots and connections with gospel music. I was worried about this song being a little too much on the “trashy” side, I guess … a little on the naughty side …
This story was originally written by Alanna Conaway, and revised by Angela Stefano.
LOOK: More Country Songs From Women That You Need to Hear