Melissa Lawson, “What If It All Goes Right”

The good thing about reality singing competitions: a strong singer gets a shot at stardom that they might not get otherwise. The bad thing about reality singing competitions: if they win, they’re saddled with a treacly inspirational number as their first single.

Melissa Lawson has a real shot at stardom, especially since the audience for Nashville Star was much higher than in previous years. Even a low-rated network special is going to give wider exposure than most basic cable channels can provide. Her vocals aren’t Carrie-caliber, but they’re stronger than most of the women who are being pitched to radio today, including some of the ones actually getting played. (I’m looking at you, Taylor Swift!)

The song itself is generic inspirational fodder, and the production is very “Hey, we need this on iTunes tomorrow!” But Lawson herself sounds good, and she elevates the material to a level above its vanilla essence.

Since it’s already the top-selling country song on iTunes, she’s sure to command some serious attention from Warner Bros. Give her some good material and songwriters to work with, and a producer who knows what’s (s)he’s doing (I’m not looking at you, John Rich), and her stardom will come to pass.

Written by Tania Hancheroff, Tamara Hyler, and Shaye Smith

Grade: B

Listen: What If It All Goes Right

Buy: What If It All Goes Right


  1. I’m trying to hunt it down from another source, but the article I read listed Lawson as the writer. It would make a lot more sense for it to be a Rich song, though.

  2. Ah, I lose too! Sorry, Dan, for giving you bad information! Funny thing is that I thought I read that Rich wrote it from a reliable source.

  3. You can’t lose if you learn something new. It was wrong in one of our articles as well and we got an email from Robbins Nashville letting us know that John Rich did produce the song, but it wasn’t written by him.

  4. Hmmm…Brady, you guys weren’t even the place where I got my incorrect info. So, I think they really need to get the real writers’ names out there pretty quickly.

  5. They probably will hesitate on getting the real writers’ names out there because they’ll want the perception that this is entirely a Rich song.

  6. They didn’t list the writers or producers on the promotional single, so it’s no wonder there’s been such confusion!

    But Robert K. Oermann just turned in a great review:

    “I watched only two episodes of this year’s Nashville Star show, the first one and the last one. During the first, I said, “She’s the only one who can sing.” During the finale, I said, “She’s the only one who can sing.” Hello, Music Row, country lovers don’t care that she’s not 20 years old and a size 2. She deserved every bit of that win. And now she has a single that is appropriately inspirational and uplifting. Play it.”

  7. Tania Hancheroff is signed to Robbins Nashville ergo why they’d let people know that she co-wrote the song. you can hear her version on her site. It WAS gonna be her single for Robbins but somehow she let it go to Nashville Star:

    So…What If It All Goes Right??

    Well, my first single on Robbins Nashville was going to be “What If It All Goes Right” BUT….I’m excited to say that John Rich just cut it to release as the first single for whoever wins this year’s Nashville Star competition. The winner will sing it live on the final episode (August 4th), and it’ll hit radio the next day…so stay tuned!!

    Interesting. It seems from her blog post at her myspace that Gabe had recorded the coronation song too.

  8. Both finalists would have pre-recorded the song cuz part of the “big win” was having it played on country radio the next morning.

    That’s the only thing about winning these types of shows… you’re doomed to having your first single being something incredibly cheez-tastic.

  9. I’m just not a big fan of “girl singers” that don’t write their own material, or “man singers” either for that matter. Its always the unique musical vision of singer-songwriters that has caught my ear over the years. I’m in the minority these days as the current Top 40 female artists, apart from Taylor Swift, tend to sing material penned by others. For that reason alone I really don’t care what happens to Melissa Lawson while I do really care about what happens (or doesn’t happen) to true artists like Sarah Buxton and Ashley Monroe….(and now Ashton Shepherd and Emily West and Crystal Shawanda and Star De Azlan and…….)

  10. Interesting that women are “girl singers” and men are “man singers.”
    I also believe that Carrie Underwood, Jennifer Nettles and Miranda Lambert have been writing their hits. I can’t think of another female artist who is even getting regular airplay, so it looks like women writing their material is the rule rather than the exception.

    It would be interesting to compare that to the boy – oops, I mean man – singers.

  11. of all the the flavours that i’ve ever tasted “vanilla” is still among the very favourites. no wonder, i like melissa lawson’s song. it’s not really something to write home about but appealing enough to go at least top five on the charts. when it comes to her overall career prospects, her style and material reminds me of linda davis, who for some reason i still enjoy very much, but whose overall career cannot be judged other than sub-optimal. her songs were just too shallow. take a good look mrs. lawson and try to avoid those same traps.

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