I’ve always been puzzled why so few advertising pros aspire to be songwriters. Chicagoan Joyce Harrison has reached the top in both professions. She began her career as a copywriter and creative director at legendary Chicago ad agencies. Then she wrote two songs for LeAnn Rimes, just as the singer was becoming a household name.

Harrison is impossible to pigeonhole because she writes country ballads, R&B songs, Latin music and much more. Her songwriting versatility reminds me of Beth Nielsen-Chapman and Maggie Rogers.

Joyce’s newest song “Rained On” has the potential to be a monster hit for artists ranging from Charlie Puth to John Legend.

I spoke with Joyce about the Seattle-to-London collaboration that led to this amazing song.

When did you write “Rained On” and what’s the backstory on the song? What prompted you to write it?

This was a very long-distance cowrite. Arnaud Robin (from France), who calls himself Super Cool Guy, lives in London. He’s a musician, performer and producer who happened to post a request for lyricists on a pitch sheet. So I sent him “Getting Rained On” which he suggested be shortened to “Rained On”. He sent me his rough recording (keyboard with vocal). I did some revisions and in time recorded a demo through Soundbetter that did not work out. I continued revising lyrically and melodically over a couple more years. I finally hired a producer I trust (BeEff stage name) in Nashville, this time to do it R&B style.

Who’s the singer on the track, and how did you find him?

The singer is Joey Richey. Sadly, I have not met him. Lucky for me, he’s a friend of the producer. Happily, I liked the samples of his vocals. Net net, great job. An excellent new generation for Nashville’s long time R&B master Jason Eskridge.

Who were your favorite artists growing up…and your favorite ones now?

I’m originally from Northern Canada and the long, bitterly cold winters make music even more important. My childhood was “Rock Around the Clock”, “That’s All Right Mama”, “Blueberry Hill”, “Good Golly Miss Molly”, and so on. Today, I’m a fan of anything Swedish producer/songwriter Max Martin is involved with, like “Blinding Light” by 

the Weeknd (should have won a Grammy last year). Love the writing of Billie Eilish and the minimalist production of her brother Finneas. I think Taylor Swift is a great writer. There are individual songs I like by Harry Styles, Dua Lipa, BTS. I’ll forever be a fan of Abba, Fleetwood Mac, Jefferson Airplane, Prince, Creedence Clearwater, Crosby Stills and Nash.

You’ve had several songs recorded by LeAnn Rimes. Do you still stay in touch with her, and what do you think of her latest single “spaceship”?

I only met LeAnn once accidentally when I had a voice-over session and she was at the same Nashville studio for a Curb Records project. Originally, she had recorded a song of mine on an indie label (pitched by a Nashville publisher) that her father Wilbur Rimes produced when they were still in Texas. I had a question for him and my phone call led to a second cut titled “Good Lookin’ Man” on her Blue album. I gave this song to another publisher who met with Wilbur but did not include me. The indie song “Sure Thing” was released again on the Early Years album.

LeAnn still has a powerful voice based on her new release “spaceship”, listed as written by her and Darrell Brown. Desire for death is an unusual tie-in to the Christian theme of the album. 

You’ve received royalties from all over the world. What’s the most surprising international royalty payment you’ve received?

A song I cowrote with Richard Hamersma titled “Damned If I Know” was translated to Latvian by Guntar Racs (same melody) and released by his label Microphone Records as “Tev Miera Nav”. The song went to Top 10 radio there and earned a prestigious award for the pop/dance singer Candy. After German artist Mark Bender recorded my country song “Never Too Old (to Rock ‘n Roll)”, I learned that GEMA is the hardest source for any performance money. I did better with an EDM topline for “I Only Want You” produced by a Swedish DJ for his label. Better means over $100!