YouKnowIGotSoul Presents Anatomy of a Hot Song: The Creation of Tamia’s “Stranger in my House”

Perhaps Tamia’s most successful and recognizable ballad to date, “Stranger in My House” was recorded for her sophomore album “A Nu Day” back in 2000. The song would mark the first time she collaborated with writer Shep Crawford, who would end up going on to produce for her many times in the future including handling most of the production on her latest album “Between Friends”. When we spoke to Shep about the song in an interview earlier this year, he revealed he wrote it with Toni Braxton in mind. Can you hear her on the song? Here’s what else he had to say about the creation of the song:

Shep Crawford: I wrote it with a young lady named Shae Jones. Initially I wrote it with Toni Braxton in mind. Truthfully I don’t know if Toni heard it, but I sent it to someone at the label there and I never got a call back as far as if she liked it or not. So it was kind of around when I first met Tamia, and she really wasn’t too aware with my work, so I started playing songs. She came up and said that she wanted that one. How I ended up writing a song called “Stranger in my House”, I was in the studio and I had writer’s block. I was trying to come up with a song for Toni and I couldn’t write anything. So I was like “I’m going to shut it down for now. Let me go see a movie,” and I saw “Sixth Sense”. That movie had such a twist at the end so I came back to the studio and was like “I’m going to write a song that has a twist”. So that’s when the bridge says “Could it be that the stranger is me, have I changed so drastically? And you remained the same.” So that’s how the song came about. When Tamia heard it, she loved it. She called Sylvia Rhone had her hear it over the phone. At the time, it wasn’t just really easy using mp3s and then they heard it on the phone, then I went to New York to work with Boyz II Men and I left for a second to meet with Sylvia who heard the song again and wanted it for Tamia. Tamia came on there and she really did it. The demo is nice, but with the range that Tamia has and her beautiful voice and the video. At first, I didn’t care for the video concept. When I was came to the video shoot, she was sitting in the pool and I was like “What are you doing in the pool? Where is the stranger?” but it worked out. I got a chance to see Tamia be as beautiful as she is and then from there on it lifted her career and definitely helped mine as well and we kept that chemistry going with songs like “Me”.

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