Rita Wilson, Emily Shackleton share ‘I Loved You First’

Collaborative new single available now

Multi-talented singer/songwriter Rita Wilson and Nashville hit songstress Emily Shackelton have teamed up for the emotional new single, “I Loved You First (Duet Version),” available now via WinSongs Records, Inc./Sing It Loud LLC. Produced by Chris DeStefano (Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson, Thomas Rhett), “I Loved You First (Duet Version)” was co-written by Shackelton and Wilson, and fittingly arrives on the eve of Mother’s Day, celebrating the complex and deep connection between mother and child.

Wilson and Shackelton had crossed paths in Nashville and share a mutual admiration for each other’s songwriting and musical endeavors. Also sharing commonalities as artists in the country music space, and personally as mothers through different stages of their children’s lives, “I Loved You First (Duet Version)” was the perfect opportunity for the two to collaborate.

“I wrote this song holding my then three-month-old son in my arms. It fell out fast and from the heart. As I began recording this song, I had a vision of Rita singing it with me,” Shackleton explains. “I respect not only her talent but the way she fiercely loves her family. I reached out and she so graciously jumped on board. Her beautiful contributions took the song to the next level and I’m so thrilled to be singing it together!”

“There is a bond between mothers and sons that is undeniable,” Wilson adds. “When I first heard Emily’s original version, I fell in love with it. It was so tender and raw. She captured that beautiful connection we have with our baby boys. In a way this song is a love song from mothers to sons, knowing that a day will come, that they, hopefully, find partners of their own, and live their full lives. You never forget your “baby boy,” though. To this day, when I look into my adult sons’ eyes, I can still see their little baby faces. I read somewhere that a mother is the longest relationship a son will ever have. As the author Shel Silverstein said, ‘And she loved a little boy very much, even more than she loved herself.’”

Wilson has been on a non-stop flurry of projects. Her latest single with Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter Sebastián Yatra, “Til You’re Home” was featured in a A Man Called Otto, the film she also produced with her new production company Artistic Films. The song landed on the Oscar shortlist for Best Original Song and was also nominated for Best Song In A Film (Independent) at the 2022 Hollywood in Music Media Awards. With five studio albums under her belt, her latest star-studded record, Rita Wilson Now & Forever: Duets features icons including Willie Nelson, Smokey Robinson, Jackson Browne, Tim McGraw, Elvis Costello, Keith Urban and others. Wilson will make her anticipated return to CMA Fest on June 9th and will be releasing more new music in the coming weeks. She can also be seen in Wes Anderson’s upcoming film, Asteroid City.

Shackelton hails from Biwabik, Minnesota. After studying at Berklee College of Music, she moved to Nashville and began her career as a songwriter and performer. She co-wrote Carly Pearce’s hit No. 1 song “What He Didn’t Do,” as well as Pearce’s debut No. 1 single, “Every Little Thing”. Her catalog also includes singles and cuts by Lauren Alaina, Reba McEntire, Joe Nichols, Callista Clark, Sara Evans, Runaway June, RaeLynn, Jana Kramer, David Cook, Cassadee Pope, Joy Williams, and more, as well as songs on TV shows like Nashville, American Idol, The Voice, and Dancing with the Stars.

Buddy Iahn
Buddy Iahn

Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites. Email: info@themusicuniverse.com