Sara, who performed the song on the Academy of Country Music Awards last month, 'Dancing With the Stars' this week and will be performing it at the star-studded Bama Rising Tornado Relief Benefit next month, says she didn't realize it would have such an effect on people.
"I had no idea that it would have the emotional response that it has had," Sara tells The Boot. I knew that it was a great song and it moved me, but I had no idea that this song would be the anthem for anybody going through something hard. I have people literally coming up to me every single day [saying], 'Oh my gosh. Your song has helped me so much. It's been my theme.' I always say, 'I'm sorry. I'm sorry that it's been your theme song, and that you've gone through something bad,' but at the same time they've been so appreciative of it because it's really helped them ... it applies to so many different situations. It's definitely been an honor to sing it."
As the country songstress mentions, the song does apply to more than just a breakup. With the recent devastating storms that have hit the country, leveling homes, schools and businesses and destroying lives, 'A Little Bit Stronger' has been used as a theme song for towns, cities and people in recovery.
"That's what's so great about this song and been such a blessing to me," says Sara. "They wrote it so well that it does apply to anybody going through a hard time, so it'll be very emotional to get up there and sing 'Stronger' at the fundraiser for Alabama, and even on 'Dancing With the Stars,' they used it to talk about how the contestants have been getting stronger every week, but that was kind of emotional. Even just watching Kirstie Alley get stronger, this song touches everybody."
As Hillary has mentioned, the song, which was featured in the film 'Country Strong,' was taken from a painful breakup. "It was pretty much out of a bad Lifetime movie," Hillary laughingly told The Boot. "It was very awful and painful, but I remember I had a note in my phone that every day that I don't respond to his texts or respond to his calls or respond to his emails, every day that I am not in contact with him, I get stronger."
When Hillary was writing the song, the thought was that maybe Lady Antebellum would record it for their next album. By the time the trio went into the studio, the tune no longer applied to her life or situation, since she found a deeper love with boyfriend, drummer Chris Tyrell. So, the songwriters' respective publishing companies began furiously pitching 'A Little Bit Stronger' to other artists.
"They were in the process of making a record, so we never could have known what would've happened with the song," notes co-writer Luke Laird, commenting on the fact the song was recorded by Sara.
"When we went in to cut our second record, it was in the pile, because we wrote that in January 2009, but it just didn't fit what we were doing," explains Hillary. "We loved the song. The guys loved the song, but the place I was when we went into record the record, I said, 'This isn't me any more. That was me then, and I still love the song, but it just didn't work.'"
Hillary's ex is now laying claim to another song he believes was written about him, but the singer-songwriter put the record straight and hopes he gets the message loud and clear.
"It's really funny, because I'm in a great, amazing relationship now, and that feels like a lifetime ago," Hillary continues. "But this guy that I dated [laughs] -- I've heard through the grapevine because we still have mutual friends -- he thinks that 'Need You Now' was written about him, and that wasn't. ['A Little Bit Stronger'] was. So, for the record, this one was written about him, not 'Need You Now!' [laughs]"
Sara is getting ready to hit the airwaves with her new single, a cover of Rod Stewart's 'My Heart Can't Tell You No.'