Jennifer Nettles’ new single “I Can Do Hard Things” isn’t just a song — it’s a mission statement, which the 44-year-old country favorite released Friday alongside an essay explaining the meaning behind its songwriting.
For Nettles, “I Can Do Hard Things” was inspired by her journey towards fully-formed adulthood, calling the song “a real-life heart opening to what it means to be a grown woman.”
“As women we are taught that we must do it all and act like we like doing it all,” she wrote in her essay on Medium. “That, for example, our love for our children is somehow contingent upon our love of every moment of being a mother. As if Life were an ‘either/or’ instead of what it really is: ‘both/and.’ And as I began to acknowledge that Truth within me, that coexistente holding of everything all at once, I began to learn about pain and resilience and strength and tenderness.”
“I Can Do Hard Things” is Nettles’ first new single since 2017’s “King of the City,” which commemorated the lives lost on 9/11 on the 16th anniversary of the attacks by telling the story of an immigrant window-washer who witnesses the planes crashing into the World Trade Center.
“I want to humanize the immigrant story as an American story and allow people a different narrative from what they might be seeing on the news or in their communities,” she told Rolling Stone about the song.
Nettles also reunited with her Sugerland bandmate Kristian Bush in 2018 for a reunion album, “Bigger,” and a subsequent tour.
“I think there’s something with Sugarland that is a higher calling,” Nettles told The Tennessean, which is part of the USA TODAY Network, last year. “What we’ve been writing for this new record, it is clear we had things inside of us that we felt the world needed to hear. I think translating that pain into hope is something that Sugarland does really well.”