Remember When Michelle Branch's First Hit Was "Everywhere"?
When you're 15, you might have a few extracurricular activities, maybe a summer job if you're lucky or someone to date if you're luckier. For Michelle Branch, 15 was when she wrote her first hit single!
Of course, it wasn't until she turned 18 that "Everywhere" started blaring out of radios and MTV...well, everywhere. But her success was a long time coming. "I wrote it in my bedroom in Sedona, Arizona, when I was still living with my mom and dad," Branch told Billboard in 2017. "And I actually wrote it originally a half-step down from the recorded version, and sang the chorus a little more falsetto. When I got the record deal, [producer] John Shanks heard it and was like, ‘It’d be really impactful if we move it up. And how high can you sing it?’ So we tried it up a half-step, and he had me belt the chorus, which I definitely wasn’t doing when I wrote it on an acoustic guitar."
Branch was working toward a moment like "Everywhere" - and debut The Spirit Room, which also featured the hits "All You Wanted" and "Goodbye to You" - for some time. "I've been singing since I could talk, and playing guitar since I was 14," she told CNN at the time. "I've wanted to do this my whole life." She already had an independent release under her belt when she signed to Maverick, Madonna's label, to record her major debut. While acts like Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera were popular at the time, Branch's songwriting skills recalled another Maverick artist who'd hit big a few years before: Alanis Morrissette.
Critics agreed. "Branch has a sure hand with memorable melodies," wrote The Guardian, calling her album "a promising start that could make both Morissette and Dido lose sleep." Rolling Stone hailed her "genuine songwriting talent and a strong conviction." Thanks to consistent spins on MTV's Total Request Live - and an appearance in that summer's blockbuster American Pie 2 - "Everywhere" climbed to No. 12 on the Billboard Hot 100 - an impressive start for a new artist.
But for Branch, the biggest test of success may be everyday people. "It's still a lot of people's favorite song of mine, which I'm cool with," she told Billboard. "And it’s a big karaoke number as well! I get a lot of friends who send them late-night, drunken videos of them singing 'Everywhere.'”