Stay (Sugarland song)

Single by Sugarland
from the album Enjoy the Ride
Released September 10, 2007
Format CD single
Digital download
Genre Country
Length 4:44
Label Mercury Nashville
Writer(s) Jennifer Nettles
Producer(s) Byron Gallimore
Kristian Bush
Jennifer Nettles
Sugarland singles chronology
"Everyday America"
"All I Want to Do"

"Stay" is a song recorded by American country music duo Sugarland. It was released in September 2007 as the fourth and final single from their album Enjoy the Ride (see 2006 in country music). Overall, the song is the group's eighth single to enter the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts, where it reached a peak position of #2 for four weeks, stuck behind Taylor Swift's "Our Song", and has become their signature song. The music video for "Stay" was ranked #10 on CMT's 100 Greatest Videos.

In addition, it is the first song in Sugarland's career to be written solely by lead vocalist Jennifer Nettles.[1]

"Stay" was certified Gold by the RIAA on February 21, 2008. It was later Sugarland's first single to earn a Platinum certification on March 24, 2009. It reached over two million in sales in 2013, and has sold 2,219,000 copies as of February 2016.[2]

The song is part of the track list for Now That's What I Call Country.

"Stay" was voted the fourth greatest video of the decade on


"Stay" is a ballad of infidelity, taking the perspective of the mistress of a man who is cheating on his wife. It begins with the mistress's insistence that the man stay with her — even if his wife should call and ask where he is — because she (the mistress) is "so tired of being lonely". Although the man tells her that he will leave his wife for her, she refuses to believe him, telling him that "it's too much pain to have to bear / To love a man you have to share".

In the third verse, the mistress then changes her mind; according to Nettles, she (the woman in the song) "has her own sense of redemption and realizes she deserves more than being with someone who will never be fully hers".[3] This change is revealed in the final chorus.

In the song, Nettles' vocals are accompanied by Kristian Bush (Sugarland's other member) on acoustic guitar; unlike most other Sugarland songs, Bush does not sing harmony vocals. The only other instrumentation in the song is an organ, played by Bush's brother Brandon.[4]


"Stay", according to Nettles, was inspired by Reba McEntire's 1986 single "Whoever's in New England", a ballad in which a wife addresses her unfaithful husband.[1] After hearing the song, Nettles thought that it would be an original approach to take the perspective of the "other woman" (i.e., the mistress), as very few country songs had ever done so.[1][3] Once she decided to take that perspective, the song "practically wrote itself".[1] The melody is similar to the Lonestar song "I'm Already There."


"Stay" has racked up numerous awards for Sugarland and Jennifer Nettles, as a writer. Most notable has been at the 51st Grammy Awards where it won "Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal" and "Best Country Song". At the 2008 ACM Awards it won two awards for "Song of the Year" and "Single of the Year". At the 2008 CMA Awards it won "Song of the Year" and at the 2008 CMT Music Awards it won "Duo Video of the Year".

Music video

Directed by Shaun Silva, the video for "Stay," features Nettles & Bush performing the song in front of an all-black background. According to Nettles, "We wanted to keep the video simple, but still show emotion, so we decided to base the video on performance, and that's all."

Chart performance

Chart (2007–08) Peak
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[5] 2
US Billboard Hot 100[6] 32
US Billboard Pop 100 36
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[7] 48

Year-end charts

Chart (2008) Position
US Country Songs (Billboard)[8] 44

Ronan Keating version

Single by Ronan Keating
from the album Winter Songs
Released November 12, 2009
Format CD single, Digital download
Recorded 2009
Genre Pop
Length 4:36
Label Polydor
Writer(s) Jennifer Nettles
Producer(s) Stephen Lipson
Ronan Keating singles chronology
"This Is Your Song"
"It's Only Christmas"

In 2009, Irish pop singer and Boyzone frontman Ronan Keating released a cover version of the song as the lead single from his sixth studio album, Winter Songs. It was not an international hit like his previous singles, and his version of the song failed to make the Top 100 of the UK Singles Chart, peaking at #129 after one week on the chart.

Track listing

  1. "Stay" (Radio Edit) - 3:17

Chart performance

Chart (2009) Peak
UK Singles Chart 129


  1. 1 2 3 4 Roznovsky, Lindsey (2008-01-02). "The story behind Sugarland's "Stay"". Country Music Television. Retrieved 2008-01-11.
  2. Bjorke, Matt (February 23, 2016). "The Top 30 Digital Singles: February 22, 2016". Roughstock.
  3. 1 2 Gallagher, Pat (2008-02-11). "Story Behind the Song". Country Weekly. 15 (3): 64.
  4. Enjoy the Ride (Media notes). Sugarland. Mercury Records. 2006. B0007411-02.
  5. "Sugarland – Chart history" Billboard Hot Country Songs for Sugarland.
  6. "Sugarland – Chart history" Billboard Hot 100 for Sugarland.
  7. "Sugarland – Chart history" Canadian Hot 100 for Sugarland.
  8. "Best of 2008: Country Songs". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. 2008. Retrieved December 13, 2008.
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