"The fact Mindy heard it at a writers' night and wanted it—artists don't usually walk up to you and say they're gonna do it," Nashville songwriter Courtney Dashe exclusively tells E! News. "Usually it goes through a million ranks...Someone usually passes it. There are a million degrees to get a song recorded."
McCready seeing it "was a fluke encounter," Dashe says.
Dashe recalls performing at a songwriters' night at the Indigo Hotel in Nashville a few years ago, when she looked out in the audience and thought, "Is that Mindy McCready watching my writers' night?"
"She had been one of my childhood idols," says Dashe. "The fact that she came up afterwards...The song had clearly impacted her and she was sitting there with tears, telling me she had to do the song, saying, ‘I have to record that song. That's about my life. What's going on with that song?'"
Dashe says she told McCready that "I'll See You Yesterday" was on hold for Underwood, but if the American Idol winner passed (which she later did) it was all hers.
McCready recorded it a few months later, Dashe says, but "I never got to hear it until this past weekend. Basically it's been in her hands for the past two years. I never knew if she was planning on releasing it and I was dying to hear it. I really just wanted to hear it and I knew it meant a lot to her and she had meant a lot to me as an artist."
McCready, who died of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound on Sunday, in fact had recently given the song to her friend Danno Hanks to work on a video and get the tune out in the wild. Her late boyfriend, David Wilson, produced the track. The video that Hanks posted to YouTube on Sunday features a montage of photos of McCready and Wilson, who died Jan. 13, also in an apparent suicide by gunshot.
"It's got a whole new meaning now and it's a shame," Dashe said of the wistful tune. "I'm glad she was able to record the song."
Dashes calls the original message of the song "positive," about "a relationship that was ending, to say to the significant other ‘I don't like where we are now and I'll remember the good things.'"
"That's why Mindy originally identified with it," the writer says. "Maybe in her life she had had a lot of times she wished things didn't happen so she wanted to remember the good times. When I met her, she was in a positive headspace and wanted to move on and just take the good parts."
"After this whole chain of events," Dashe concludes, "it seems like she's saying, ‘Remember me for the good things and not bad things'...I am hoping that is what she was trying to do and the song helped her. It's a shame it couldn't help her enough...At the time the video appeared to me it seemed to be something to honor her boyfriend...Now it seems it was more than that."