“Today is a unique celebration of firsts,” said BMI Assistant VP Writer/Publisher Relations Clay Bradley as he greeted the noisy crowd. The event, held yesterday (5/15) in the Country Music Association’s atrium, was BMI and SESAC’s opportunity to salute the creative team behind Lee Brice’s No. 1 “A Woman Like You.”
Turns out Bradley wasn’t exaggerating. The hit single marks the first No. 1 for its writers Jon Stone, Johnny Bulford, and Phil Barton. It’s also Stone’s first No. 1 in the producer’s chair. And finally, it’s the elusive first No. 1 as a recording artist for Brice, himself a formidable songwriter who has scored No. 1s with Garth Brooks’ “More Than A Memory” and Eli Young Band’s “Crazy Girl.”
SESAC VP Writer/Publisher Relations Tim Fink noted that “A Woman Like You” was actually the first hit for Stone as a newly-minted SESAC writer. The origin of the song apparently involved an afternoon writing session and barbecue. “That’s the formula right there, barbecue,” joked Fink.
HoriPro’s Amy Hendon saluted Phil Barton, who has had numerous cuts for others and as an artist in his native Australia. “He’s changed my life, and I’m his biggest fan,” she said. “There’s hillbillies in Australia, y’all!” added HoriPro Sr. VP Creative Services Butch Baker.
Warner/Chappell VP Steve Markland was on hand to celebrate Bulford, and Paul Worley was there representing Stone’s publisher Skyline. Curb Records Chairman Mike Curb came in to honor his rising star Brice and the promotion team led by Adrian Michaels that pushed his song to the top.
Barton waxed excitedly about his time in Nashville. “It’s really the people you write with that make it such a magic place,” he said.
Bulford admitted that he was nervous about speaking to crowds. “My list of people to thank is in my phone, and my girlfriend took my phone,” he said. He also thanked the girlfriend, calling her his ‘woman like you.’ Aww.
Stone has a long background as a writer, but never scored a No. 1 until now (his “Me and My Gang” for Rascal Flatts fell just shy). “It’s only two feet high, but it’s taken me 13 years to climb it,” said Stone in reference to finally standing on the No. 1 stage.
Everyone involved was also quick to praise Lee Brice for his performance and ability to recognize a great song even though he didn’t write it. Brice was happy to throw praise right back to its creators.
“This song was written to the wall. Every word is perfect,” he said.