Monday afternoon (Sept. 23) BMI and ASCAP celebrated Brett Eldredge’s No. 1 hit “Don’t Ya” in Nashville restaurant Cabana’s stylish back room. Written by Eldredge, Chris DeStefano and Ashley Gorley, “Don’t Ya” is published by Out of the Taperoom Music, Sugar Glider Music Publishing, Combustion Music Publishing, Sony/ATV Music Publishing, Warner/Chappell Music and Paris Not France Music.
BMI’s Bradley Collins welcomed the standing room-only crowd, congratulating the writers and presenting Eldredge with a coveted No. 1 guitar. Collins listed the singer’s numerous accomplishments, including his stint on Taylor Swift’s RED Tour and his bold decision to skydive when “Don’t Ya” reached No. 1.
ASCAP’s Ryan Beuschel came onstage to honor the three writers, calling DeStefano and Gorley “one of the hottest songwriting duos” in the business today, with songs recorded by Carrie Underwood, Billy Currington, Luke Bryan and more. Beuschel also prophesied that Gorley will be named ASCAP’s 2014 Songwriter of the Year.
Combustion Music Publishing’s Chris Farren and Sony/ATV’s Josh Van Valkenburg took the stage to present awards and celebrate each writer. Van Valkenburg commented on DeStefano’s tireless work ethic before turning to Eldredge and saying, “If the time ever comes when you don’t want to be an artist, you’ll have a lifelong career as a songwriter.” Warner/Chappell Music Publishing also paid tribute to the writers with special plaques.
The party included presentations from Country Radio Broadcasters’ Michelle Kammerer and CMA’s Brandi Simms. Avenue Bank’s Cooper Samuel was also present to announce that a donation had been made by Avenue Bank in the writers’ names to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America.
Warner Music Nashville President and CEO John Esposito showered praise on Eldredge, the first artist he signed upon moving to Nashville, saying, “He has that unbelievable unique style of phrasing that makes the song his. I’m blessed to have one of the greatest vocalists I’ve ever heard on our roster.”
DeStefano and Gorley took the stage to express their gratitude and thank their families. “Thanks for never thinking that songwriting isn’t a real gig and asking me to get a real job,” said Gorley, who was celebrating his eleventh No. 1.
Finally, Eldredge boomed his appreciation through the microphone, saying, “Let’s tell some stories. This is very surreal to me right now.” He shared stories from his early days, like sleeping on the roof of a parking garage before an audition and dropping off demo CDs with his family. He also commented on Nashville’s community, saying “This town sticks together like a family and I hope it never changes.” The singer will kick off his Bring You Back tour on Oct. 3 in Oxford, Ohio.
As the celebration died down, partygoers snacked on pizza and drinks while late afternoon turned to early evening.