Music Row execs raised ’em up for Keith Urban last night (Sept. 16) at the Sutler Saloon as he celebrated his 18th No. 1 hit song. Co-hosted by BMI and ASCAP, the event celebrated the Musical Event of the Year CMA-nominated song and began the party with Urban playing a special performance of “Raise ‘Em Up” with co-writers Tom Douglas, Jeffrey Steele, Jaren Johnston, and producer Nathan Chapman.
BMI’s Jody Williams praised the co-writers, Urban and Eric Church on “creating one of the most memorable musical moments of 2015” and proclaimed Urban’s eighth album Fuse as the best and most progressive work of his career. He took time to applaud Urban’s accomplishments in giving back to the community. “I never miss an opportunity to mention how generous Keith is with his All For The Hall Benefit Concert. That effort has now raised over 2.5 millions dollars. Keith you are a blessing to the Nashville community.” He also congratulated Douglas on his eighth No. 1 hit and Jeffrey Steele on his eleventh No. 1.
Robert Filhart of ASCAP spoke of Johnston’s incredible work ethic to spend more than 300 days on the road and still find time to write hit songs such as this, celebrating Johnston’s sixth No. 1 hit.
Sony/ATV’s Abbey Adams took time to thank the entire Universal promotion team as well as a special thanks to Chapman for his time and passion he put into this song. “You had a special vision for this song and created a sonic masterpiece with Keith and Eric.” She also praised the songwriters on their craft. “It reminded me why a lot of us get into this business, and it’s for the music that moves us. It takes an amazing talent to write a song that can touch us and take us back to another time in our life. Thank you for sharing this with the world.”
3 Ring Circus’ Darrell Franklin and Casey Levasseur thanked Capitol and announced a special donation to the Integrative Life Center in each of the writer’s names.
Universal Music Group Chairman/CEO Mike Dungan spoke of how captivating and moving “Raise ‘Em Up” was for him. “I remember the first time I head this song and I was just frozen with this emotion I felt coming out of these lyrics and this groove. What an incredible statement about this shared spirit that all of us in America and the world hope to have.”
Ron Cox of Avenue Bank announced a proud contribution to the Alex LeVasseur Fund and CMA’s Brandi Simms presented the official No. 1 medallions and gave a special congratulations to Keith on his CMA nomination.
Holly Lane of the CRB was thrilled to announce that as of today, the song has reached a total of 797 million people through country radio. “I don’t think there’s any more dynamic and creative performers than Keith and Eric in the genre today and country fans love it.”
Church, who was not in attendance, provided a short video clip expressing his gratitude. “Keith, thank you for having me on this song, you absolutely did not need me on this song and I’m glad you wanted me on it. I’m very proud of it. Thank you to Tom, Jeffrey and Jaren, as a songwriter I recognize a great song, and that’s a great one. Especially thank you to Tom and Jeffrey for writing with Jaren, and keeping him off the streets. That’s always good help for society.”
Johnston, who exclaimed he’s been in five states in the last 15 hours, proudly thanked his co-writers on giving country music what it’s missing these days, that one lyric that hits you and turns the knife. “They say that parents love all their kids the same amount. I would say that’s bull shit. I love this baby a lot more than the other songs I’ve written, and I’m really proud of it.”
Douglas gave a special thanks to his wife, “I like to create things, my wife creates a life, so I can do what I love to do,” as well as a special thanks to the Sony family and the Universal promotion team.
Steele praised Urban for his correspondence on the song, and expressed what this song means to him. “To be a good songwriter you have to live, and these last few years I’ve lived.”
Lastly, Urban gave a special recognition to Justin Niebank and the late Mike Shipley for mixing the album. “Mike Shipley who was initially involved in starting the mix of this record, and didn’t get to fully finish the song the way we envisioned. My prayers go out to him and his family tonight.”
He also gave a loving shout out to wife, Nicole Kidman, who could not be in attendance, and discussed how much the song hit home with them. “It’s the most amazing feeling singing this song every night. Everybody is singling along and its the most beautiful thing because it’s why I do what I do. I want to make a connection. I want everybody to feel a part of something, and just come together as one and not be separate over any issues or anything. Just be as one, in one moment. if we could all just collectively agree on one thing for three minutes, then its a beautiful thing.”