Although by all accounts it was an unlikely success story, Cam and her ardent supporters gathered at BMI on Tuesday, March 1, to celebrate the No. 1 success of her breakthough hit, “Burning House.”
Cam co-wrote the song with Tyler Johnson and Jeff Bhasker, the latter of whom was unable to attend due to commitments in Los Angeles. BMI’s Jody Williams presided over the party and presented Epiphone guitars to Cam and Johnson.
Nearly everyone at the podium explained that a ballad by a female artist released in the summer didn’t stand much of a chance, yet the powerful song galvanized the staff of Arista Nashville to make it a hit. (Cam is signed in a joint deal with Arista Nashville and RCA Records in New York.)
Sony Music Nashville Chairman and CEO Randy Goodman spoke about how some No. 1 country singles don’t make much of an impact, but that “Burning House” was different in that regard. Goodman came on board at Sony in July 2015, shortly after the single was released to radio.
He explained, “Thank goodness I took the job after this single was released because I think historically having been in my position, if someone had said, ‘OK, we’re going to come with this single, it’s a ballad, it has no drums, we’re going to come in the summer, women are “tomatoes” in country radio’s eyes, let’s go get this,’ I would have said, ‘You’re out of your mind.’ And we wouldn’t be here today probably. Thank goodness I wasn’t there.”
He spoke extensively about Cam’s strong work ethic, as well as her successful Untamed album launch, a Grammy nomination and four ACM nominations.
“Sometimes songs impact and sometimes songs matter, and those are the ones that we really, really celebrate, and this is one that did. I am so humbled and proud to have been a part of it,” he continued. “I want to recognize the people from Arista who put a lot of great effort into this, because this was not at easy record to take to No. 1 at country radio.”
He concluded, “There was always a sense that this was a labor of love, or that it was a song of destiny, and that’s what kept driving us. What’s great about it is that it showed what was great about everybody on the staff, and it brought them together in a very special way. It was a great honor to see all of you do what you did. So, Cam, I’m so thankful I found you when I arrived at Sony Music. Thank God! I look forward to doing this many times over.”
CMA’s Brandi Simms, CMT’s Cody Alan, Country Radio Broadcasters’ Ashley Silver, and Avenue Bank’s Ron Cox also stepped up to recognize the song’s achievement. Sony/ATV’s SVP of A&R Josh VanValkenburg offered kind words about Bhasker, who is on the company’s roster.
Although they didn’t speak, Cam’s manager Lindsay Marias joined the group on stage, as did Pulse’s Scott Cutler, representing half of Johnson’s co-publishing deal with Creative Nation.
Earlier in the party, Creative Nation’s Beth Laird talked about the tight-knit bond shared by the musical team. For example, Johnson is engaged to Marias. Inspired by a line in the song (“I wish that we could go back in time…”), Laird presented the songwriters with handmade hourglasses, while others on the stage were given candles scented like a burning house, crafted by local company Ranger Station.
When Johnson took the mic, he grinned like a young boy and gave thanks to Cam, Marias, Creative Nation, Pulse, the studio musicians, and the A&R staff at Arista Nashville. “I feel like I got spoiled making this album because it was really properly A&R’d,” he observed.
At the end of the event, Cam (who did not have an outside publisher on the song) beamed as she addressed the industry audience.
“This is so cool. Thank you all for being here. I know so many of you have been a big part of this,” she said. “And especially to the promo team – you know firsthand that it takes a lot of early mornings, a lot of phone calls, a lot of no’s, [and] what it’s like to be actually a female artist. You have to work three times as hard to get something that’s just as deserving up there. I couldn’t have done that if you guys hadn’t believed in me three times as much as anybody else, and that means everything to me.”
After a round of applause, she gave thanks to Johnson, Bhasker, and Marias, and added, “I want to thank [Sony Music CEO] Doug Morris. When I went into his office for singing that song, he sang it back to me and said it was going to be a hit, and I didn’t quite believe him but he was right. I want to thank Bobby Bones and everybody at that show for taking a chance on playing it in the summer, which I know nobody wanted to do.”
She continued, “Country radio—for playing the shit out of it. It’s like a dream come true, and I know for some reason it’s not the easy thing to play a song that everyone says they like. It’s still not really intuitive like that. There’s a lot more to it, we’re learning. I really appreciate all the different small sacrifices that everybody made for this to get where this is at.”
She offered sincere thanks to the Sony staff, her band, her fiancé, and Creative Nation’s Beth and Luke Laird (“I feel like you are my step-publishers”).
“This is amazing and I don’t want it to end, but I feel like I have to give away the microphone,” she said with a laugh. “But thank you very, very, very much for taking a very personal song and I know it probably means something personal to you now too. That makes my heart so happy that it’s living in all of us now. Thank you very much.”
- Eric Church, Jeff Hyde Cheer Their “Record Year” At No. 1 Party - October 12, 2016
- IEBA Awards Salute Nashville Venues, Executives, Legends - October 12, 2016
- Exclusive: Troy Cartwright Finds His Focus On ‘Don’t Fade’ EP - October 12, 2016