Carrie Underwood celebrated “Smoke Break,” her 22nd No. 1 song (12th as a songwriter) with an ASCAP and BMI-hosted soiree at Nashville restaurant The Sutler.
The song was co-written by Underwood (BMI), Hillary Lindsey (ASCAP) and Chris DeStefano (ASCAP). This is a back-to-back No. 1 for the writing trio, who also penned Underwood’s “Little Toy Guns.”
Among those honoring the tune were ASCAP’s Beth Brinker, BMI’s Jody Williams, BMG’s Chris Oglesby, Sony/ATV’s Josh Van Valkenburg, CMA’s Brandi Simms, CRB’s Bill Mayne, and Underwood’s manager Ann Edelblute (The HQ). Ron Cox of Avenue Bank announced a donation to Underwood’s C.A.T.S. Foundation.
“Smoke Break,” and the rest of the Storyteller project, was one of the first to be worked to radio under new Sony Music Nashville head Randy Goodman.
Goodman recalled the urgency and weight given to the project. “The third day I was at Sony, I get a call [from Ann Edelblute]. She said, as only Ann can do, ‘Do you know we have an album scheduled on October 23?’ And it was about July 15 at the time, which in record launch time is tomorrow. An hour later, I walked up the street [to Ann’s office], we sat down an immediately began listening to what became the Storyteller album. And it was both exciting and terrifying at the same time, because I’m new to this job, this is a new team, and we are going to launch if not specifically the most important record of the year for us, and it’s Carrie Underwood and all eyes are going to be on us and we wanted to do a great job. So it was one of those things that broke us all in in a quick and effective way.”
Goodman also took the time to emphasize Underwood’s songwriting talent. “One thing I always say, is that it’s great that she’s had 22 No. 1 singles, and great that she sold what she sold, and that’s important, but what I always try to say about Carrie is that this is her 12th No. 1 single that she’s actively been involved with as a writer. She’s such a phenomenal singer and she represents our format so well. She’s truly one of the treasures of country music, and while I’m talking about her being a great singer, if you haven’t cast your ACM votes yet, we covet those votes. At the same time, she’s also an incredible songwriter. I always want to bring that up, because I think that’s one of those things that goes under the radar because her ability as a vocalist and her ability as an entertainer, I think that’s where people gravitate to. I think all too often your songwriting ability is not recognized.”
DeStefano thanked his publisher, as well as Sony Music Nashville’s team, and his two co-writers. “I want to start by thanking my dear friend Hillary. She is one of the best songwriters ever. You are truly an inspiration. You are a dear friend, but I’m still intimidated to be in the room with you. She pushes me, and that’s a great feeling. Carrie, thank you so much, you are the best and an inspiration. It’s an honor to know you and call you a friend. You and Ann are an amazing team. Thank you for Ann for all you do.”
Lindsey was also quick to thank her co-writers, and recalled how the song was written. “Thank you to the beautiful sunny day we had that day, or we never would have walked outside. We wanted a break, and I remember sitting around her little fountain in her place in Leiper’s Fork. We were chillin’ and taking a break, and then Chris grabbed an acoustic, and we were like, ‘You know, let’s depart from that other song we were writing and jam on something new.’ So thank you God for the sunshine.”
Underwood summed up the event. “Hillary, I’ve known you for 10 or 11 years now, and it’s a pleasure and an honor, and I don’t know of anyone that I’ve written with consistently like I have with you, and we always come up with something awesome. Any time I hear your voice on a demo I get, I’m like, ‘Oh my gosh, it’s Hillary! Turn it up.’ It’s amazing and I look forward to many more. Chris, I haven’t known you as long but I feel like we’ve done a lot of writing together. This team is just so easy to be around, and even if we don’t come up with a No. 1 smash, I had fun. It’s nice to write with people that no matter what, you had a nice day. You are just killing it all over the place, so I look forward to seeing whatever else you are going to do here in Nashville. We’re glad to have you.”
She continued, “Ann and my HQ family, we’ve been together a long time too, and none of this would have happened without you, so thank you Ann and Allie and Jess and Lauren. I have the best team around me ever. To my Arista family, my amazing promo team. I’m thankful that there are so many people who are willing to believe in what we do and to push that and work that, and make sure people hear it. Thank you BMI and Jody, you have always been so good to me, and to ASCAP for hosting this party. All of our spouses and family members, thank you so much for supporting us and allowing us to do what we do, and watching the kids while we go and write. We couldn’t do it without you guys. I’m blessed and thankful. I’m happy to be celebrating another No. 1. It never gets old.”
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