At Music Biz, Nashville Publishers Offer Advice To New Songwriters, Praise PRO Efforts

Kos Weaver speaks during the 2016 Music Biz Conference. Photo: Music Biz

Kos Weaver speaks during the 2016 Music Biz Conference. Photo: Music Biz

Several music publishing heavyweights gathered Wednesday (May 18) during the Music Biz conference to discuss the evolving role of artist and songwriter development in the world of independent music publishing. John Ozier of ole moderated the panel Indie Publishing 2016: How Artist And Songwriter Development Is Changing The Independent Publisher. The panel included MusicSunk/LoudLab Ventures’ John Pisciotta, Wrensong’s Ree Buchanan, and BMG Music Rights Management’s Kos Weaver.

Much of the panel consisted of advice to rising singer-songwriters.

Buchanan stated that publishers typically first hear new songwriters through other industry contacts. She said, “Usually BMI or ASCAP will send them to me, or I might hear of a new talent through another publisher who perhaps can’t sign that particular artist-writer at the time.” She noted that she has signed a writer after hearing them through ASCAP’s GPS program, and has kept in touch with writers who have shown songwriting potential, and who have gone through such programs offered by the PROs.

Weaver agreed. “The PROs are a great place to do the workshops they offer, and they can give you an idea of where you are creatively.”

Ree Buchanan speaks during the 2016 Music Biz conference. Photo: Music Biz

Ree Buchanan speaks during the 2016 Music Biz conference. Photo: Music Biz

The publishers agreed that word of mouth and social media also have a strong influence on signings and on creating buzz around rising artist-writers, citing the success and publishing and label signings for Kane Brown, who amassed an impressive number of followers on social media before ever signing major deals.

“His management is a genius with social media marketing, and blew up those numbers almost single-handedly,” says Buchanan.

Weaver noted that information on new writers and artists flows freely through the offices, both domestic and international, of BMG Rights Management. As an example, he said that an employee in a non-creative department at his office was one of the first to advocate for the talent of Margo Price, long before she appeared on Saturday Night Live in April.

Ozier also touched on the growing power of the writer-producer in Nashville, as producers often produce songs they have co-written. “I’ve never seen it so camp-based in Nashville, ever. After 50 weeks, 20 of those weeks were controlled by five writers.”

John Ozier speaks during Music Biz 2016. Photo: Music Biz

John Ozier speaks during Music Biz 2016. Photo: Music Biz

“I’ve seen it come and go over the years,” said Weaver, “and it’s coming more now. Just the fact that someone with a laptop can make a great song, and in the co-write they start working on the production of the track. And now, artists use multiple producers on a record, much like pop.”

Regardless of the many avenues for songwriters and artists to break through in today’s music industry, all the participants agreed on the importance of work ethic, and constant writing.

Pisciotta said, “In the ’90s, Brett James couldn’t get arrested. He couldn’t get a cut but he kept writing. Then he ended up getting his first song cut, and he had that catalog of about 10 years worth of writing, which turned into something like 40-60 cuts over the next several months.”

Ozier offered his own story of songwriting success. “In 2011, we acquired a catalog that had a song from 2008 that had been co-written by Danny Green and a guy named Chris Stapleton, called ‘Fire Away.’ That song was written in 2008, but it made it onto Stapleton’s Traveller album, which sold more than one million copies.”

John Pisciotta during the 2016 Music Biz conference. Photo: Music Biz

John Pisciotta during the 2016 Music Biz conference. Photo: Music Biz



Artist Updates: Alabama, Craig Campbell, Martina McBride, Dolly Parton

Alabama Sets Record At Schermerhorn with Symphony

Pictured (L-R): Blake McDaniel (CAA), Alan D. Valentine (President and CEO, Nashville Symphony), Randy Owen, and Tony Conway (Conway Entertainment). Photo: HBPR

Pictured (L-R): Blake McDaniel (CAA), Alan D. Valentine (President and CEO, Nashville Symphony), Randy Owen, and Tony Conway (Conway Entertainment). Photo: HBPR

Alabama has earned the highest-grossing run in the history of the Schermerhorn Symphony Center with The Nashville Symphony Orchestra. After the performance on Saturday night (May 15), the band took time to commemorate the record-breaking shows backstage. Maestro Vinay Parameswaran directed the orchestra during the 90 minute sets. Special guests included Jamey Johnson and guitarist James Burton.

The Nashville performances kicked off the band’s 2016 Southern Drawl Tour, running through October in promotion of their new single “Come Find Me” from their BMG studio album Southern Drawl.


Craig Campbell Plans 4th Annual Cornhole Challenge

Craig Cambell. Photo: Jason Myers

Craig Cambell. Photo: Jason Myers

Red Bow Records artist Craig Campbell will host the 4th Annual Craig Campbell Celebrity Cornhole Challenge on Tuesday, June 7 from 1:00-3:00 p.m. near 5th Avenue and Demonbreun Street in downtown Nashville with fellow country stars Michael Ray, Canaan Smith and more to be announced. Open to the public, artists will be paired with fans that bid online for the chance to play with them and bid on additional auction items. Tickets and VIP opportunities will be announced soon. Following the tournament, Campbell will take the stage to perform for the annual Music City Gives Back concert. He is national spokesperson for the cause, which raises awareness and funds for colorectal cancer education, research and prevention. His involvement is in honor of his late father who lost his battle with the disease at age 36.


Martina McBride To Lead Five-City Tour For Sarah Cannon Global Cancer Institute

Martina McBride. Photo: Joseph Llanes

Martina McBride. Photo: Joseph Llanes

Martina McBride has been confirmed for a five-stop tour that will specifically support Sarah Cannon Fund at Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and Be The Match (operated by the National Marrow Donor Program) as part of Band Against Cancer, the collective initiative of Sarah Cannon, the global cancer institute of Hospital Corporation of America. The Sarah Cannon Tour with Martina & Friends will stop in three Texas cities (Dallas, Austin, San Antonio), as well as Denver and Nashville Information on tickets, dates, venues and supporting acts will be revealed in the coming weeks. “Just Around the Corner,” McBride’s forthcoming single from the newly released Nash Icon Records album Reckless, will serve as the official Band Against Cancer anthem.


Hallmark Channel Announces Full Week of Themed Shows at Dollywood

Pictured (L-R): Mark Steines Dolly Parton and Cristina Ferrare. Photo: Triple7PR

Pictured (L-R): Mark Steines, Dolly Parton and Cristina Ferrare. Photo: Triple7PR

Dolly Parton will host the Hallmark Channel’s Home & Family for a week of programming at Dollywood, starting Monday, May 30 for a series titled Home & Family: The Ultimate Dollywood Experience. Parton will host Mark Steines and Cristina Ferrare as well as the program’s lifestyle expert Debbie Matenopoulos, beauty expert Kym Douglas, medical expert Matt Iseman, family man Matt Rogers, fashion designer Orly Shani, DIY expert Ken Wingard and design expert Paige Hemmis to highlight theme park rides, shows, cooking and music.

Little Big Town Awarded Artist Of The Year At Music Biz Conference

Pictured (L-R): Jimi Westbrook, Karen Fairchild, James Donio, Philip Sweet, Kimberly Schlapman. Photo: Music Biz

Pictured (L-R): Jimi Westbrook, Karen Fairchild, James Donio, Philip Sweet, Kimberly Schlapman. Photo: Music Biz

Little Big Town accepted the Artist of the Year award from the Music Business Association at the annual Music Biz conference in downtown Nashville on Wednesday afternoon (May 18).

They received the all-genre award from Music Biz President James Donio. Although they did not perform, each member of the band had kind words to share for their business team.

“Thank you to Jim and Music Business Association. We’re so appreciative of this honor,” said Jimi Westbrook. “If there’s anything we know after our long journey as a band is how important it is to have an amazing team of people around you that share your passion and believe in you and work endlessly. And we are so blessed to have that. In the whole gamut of our world, we are surrounded by amazing people and we love you guys so much. That means so much to us.”

Little Big Town backstage at Music Biz. Photo: Music Biz

Little Big Town backstage at Music Biz. Photo: Music Biz

“Absolutely. Our quarterback on our team is Sandbox Management,” noted Kimberly Schlapman. “We have the best management company in town, pretty much. They changed our lives. Jason Owen, Bobby Simmons and Leslie Cohea are here, and Kelly Russell, and everybody at that office does everything for us. We’re so grateful. And O’Neil Hagaman—our business managers who pay our taxes, and then tell us we need to stop buying new shoes!”

“They’ve been around longer than anybody. They were with us many years and didn’t make a dime,” Westbrook interjected.

Pictured (L-R): Sam Hunt's manager Brad Belanger, James Donio. Photo: MusicBiz

Pictured (L-R): Sam Hunt’s manager Brad Belanger, James Donio. Photo: Music Biz

“Yes, thanks for being around,” added Phillip Sweet. “And nothing would be what this is without our road life and touring and Creative Artists Agency—Darin Murphy and our team. The amazing work that’s done arranging and figuring out schedules, and where to put us and what towns for us to play in … it’s mind-numbing to do the work you guys do, so thank you for working endless hours to make that possible. We just love playing live. It’s the connection that makes all this worthwhile. It’s incredible, so thank you.”

“Our label over here – Mike Dungan, Cindy Mabe, everyone at UMG. I don’t know what year this is together, that we’ve been putting music out. A long time. And thank you for letting us follow our every whim, and you always do. We just appreciate the team the hard work there. So thank you very much,” said Karen Fairchild.

“Nashville, you’ve been so good to us, and the writers here. We’re blessed to live in such a creative community,” she added. “Thank you for the gift of these wonderful songs and for collaborating with us. We love you very much and thank you for this great honor.”

Cheap Trick’s Rick Nielsen, Tom Petersson, Halsey, Cheap Trick’s Robin Zander. Photo: Music Biz

Cheap Trick’s Rick Nielsen, Tom Petersson, Halsey, Cheap Trick’s Robin Zander. Photo: Music Biz

Breakthrough Artist awards were given to alternative pop star Halsey and MCA Nashville artist Sam Hunt, who was unable to attend due to illness; his award was accepted by manager Brad Belanger.

The Chairman’s Award for Sustained Creative Achievement went to Big Machine Records artist Cheap Trick. During brief remarks at the podium, they thanked Scott Borchetta and Vector Management founder Ken Levitan for giving them a platform to continue working. Cheap Trick was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame this year and released a new album, Bang, Zoom, Crazy … Hello on April 1.

The Harry Chapin Memorial Humanitarian Award was presented to the T.J. Martell Foundation, accepted by CEO Laura Heatherly. The latter award was presented by Chapin’s widow, Sandy Chapin. A video speech from Tony Martell, who founded the organization in memory of his son, was screened as well.

TJ Martell

Pictured (L-R): Sandy Chapin, James Donio, Laura Heatherly. Photo: Music Biz

Music Biz Panel Examines Complex Fight For Streaming Revenue

Pictured (L-R): David M. Ross, David Raso, Photo: Music Biz

Pictured (L-R): David M. Ross, John Raso, Vickie Nauman, Lynn Morrow, Jim Griffin. Photo: Music Biz

The Music Biz hosted a panel titled Getting Paid: By Stream Or Market Share? on Tuesday afternoon (May 17) during its annual conference.

MusicRow founder and president of BossRoss Media David M. Ross joined a panel moderated by Jim Griffin, managing Director of Hazen, LLC and OneHouse. Additional panelists included Nashville attorney Lynn Morrow, Partner In Charge at Adams And Reese; Vickie Nauman, Principal and Owner of CrossBorderWorks; and John Raso, Sr. VP, Client Services at HFA/Rumblefish.

“Kenny Chesney and The Rolling Stones each earned $40 million in 2015,” said Ross, who noted streaming revenue made up less than one percent of those totals. “There’s no question in my mind that something is very wrong with the whole streaming situation. And those are just artists, how are non-performing songwriters going to make a living from what we have with streaming right now?”

Morrow also empathized with the songwriters.

“It’s very hard for songwriters to make a living in this town,” said Morrow. “The publishing side seems to have the most complexity. I’m fighting for the songwriters in Nashville–who are not the Kenny Chesneys that have various other income streams–who have a single income stream and don’t want to get an extra job at Home Depot. I care that it’s 15 or 20 percent that’s not being accounted for.

“When it comes to streaming, I’m very interested in having the songwriters get paid the money that is due to them. They own a copyright and there’s certain rights under the copyright act. One is the exclusive right to reproduce, and another is the public performance right. They assign those to the music publishers and count on them to get paid accurately for the songs that are streamed, downloaded, etc.”

“It is essential to come up with a new streaming business model to collect a larger pool of money,” Ross said. “How to distribute it is part two.”

As moderator, Griffin was able to explain various acronyms and legislation, offering remarkably insightful commentary and perspective to the complex subject for the audience. The hour-long panel continued with the panelists discussing HFA’s payments, industry audit rights, and the ineffectiveness of take-down notices.

To the latter point, Morrow said, “The other thing to note is it is very hard for these independent songwriters to afford to hire an attorney or litigator to bring particular copyright infringement actions. It is a very expensive course of action.”

She estimated the only likely course of action for independent publishers or songwriters would be to find a representative who would be willing to take the risk and roll the dice to waive an hourly rate to charge a contingency fee.

The ASCAP Foundation Hosts Songwriting Event At Library Of Congress

Pictured (L-R): Savan Kotecha, ASCAP President Paul Williams, Priscilla Renea, Brett James, MoZella, Brian McKnight, ASCAP EVP of Membership John Titta, Desmond Child, ASCAP CEO Beth Matthews, Randy Goodrum.

Pictured (L-R): Savan Kotecha, ASCAP President Paul Williams, Priscilla Renea, Brett James, MoZella, Brian McKnight, ASCAP EVP of Membership John Titta, Desmond Child, ASCAP CEO Beth Matthews, Randy Goodrum.

The ASCAP Foundation and the Library of Congress jointly held the eighth annual We Write The Songs event at the Coolidge Auditorium in The Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday (May 17).

As part of this event, ASCAP songwriters including Desmond Child (“Livin’ on a Prayer”); Randy Goodrum (“Bluer Than Blue”); Jennifer Higdon (“Our Beautiful Country” from Cold Mountain); Brett James (“Something in the Water”); Brian McKnight (“Back at One”); Monica (“Before You Walked Out of My Life”); MoZella (“Wrecking Ball”); and Priscilla Renea (“Somethin’ Bad”) donated manuscripts and lyric sheets to the library.

ASCAP Foundation President Paul Williams gave opening remarks, saying: “This evening is our way to say ‘thank you’ to our many many friends in Congress on both sides of the aisle. It’s a great honor to stand in front of you and recognize the one word we’re here to protect—copyright. Behind every composition is a story of how it came to be written. You’ll be hearing about that process tonight from the creators themselves.”

Co-writers Priscilla Renea and Brett James perform their hit "Somethin' Bad," recorded by Carrie Underwood and Miranda Lambert

Co-writers Priscilla Renea and Brett James perform their hit “Somethin’ Bad,” recorded by Carrie Underwood and Miranda Lambert

Music Health Alliance’s Tatum Allsep Named 2016 Health Care Hero

Photo: Tatum Allsep (Founder and Executive Director, Music Health Alliance) and husband, Dr. Michael Allsep. Photo courtesy Nashville Business Journal

Photo: Tatum Allsep (Founder and Executive Director, Music Health Alliance) and husband, Dr. Michael Allsep. Photo courtesy Nashville Business Journal

Music Health Alliance Founder and Executive Director, Tatum Allsep, was recently honored by The Nashville Business Journal as one of their 2016 Health Care Heroes.

Allsep received the Health Care Hero Advocate Award for the second year in a row, having been honored in 2015 as the first-ever advocate recognized as a Health Care Hero.

Music Health Alliance is music’s only non-profit resource for healthcare. The mission of Music Health Alliance is to heal the music by providing access to healthcare through free services that protect (health insurance), direct (confidential guidance) & connect (access to resources) music industry professionals with medical and financial solutions.

In three years Music Health Alliance has served 4,100 music industry professionals and their families, and secured over $10.8 million in health care cost reductions enabling access to doctors, medicine, health insurance and financial assistance from the beginning to the end of life for all genres of music across the nation.

Zac Brown Band To Be Featured In CMHoF Museum Exhibition

Zac Brown Band

The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum will explore Zac Brown Band’s rise to fame in Homegrown: Zac Brown Band, a career-spanning exhibition that opens July 22 and runs through July 2017. The exhibition will include stage wear, guitars, song manuscripts, photos and more from the band’s personal collection.

“It’s an incredible honor to have the history of our band captured by the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum,” says Zac Brown. “From day one, it has always been about connecting with our fans by writing songs that come from our hearts, performing at our best, and creating unique ways to engage with them beyond the stage. It has been a crazy journey, and we’ve grown as musicians, as performers, and as individuals. We thank our fans for all their support and hope they enjoy the exhibit as much as we do.”

“Zac Brown Band did not set out to be country music stars,” says museum CEO Kyle Young. “Instead they ignored genre restrictions and focused on creating upbeat and soulful sounds that resonated with fans. Fifteen No. 1 hits later, they are one of the most innovative groups in country music today. With this exhibition we will trace the band’s organic path to stardom that can only be described as ‘homegrown.’”

Formed in Atlanta in 2002, the band scored their first hit in 2008 with “Chicken Fried” and have been making radio history ever since. Eight members strong, the band’s lineup includes Zac Brown (lead vocals/guitar/piano/bass/banjo), Jimmy De Martini (violin/vocals), John Driskell Hopkins (banjo/guitar/vocals), Coy Bowles (guitar/keys/banjo/vocals), Clay Cook (guitar/keys/mandolin/vocals), Chris Fryar (drums/vocals), Daniel de los Reyes (percussion) and Matt Mangano (bass/vocals).

In 2015 their stadium tour made history with the first-ever, three-night sell-out at Fenway Park (105,000 tickets). Expanding their pre-show “Eat & Greet” ritual, the band has established the annual Southern Ground Music & Food Festival, an experience that allows Zac Brown Band to bring together their love of eclectic music and authentic food.

Over the years, the band has showcased their diverse musical tastes through collaborative performances with Gregg Allman, Jimmy Buffett, Chris Cornell, Dave Grohl, Alan Jackson, Bonnie Raitt, Bruce Springsteen and James Taylor, among many others.

Off stage, Brown, a former camp counselor, has devoted his time to launching Camp Southern Ground, a destination that will allow children to overcome academic, social and emotional difficulties so that they might reach their full potential. The state-of-the-art campus will have activities to challenge, educate and inspire campers, with a special emphasis on children with neurobehavioral disorders, social or emotional challenges, and those with family members serving in the military.

Music Biz Panels Focus On Fan Insights And Brand Partnerships

From left: Wayne Leeloy (G7 Entertainment Marketing), Brad Turcotte (Universal Music Group Nashville), Eric Scheirer (Bose), Megan Sykes (CAA), Jim Stabile (Vector Management), and Barry O’Connell (Marketing Professional) speak during the Brand & Strategic Partnerships Summit.

From left: Wayne Leeloy (G7 Entertainment Marketing), Brad Turcotte (Universal Music Group Nashville), Eric Scheirer (Bose), Megan Sykes (CAA), Jim Stabile (Vector Management), and Barry O’Connell (Marketing Professional) speak during the Brand & Strategic Partnerships Summit.

The Music Biz 2016 conference in Nashville continued Tuesday (May 17), with panels focusing on brands and strategic partnerships.

The panel titled Fan Insights & How They Fuel The Future of Brand Partnerships welcomed consultant Barry O’Connell, UMG Nashville VP Marketing Brad Turcotte, Director of Business Strategy for Bose’s Consumer Electronics Division Eric Scheirer, Vector Management’s Head of Strategic Marketing Jim Stabile, and CAA Music Partnership Agent Megan Sykes to discuss the art and science of aligning artists with brands for marketing and activations.

The panel was produced and moderated by G7 Entertainment Marketing’s Head of Brand Partnerships & Digital Strategy Wayne Leeloy.

Though panelists say brands look at an artist’s Nielsen numbers and social media numbers, they emphasize that large numbers of social media followers may cause brands to take notice, but it does not tell the whole story.

“Brands are trained to look not at the big number but the engagement numbers,” said Stabile.

“We care about what those people, those followers, will do and how to get them involved in our brands,” said Scheirer, who then offered advice he has heard: “Think of your followers as minions, not as followers. What can you get them to do?”

Turcotte advises artists seeking brand partnerships to lead with a story, not hard data. He also says to remain open to changing course.

He offered two stories of successful UMG artist-brand partnerships for Ram Trucks with Chris Stapleton and Ford trucks with Clare Dunn.

“In my pitch I do not let data drive the brand I contact or drive the story. I had put together a pitch for Chris [Stapleton] and Nissan trucks, based off the title track of Traveller. But in meeting with Chris, he said, ‘My song is not about a road trip, and I don’t drive a Nissan. I drive a Ram truck. “Traveller” is about something passed down from generation to generation.’ So the pitch became, ‘Tell us, Ram drivers, about what you passed down generation to generation.’ At that point, there was no data in the pitch to the company.”

He noted that the Ram truck campaign began in June 2015, before Stapleton’s career trajectory skyrocketed and his album sold more than 1 million copies after his performance with Justin Timberlake at the 2015 CMA Awards.

With Dunn, Turcotte took her passion for Ford trucks and took that story directly to the brand.

“She was playing Detroit and we took her to play for Ford representatives,” he said. “They wanted an EPK to send to staff, so I made my own and sent it.”

That EPK featured Dunn emotionally discussing about how she grew up using Ford trucks, from the family’s 1996 Power Stroke to her 2012 F-150 “Black Betty.”

After seeing the video, Ford’s social strategist reached out to say they wanted to reach more females and they thought it might be a good fit.

“They posted that video and it had 100K hits in 24 hours,” said Turcotte. “We put together a five-part series, and went to Clare’s ranch to show how she uses other Ford equipment. We are saving that for the album launch. It’s authentic. We still haven’t asked for any money. Ford has like have 5 million social fans, so it’s not always about money, it’s about reach.”

Scheirer advised artists to try to think in marketing terms, to find what message a particular brand is trying to get across to consumers, and how they can align with that message.

“We need to tell stories to rise above the competition. There are different kinds of stories. One might be, ‘Hey, we are Bose and we care about certain things and so do you.’ That’s like Chris and Ram. That’s the highest level of branding story. Or, it might be, ‘You’ve heard of Bose, but you don’t know about this new product.’ If we can engage a musician and show off a new product, that’s an angle. Another is ‘We love music and want to see rising musicians succeed. We can help move industry forward.’ If the music industry is succeeding, then that is more people who will potentially purchase our products. What is the story the brand wants to tell? Can you help them imagine a story the brand hasn’t told yet?

Later in the day, New Heartland Group’s Paul Jankowski spoke on the importance of brand building and cultural marketing. He has worked on campaigns with Blake Shelton, Jason Aldean, Brantley Gilbert, and more.

Jankowski, also the author of How To Speak American: Building Brands In The New Heartland and Speak American Too: Your Guide To Building Brands in the New Heartland, said that 60 percent of consumers reside in what he calls the “New Heartland,” which includes the Midwest, Southwest, and parts of the Southeast.

Paul Jankowski. Photo: Music Biz

Paul Jankowski. Photo: Music Biz

For New Heartland consumers, the keys to their culture are food, sports, music, outdoor activities and social activities.

He offered several statistics revolving around the values of these consumers. For example, they prefer college football to pro football by a two-to-one margin. For these sports fan, football becomes a generational piece to be passed down through families.

Additionally, they tend to hit life milestones earlier, including marrying earlier, and having children at earlier ages. They tend to listen to country music more often and are more politically conservative, when compared to consumers who live on either coast.

Among the other various speakers Tuesday were Nielsen’s Erin Crawford and Matt Yazge, UMG Nashville’s Doug Philips, FlyteVu’s Laura Hutfless, CD Baby’s Kevin Breuner, Live Nation’s Lauren Ryan, GLADD’s Zeke Stokes, Q Prime South’s Jessica Phelps, Sony/ATV Music Publishing’s Ted Goldthorpe, RIAA’s Josh Friedlander, Warner Music Group’s Jeff Stevenson, The Recording Academy’s Maureen Droney, and more.


LifeNotes: Emilio Navaira, Former Capitol Nashville Artist, Passes

Emilio album

Emilio Navaira, a Tejano superstar who crossed over into country music in the 1990s, died Monday, May 16. He was 53.

Emilio was born in San Antonio, Texas, on Aug. 23, 1962. His singles for Capitol Nashville included “It’s Not the End of the World,” which reached No. 27 on the country singles chart in 1995.

Although he charted five more singles for the label, none of them entered the Top 40. However he maintained a major presence in Tejano music for the remainder of his career.


Navaira’s son, Diego Navaira, is a member of the Warner Music Nashville group The Last Bandoleros.

Neil Portnow, President/CEO of The Recording Academy, stated, “Possessing one of the greatest voices in the history of Tejano music, Emilio Navaira was an icon in the genre. Both a Grammy and a Latin Grammy Award winner, he showcased his strong Texas roots in everything he did. From his relentless touring schedule to his impressive lyrics and signature sound, Emilio was beloved by many, and helped to shape an entire genre of music. Our creative community has lost a uniquely gifted talent, and our deepest condolences go out to his family, friends, and all those who had the privilege and honor of working with him. He will be missed.”

LifeNotes: Johnny Sea, Singer Of “Day For Decision,” Dies


Country artist Johnny Sea, best known for his “answer song” 1966’s “Day For Decision,” has died at age 75.

“Day For Decision” was the conservative country response to Barry McGuire’s massive protest-song pop hit “Eve of Destruction.”

After his singing career ended, Johnny Sea move to Texas to become a working cowboy. He passed away on Saturday, May 14, while working as a crop-duster pilot. His aircraft reportedly hit a wire on a cell-phone tower near West, Texas. He was living in Glen Rose, Texas at the time.

The singer was born John Allan Seay Jr. in Gulfport, Mississippi, in 1940. He was raised in Atlanta and began his career by winning talent contests and appearing on local radio.

His joined the cast of the Louisiana Hayride in Shreveport, Louisiana and debuted on the country charts with “Frankie’s Man Johnny,” a Top 20 hit in 1959. This is a folk song, reportedly based on a St. Louis honky-tonk incident of 1899.

In 1960, Johnny Sea also hit the Top 20 with a remake of the Jimmie Davis 1937 classic “Nobody’s Darling But Mine.” Sea returned to the Top 20 on the country hit parade in 1965 with “My Old Faded Rose,” which was co-written by June Carter and Johnny Cash.

Next came “Day For Decision.” Written by Allen Peltier, the single hit No. 14 on the country charts and also became a Top 40 pop hit.

Bobby Goldsboro wrote the follow-up single, “Nothin’s Bad as Bein’ Lonely,” but it was not a notable success. The singer reverted to his real name, Johnny Seay, but his chart career sputtered out in 1969. His 1968 song “Willie’s Drunk and Nellie’s Dyin’” reportedly led to a Life magazine article about the couple who inspired it.

Johnny Sea’s subsequent cowboy career commenced in Justiceville, Texas. His funeral will take place Saturday in Glen Rose.