Brett Eldredge and his dog Edgar, Ross Copperman and his toddler daughter Iris, and dozens of industry folks saluted “Drunk on Your Love” at BMI on Tuesday afternoon (Aug. 9). It’s the third No. 1 that Copperman and Eldredge have had together.
Warner Bros. Nashville Chairman & CEO John Esposito (a.k.a. Espo), BMI Executive Director Bradley Collins and Sony/ATV Senior Vice President of A&R Josh Van Valkenburg also took their turns at the mic.
During a loose and charming speech, Eldredge recalled his early years socializing with Copperman. “Six years ago we met, I think, and we couldn’t even get into an after-party for a songwriter event. We weren’t cool enough so we drowned our sorrows and also dreamed a little more,” he said. “I think it’s really cool to chase dreams with guys like Ross because he’s a real guy. He’s not in it chasing down money. I mean, he’s doing perfectly fine but he doesn’t care about that. He really believes in the music and believes in the art of what we do.”
Eldredge also thanked Espo. “We’re going to have several drinks together and celebrate this because we chased this down a long time ago at a dinner,” he said. “We were at F. Scott’s listening to jazz music, believe it or not, because we both love jazz. We met and I said, ‘This guy is the guy who’s going to take me somewhere my crazy head dreams of.’ This guy can take me to that place and we are well on our way, brother. I love you, man, and thank you.”
Eldredge also praised his friends at Sony/ATV. “You guys have helped shape me as a songwriter,” he said. “It’s really crazy the job you guys have to figure out: ‘Who is this guy going to work well with?’ These guys live in songs.”
He added, “They came to my place the other day and we all sat on the balcony and we looked out over the city. I remember walking down these streets in college drinking whiskey out of a water bottle with zero dollars in my bank account hardly, dreaming up what I could do. And now there are buildings all over the place and this town is growing from the music here and everything around it. And guys like this help build that, and help me have a career, and believe in these songs that also are the reason we’re here in this business. Never lose that, Nashville! Never lose that. That’s what we need.”
He closed his remarks by tipping his hat to his label’s A&R team, in particular Scott Hendricks, and by recalling the lean times with his family growing up.
“My mom and dad and my brother are here,” he announced. “You guys have been here way before we’ve had any of these kinds of parties. I remember auditioning for shows. We slept in a parking garage over here on couch mattresses, and didn’t sleep at all, just trying to sing in front of these judges for one minute. And try to make someone say, ‘OK, you’re going to be a star.’ If I had been told I was going to be a star at that point, I probably wouldn’t be here, so I’m glad I was told no a lot of times. You’ve got to be told no a lot, and you’ve got to have the people who believe it should be a yes sticking with you, and that’s my family.”
Wrapping things up, he thanked BMI, his label’s radio team and his band and crew.
“We’re gonna go party now! I couldn’t feel any better. Thank you to this whole town for really getting around me and my career, and Ross, and all the songwriters. This is a tough job. Anybody’s who’s trying to do it, I feel ya. I’m still chasing it down with you and it could stop tomorrow. But there’s always that belief. … You chase it and that’s what we’re doing. Cheers!”
Copperman preceded Eldredge at the podium and genially addressed the crowd by saying, “I look at this stage and I feel like we’re missing somebody. It’s hard to imagine that just the two of us made this whole thing happen—writing it, producing it together in a week and mixing it.”
He continued, “In 2012, when Brett came over to our old house in Bellevue, [my wife] Katlin was probably about 6 months pregnant with the girl you see today. We had a Chihuahua named Bella and Brett always used to put our Chihuahua on his head. We’d be writing the song and he’d be holding the Chihuahua on his head and sing, ‘I woke up…’ I’d say, “It’s getting weird man,” but it worked!”
Copperman thanked Eldredge, his wife, his publishers at Sony/ATV, Espo, and Warner Bros., the latter “for embracing these records me and Brett have made, these crazy little pieces of music we have put together. You guys have believed in them.”
Avenue Bank was not on hand to present a check, as is their tradition, but they did make a donation to Alzheimers Foundation of America. Country Radio Broadcasters Executive Director Bill Mayne spoke highly of the song’s achievements.
Van Valkenburg spoke about how Eldredge and Copperman “have profoundly impacted the progression of country music in the past few years. They’ve done so with integrity and balance.” He concluded his speech by commending the songwriters for not forgetting where they came from, and for appreciating the history of Nashville, and giving props to Warner Music Nashville.
With Copperman’s kid nearby, Van Valkenburg adjusted his “f” word to “freakin’” but Espo… well, he didn’t. But after rattling off a few statistics, Espo swelled with pride talking about Eldredge.
“We’re at the beginning of what’s going to be a very long ride, of an artist that’s going to be culturally important for a lot of decades, with a golden baritone that is just beyond soothing and magical.”
Espo then chatted about Eldredge’s upcoming Christmas album, recorded in New York City with a sizable string section and a horn section and rhythm section for good measure.
“Anybody here who really knows me knows that Frank Sinatra is the standard bearer for me. Frank’s three Christmas records aren’t as good as what Brett has recorded,” Esposito stated. “What I know is going to happen here is the world is going to find out he’s not just a great country singer. He’s a singer for the world.”
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