Keith Urban Celebrates No. 1 “Wasted Time” Atop Nashville’s New Westin Hotel

Pictured (L-R): BMI’s Jody Williams, ASCAP’s Mike Sistad, BMG’s Sara Knabe, Greg Wells, Keith Urban, JHart, SESAC’s Shannon Hatch and Universal’s Kent Earls. Photo: John Russell.

Pictured (L-R): BMI’s Jody Williams, ASCAP’s Mike Sistad, BMG’s Sara Knabe, Greg Wells, Keith Urban, James Abrahart, SESAC’s Shannon Hatch and Universal’s Kent Earls. Photo: John Russell.

Keith Urban celebrated his 21st No. 1 single, this time for the title “Wasted Time,” on Tuesday, Nov. 15. The gathering was hosted by three PROs: ASCAP, BMI and SESAC, respectively representing songwriters James Abrahart, Urban and Greg Wells.

Located on the 27th top level of Nashville’s recently opened Westin Hotel, overlooking 360° of Nashville. The altitude of the hotel was a fitting place for Urban’s storied success to be recognized, albeit window cleaning rigs were suspended from the roof and sounds of jackhammers and drills in the background.

“I remember the first time I came here in 1989,” recalled Urban.“It’s amazing how the city has grown. Like where the BMI building is now, looking at all the buildings around it, I was thinking if you haven’t been here in a few years your first thought would be, ‘Did they move the BMI building closer to town?’”

View of Nashville's Gulch and Music Row from the Westin. Photo: Bev Moser/Moments by Moser

View of Nashville’s Gulch and Music Row from the Westin. Photo: Bev Moser/Moments by Moser

Urban’s co-writers on the song each celebrated their first No. 1 on country radio despite substantial success in outside genres. Los Angeles-based Wells has produced and written for the likes of Adele, Katy Perry, Pharrell Williams and more. Los Angeles/Atlanta/Nashville-based Abrahart, who was referred by his nickname JHart, has worked with artists including Jusin Bieber, Jason Derulo and Usher.

“Nashville is growing because of artists like Keith and songs like ‘Wasted Time,’ said Sara Knabe on behalf of BMG’s work with Wells. “That’s the reason people come here and are moving here, and the reason we have this building. Greg is based in our L.A. office, and its his first trip to Nashville and he has a killer week of writes. We’re honored to have you here and want to work with you as much as you want to be here!”

Universal Music Publishing Group Nashville’s Kent Earls also spoke on behalf of Abrahart and Urban. Each publisher met their Los Angeles writer just one hour before the event.

ASCAP’s Mike Sistad, SESAC’s Shannan Hatch and event host/BMI’s Jody Williams all spoke. As with the publishers, the two former PRO reps remarked on only recently meeting their respective writers, Abrahart and Wells. Each offered an open open door invitation for continued success in Nashville.

“There’s nothing like a Keith Urban No. 1 Party,” said Williams of his writer. “They’re more of everything—so special and great-feeling.”

For the label, Universal Music Group’s Mike Dungan credited many staffers for the success of the two-week No. 1 and offered praise for Urban’s diligence in delivering Ripcord as a whole album.

“It’s honestly one of the best records I’ve been associated with, and I am old—I’ve been doing this a long time! It’s a two-week No. 1 and the third No. 1 single from this album,” said Dungan.

Pictured (L-R): James Abrahart, Keith Urban, Greg Wells. Photo: Bev Moser/Moments by Moser

Pictured (L-R): James Abrahart, Keith Urban, Greg Wells. Photo: Bev Moser/Moments by Moser

The writers expressed surprise at the No. 1 recognition and gratitude for Urban’s graciousness.

“This is my first big country song,” said Abrahart. “I grew up in Atlanta and always had such a deep respect for country music and jumped at the opportunity to work with Keith when Greg brought it to me. Keith is a true example of what a legendary artist is. It’s rare to have an artist that gives credit and doesn’t take credit.” Abrahart went on to note of Urban’s graciousness in mentioning the names of his co-writers at concerts.

Wells added, “There’s a downside [to working with Keith], it kinda wrecks working with any other artist. It’s so spoiling. No ego. I think he could be famous for his guitar playing alone. As a Canadian living in Los Angeles, I’ve felt a warm welcome [from Nashville]. I love that you value songwriting. It’s heartening to see this [party]. It’s unique, it doesn’t happen in LA, I’ve had other successes and we’ve never had a party for any of them. Thank you very much!”

Audience looks on during "Wasted Time" performance. Photo: Bev Moser/Moments by Moser

Audience looks on during “Wasted Time” performance. Photo: Bev Moser/Moments by Moser

Urban gave the final word, noting the privilege of recognizing his team members behind the scenes.

“Nashville is unique. It’s a beautiful thing because it’s always been about the song. The writers matter. I get to stand on stage and witness the reaction to a song. Everyone behind the scenes doesn’t get to see or feel that or certainly the acknowledgement their creativity deserves. That’s why I love these parties, because it’s a team effort.

Urban thanked his label and detailed how his early years in Nashville prepared him for his current success.

“Nashville and Music Row has given me the foundation to be able to go to a studio in L.A. and meet these two guys who I’ve never written with…and be creative with them immediately. It’s really an extraordinary gift. I love songwriting and making records. I feel really blessed to be in this town. It’s rare these moments happen and they matter.”

The CRB, Pinnacle Bank and CMA were also in attendance to present accolades.

Nashville Westin's view of the Tennessee Tower from the pool. Photo: Bev Moser/Moments by Moser

Nashville Westin’s view of the Tennessee Tower from the pool. Photo: Bev Moser/Moments by Moser

 

Nashville Westin's Northwest view. Photo: Bev Moser/Moments By Moser

Nashville Westin’s Northwest view. Photo: Bev Moser/Moments By Moser

 

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Nashville Westin’s view above the Music City Center, towards downtown. Photo: Bev Moser/Moments by Moser

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Eric T. Parker oversees operations and contributes editorial for MusicRow's print magazine, MusicRow.com, the RowFax tip sheet and the MusicRow CountryBreakout chart. He also facilitates annual events for the enterprise, including MusicRow Awards, CountryBreakout Awards and the Rising Women on the Row. [email protected] @EricTParker

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