ASCAP Celebrates William Michael Morgan’s First No. 1 Single

Pictured (Front row, L-R): SmackSongs’ Robin Palmer, Shane McAnally, William Michael Morgan, Trevor Rosen, Warner Music Nashville’s John Esposito, SmackSongs’ Robert Carlton. (Back row, L-R): ASCAP’s Mike Sistad, Old Gringo Music’s Chris Hunter, ASCAP’s Beth Brinker, producer Scott Hendricks, Rehits/Wrensong’s Ree Guyer, Universal Music’s Kent Earls and producer Jimmy Ritchey. Photo: Ed Rode for ASCAP. [Click photo to enlarge]

ASCAP celebrated the No. 1 status of Warner Bros. recording artist William Michael Morgan’s debut single, “I Met A Girl” at Nashville bar South on Monday, Jan. 30.

Released on Morgan’s November 2016 debut album, Vinyl, the single was written by Sam Hunt, Shane McAnally and Trevor Rosen. Although Hunt was not in attendance, the PRO’s event host Mike Sistad offered a statement about the MCA recording artist and ASCAP songwriter.

Pictured (L-R): Shane McAnally, William Michael Morgan, Trevor Rosen. Photo: Ed Rode for ASCAP.

ASCAP’s Beth Brinker offered lively remarks on behalf of Rosen, who has six No. 1s (seven if you count Canada), and the now GMR-represented McAnally, who has written and produced over 25 No. 1s. Brinker continued in her remarks for the artist, Morgan.

Hunt’s original publisher, Chris Hunter of Old Gringo Music, joined on stage but left remarks to UMPG’s Kent Earls, who extended sentements to Morgan, co-writers, Warner Music Nashville and song producers Scott Hendricks and Jimmy Ritchey.

“We’re honored to co-publish [“I Met A Girl”] with Chris Hunter,” said Earls. “Sam has penned four No. 1s as an artist and three for other artists. We look forward to giving him his trophy when we see him soon.”

Smack Songs Sr. VP, Project Development, Robert Carlton, spoke on behalf of McAnally.

“Those 25 No. 1s that Shane has been a part of have all happened in the last six years,” noted Carlton. “It’s hard for me to believe I’m saying it…I’d hate to see where this genre was without [him].”

“Putting out this song was against all odds in our format, unfortunately,” said McAnally. “[The producers] made a country record, and it resonated. I think we’re in for a big turn, and I think it’s because of William Michael Morgan. I’m really proud of this song because I wrote it with two of my best friends in the days we all had a lot of time to do that. I love this song and love [William Michael’s] record.”

Rosen’s co-publishers, Ree Guyer of Rehits and Robin Palmer of Smack Songs, also thanked the label and producers.

“We wanted to single out Kristen Williams and Katie Bright on the Warner Bros. promotions team,” remarked Palmer. “It’s unbelievable—but we would look at the ads once a week—it would be like one add a week. Everybody at the label kept telling us to hang in there, we’re going to get it.”

“52 weeks to get to No. 1,” recalls Guyer. “Trevor, Shane and Sam, congratulations. Your song endured. We’re so excited about this next year. Hopefully the No. 1s won’t take as long…”

“…Hopefully they will,” quipped Rosen. “Believe it or not, the song was on the charts long enough [that both of my publishers will] make a little bit of money off it.

“I remember emailing Scott and Espo to say, ‘Wow, Top 15. Thanks so much,'” continued Rosen. “He emailed back and said: ‘We’re not done yet!’ So thank you guys for your hard work. Being in a band now, I get to see the curtain pulled back and it really is amazing to see how much work goes into [a No. 1]. When they brought me in to hear the song for the first time I was surprised at how country it was, and how I loved it even more than the demo. It’s so nice to be a songwriter in this community. Thank you!”

Pictured (Front row, L-R): Warner Music Nashville’s Katie Bright (National Director, Radio & Streaming) and Lisa Ray (VP, Head of Brand Management), William Michael Morgan, Warner Music Nashville’s John Esposito (Chairman & CEO) and Cris Lacy (VP A&R), Shane McAnally and Trevor Rosen; (Back row, L-R): Warner Music Nashville’s Chris Palmer (VP Radio & Streaming), Peter Strickland (CMO), Scott Hendricks (EVP A&R), Chad Schultz (VP, Original Content & Radio Marketing) and Mallory Opheim (Mgr., Regional Radio & Streaming). Ed Rode for ASCAP. [Click photo to enlarge]

Morgan introduced his newborn daughter, Presley, for her first trip to Nashville during his turn at the mic.

“I’m a grown man and feel like I’m about to tear up here,” confessed Morgan. “Thank you to my management Joe Carter and Mike Taliaferro. They were the first people besides my parents to believe in me, and support me in this crazy dream of mine.

“Thank you to my fiancé, Jennifer Wayne. It’s been a crazy ride so far and she’s been with me for a good bit of it….Thank you lord. If you keep on leading me, I’ll keep following.”

President/CEO of Warner Music Nashville, John Esposito remarked, “This was a particularly interesting ride—58 freaking weeks. Well, it says here 49 weeks at MediaBase. To Kristen and Katie and the entire promo team, you never wavered one second—it was worth the effort. Besides the fact that song had a birthday…total airplay audience is 1.01 billion!”

Also taking mic time to honor the achievement was Lon Helton of Country Aircheck, Bill Mayne of CRS, and Brandi Simms of the CMA.

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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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