Cole Swindell And Songwriters Celebrate Grammy-Nominated Hit “Break Up In The End”

Pictured (L-R, back row): KP Entertainment’s Kerri Edwards, Big Machine Music Publishing’s Mike Molinar, UMPG’s Travis Gordon, BMI’s Leslie Roberts, Warner Music Nashville’s John Esposito, ASCAP’s Beth Brinker, producer Michael Carter and Sony/ATV’s Josh Van Valkenburg. (L-R, front row): BMI songwriters Chase McGill, Jessie Jo Dillon and Cole Swindell and ASCAP songwriter Jon Nite. Photo: Steve Lowry

It was only appropriate that when Cole Swindell celebrated his heartbreaker No. 1 last night (Feb. 6), it came a downpour in Nashville. The party for the Grammy-nominated “Break Up In The End,” written by Chase McGill, Jessie Jo Dillon and Jon Nite, was thrown by ASCAP and BMI at The Cowan at Topgolf, and was filled to the brim with friends and fans of Swindell’s and the writers. Producer Michael Carter was also in attendance to commemorate his eighth No. 1 as a producer.

BMI’s Executive Director, Creative, Leslie Roberts, served as the host for the rainy but heartwarming night. She made sure to make the crowd aware right away that “Break Up In The End” is BMI writer McGill’s second No. 1 and Dillon’s first.

“To say that Chase is on a roll is an understatement,” Roberts said. “Obviously Chase is extremely talented, but if we look back at all of his accomplishments, the common thread is the perseverance, determination and work ethic that he has had his whole life.”

“I don’t remember not knowing Jessie Jo,” Roberts said. “We all work with so many writers and we hope they all achieve the success they dream of, but with Jessie Jo, specifically, I pictured this moment in my mind. What the song would be, who the artist would be, and of course, what would she be wearing? And here we are today; ‘Break Up In The End,’ Cole Swindell and yes, you look amazing Jessie Jo,” she said with a laugh.

Roberts also presented Dillon with her Taylor guitar, as per BMI tradition.

Roberts also commended Swindell for  his success, with “Break Up In The End” being his eighth No. 1 single as an artist. She was also the first of many that commended him for cutting an outside song.

“[Cole] has had numerous songwriting awards,” she said. “In 2014 he was the MusicRow Breakthrough Songwriter of the Year, in 2016 he was NSAI’s Songwriter/Artist of the Year, and he has received the CMA Triple Play Award, which is such a hard thing to do.”

Roberts then turned the microphone over to ASCAP’s Nashville Creative Manager, Beth Brinker. Brinker immediately thanked Andrew Kintz and First Tennessee Bank for their support.

“It is my honor to get to talk about Jon Nite,” she said. “ACM and CMA Award-winning, Grammy-nominated, Jon Nite. You’ve been an ASCAP family member the entirety of your career, it means so much. You give so much of yourself. Now as a publisher, as a co-writer, as a friend, you are a tremendous talent. It speaks volumes to hear what Cole did after hearing your work tape. What you do is incredible.”

“I’m also honored to get to talk about Mr. Michael Carter,” Brinker continued. “I’ve known Michael Carter a very, very long time and one thing about him that has never changed—maybe his hair, you’ve got great hair,” she quipped. “His work ethic is tried and true, I think anybody that knows Michael Carter will say that about him. We are honored to celebrate with you.”

Big Machine Music’s General Manager Mike Molinar was on hand to celebrate Dillon’s first No. 1. He took time to thank Warner Nashville, their radio promotion staff, KP Entertainment, the songwriters, Carter, and more.

“Cole, thank you for cutting outside songs,” he said. “You don’t have to. Thank you for being willing to be so vulnerable on this track and making your truth, everybody else’s truth.”

Molinar also had almost poetic words to say about Big Machine Music writer Jessie Jo Dillon.

“Someone who is brave enough to live, someone who is unafraid to love too much, unafraid to live too hard and unafraid to speak too honestly,” he said. “Whether it is in literature, her own writing or in her real life, she values those extremes. She has no time or patience for anybody that wants to live in the middle of the road. She writes for and about people that don’t want to stand on the sidelines. ‘Break Up’ is the first of many No. 1’s Jessie Jo will write.”

He went on to thank the staff at Big Machine Music, singling out Vice President, Publishing Alex Heddle, who handles day-to-day for Dillon, and Becca Walls, Manager, Content and Host for Big Machine Radio.

Travis Gordon, UMPG’s Senior Creative Director, was excited to speak on McGill’s success and character.

Gordon raved about McGill’s success, saying, “For 101 weeks, Chase has had a song on the Country Airplay chart, he’s had 40 major label cuts, and was on MusicRow‘s Top 100 Songwriters of 2018, coming in at No. 7.”

He then told a story about receiving a glowing text from a publisher at a writing retreat about McGill’s work ethic; a theme becoming popular in discussions about McGill.

Gordon also recognized Warner Nashville’s Cris Lacy and Swindell’s manager Kerri Edwards for all their hard work.

Warner Nashville’s John Esposito was there to deliver his always entertaining remarks about Swindell and the hit.

“Some things that I think are pretty amazing are in the U.S., ‘Break Up In The End’ reached an Airplay audience of over 800 million and it achieved over 1.1 million track equivalent sales. That would be Platinum, including 140 million on-demand streams.

“And the good news is,” he quipped. “It’s still streaming 3 million a week and doing the equivalents of 20,000 tracks a week [sold]. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.”

Esposito relayed that Swindell is the only solo artist in Country Aircheck history to top the charts with his first seven singles; and he now has number 8. He also presented Swindell with his Gold certification plaque, and assured that his Platinum plaque is on the way.

“I see my Warner family out there—thank you—I appreciate that everybody thanks you but I want you to know that from the bottom of my heart,” Esposito said. “We knew that we had to deliver this song because this song was too important.”

Pictured (L-R): Chase McGill, Jessie Jo Dillon, Cole Swindell, Jon Nite. Photo: Steve Lowry

Sony/ATV’s Josh Van Valkenburg was on hand to speak on behalf of Nite and Carter.

“Jon will call me from time to time after a write and he will say, ‘Oh man, we wrote a hit today, we wrote a smash,’ or bomb or fire or whatever it is,” he joked. “But I will say that [Jon] called me right after the session and said something [and he’s] only said it once, he said, ‘I think I might have written the best song of my career.’ And you were right, this is going to be one of the best songs of your career.

“I know I’m repeating things people have already said,” he continued. “But [Swindell] has created this career of integrity where you’re not scared to cut the best song. The best song wins. The truth is, you’ve written 10 No. 1 songs. You’re a killer songwriter, but if you hear one that’s special, it doesn’t matter if you’re name is on it or not. Thank you for that.

“Michael Carter, one of the beautiful men of the music industry,” Valkenburg continued with a smirk. “This is not a song that would be easy to produce. It’s perfect and there’s a reason why everybody gets chills the first or the most recent time they’ve listened to it. Congratulations, man.”

Brandi Simms of the CMA was on hand to provide Swindell and the songwriters with their CMA No. 1 medallions.

Producer Carter was grateful to have success with the group.

“Everybody up here is among the best people you’ll ever want to meet and be around and work with,” he said. “For me, this is a chance to say thank you to Cole, say thank you to Warner, and Kerri, and thank you to the writers for sharing this with Cole. This song is unreal.”

Carter then passed the mic on to the man of the hour.

“I’m going to go ahead and go because this is y’all’s day,” Swindell said to the writers.

“I know what songs have done for me at an early age all through college,” he continued. “That’s how I started my career, writing songs. I was lucky enough to get some recorded and ended up getting a record deal. Having my eighth No. 1, the most special one and the first one I didn’t write and I wouldn’t have it any other way because I know what it’s like to have somebody believe in a song that I wrote. This is why you move to Nashville, to write songs like that. This one is going to be around for a long time.

“Chase, Jon, Jessie Jo,” he continued. “Thank you for sharing this song with me. I am not the biggest name out there that could have had this song but I thank God that I got it. When you write a great song, it’s a great feeling; but when you hear a great song that you wish you would have written and know other people could have had it, that’s the most special feeling to me.”

Swindell thanked Carter, Kerri Edwards and KP Entertainment, his band on the road, Sony/ATV, BMI and ASCAP and Warner Music Nashville.

McGill thanked his family and raved about Travis Gordon.

“He can take an iPhone tape and turn it into a Grammy-nominated No. 1 song,” he gushed.

McGill went on to thank his co-writers and Swindell. “Every cut is special but I take it a little more seriously when you cut an outside song,” he said. “You don’t have to. I will always consider you a writer first.”

“The day we got done writing this, I was scared to death,” Jon Nite said. “At midnight after about three or four whiskeys, I sang this work tape and I was scared. I was like I love this; I feel like this is our lives and I want people to hear it and I’m scared they won’t. Without Cole and without Michael, without the amazing Warner radio team, nobody would hear this without you guys.

“There’s nothing better than to be in the room with these people,” he continued. “Just picking you up by your bootstraps.”

The whole room clapped and hollered when it came time for Jessie Jo Dillon to speak. Emotional with pride for her first No. 1, Dillon thanked a multitude of people. “It takes a village and a vineyard,” she joked.

“All I’ve ever wanted was to write a song as good and real as one on a timeless country record,” she said. “Like songs of my dad, Dean Dillon, Bob McDill, Craig Wiseman, Matraca Berg, Bobby Braddock, we could go on forever.

“The night ‘Breakup’ went No. 1, my dad texted me and said, ‘This song is something to be proud of. From this point forward, don’t let anyone ever tell you again that country music as we know it is gone. Because you all are keeping it alive. Keep carrying the torch.’ It meant a lot to me.

“Out of all the songs I’ve written, this song that I share with Chase, Jon, Cole and Michael, is the one that I would pick every time to be first No. 1 song. This song means the world to me. It represents for me all I’ve ever wanted to do with songwriting; provide a little solace, a little ‘hey dreamer, you aren’t alone out there,’ a little honesty, a little I’d love you all over again, my best and worst mistake.”

Immediately following the No. 1 party celebration,  Swindell opened the doors to hundreds of fans, who started lining up outside The Cowan in at 11 a.m. in the pouring rain, to join the industry crowd of songwriters, tastemakers, friends and media who stayed for the official launch party hosted by Sugarlands Distilling Company to celebrate Swindell’s line of moonshine and his new flavor, Pre Show Punch. Pre Show Punch is the followup of his Peppermint moonshine released in late 2018.

Cole Swindell. Photo: Thomas Heney


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LB Cantrell is Project Manager at MusicRow magazine. She heads up specific, large-scale projects for the company and assists in day-to-day tasks. LB also manages the MusicRow Top Songwriter Chart and contributes editorial for both the print and online platforms. She joined MusicRow full time in January of 2019, after interning and working part time for the company for a year. She is from Blairsville, Georgia and graduated from Middle Tennessee State University with a Music Business degree in 2018.

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