Thomas Rhett Celebrates Two Chart-Toppers: “Look What God Gave Her” And “Sixteen”

Pictured (L-R, back row): The Valory Music Co.’s Athena Puharic, Adams Burnes and Brooke Nixon, Big Machine Label Group’s Scott Borchetta, The Valory Music Co.’s George Briner, Christy DiNapoli and Chris Palmer; (L-R, front row): co-writers Sean Douglas, Joe London, John Ryan, Thomas Rhett, Rhett Akins, Julian Bunetta. Photo: Brett Carlsen/Getty Images for BMI

Just days ahead of his sold-out Bridgestone Arena stop on his Very Hot Summer Tour, Thomas Rhett made time to celebrate two No. 1 songs with his co-writers on Wednesday (Oct. 9) on the BMI rooftop. Rhett and his co-writers Sean Douglas and Joe London celebrated “Sixteen” from Rhett’s 2017 album Life Changes, and his co-writers Rhett Akins, Julian Bunetta, John Ryan, Jacob Kasher and Ammar Malik toasted “Look What God Gave Her” from Rhett’s 2019 project Center Point Road.

Malik and Kasher were not able to make the party, but co-producers Dann Huff and Jesse Frasure were both on hand to celebrate.

The party was led by BMI’s Spencer Nohe.

Nohe let the audience know that “Look What God Gave Her” is Rhett’s thirteenth No. 1 hit, and that Center Point Road is the only country album to debut at the top of the Billboard 200 in 2019. He then quickly invited BMI’s Leslie Roberts to speak.

“I first met Thomas Rhett almost ten years ago today, when his dad brought him in to get him signed up to BMI. I don’t think at that time we had any idea how his career was going to unfold. Over the past decade I have loved to be able to see him hit so many life-changing milestones,” Roberts said.

Roberts let the audience know that “Sixteen” writers Rhett, Douglas and London also co-wrote Rhett’s huge hit, and BMI 2016 Song of the Year, “Die A Happy Man.”

She also announced that “Look What God Gave Her” is Ryan’s first country No. 1, and Bunetta’s second.

“Nobody tells a story like Rhett,” Roberts said of Akins. “That’s why he’s received seven CMA Triple Play awards, he’s been BMI’s Songwriter of the Year not once, but twice, he’s had a country song on the chart [every day] for eight years, he was just awarded the ACM Songwriter of the Decade, and today we are celebrating 30th No. 1 single.”

Nohe announced that Pinnacle Bank had made a donation to Love One International in honor of the No. 1 songs.

Big Deal Music’s Pete Robinson stepped up to talk about Bunetta, Ryan and London on behalf of Big Deal and Big Family.

“We love these guys and we’re so proud to be a good stewart to their music and their songs. They’re an amazing bunch of cats, and when they come to town, they’re really engaged in the town. They hang with us and they just love it here, and we love having them. They’re always pushing the envelop. We’re proud to represent you and have you here,” Robinson said.

Robinson also made sure to thank Big Machine, Scott Borchetta and Allison Jones, as well as Virginia Davis and Harry Lyons at G Major. He made sure to recognize George Briner and the Valory Music Co. radio promotion staff.

“I’ve been watching this Ken Burns documentary,” Robinson said in closing. “The more things change, the more they stay the same. All these men and women were making this great music and pushing the envelope years ago, and everyone thought they were nuts. It took every bit of courage to make this stuff happen and make something different, and they’re all in the Country Music Hall of Fame, and that’s where you’re headed,” he said to Thomas Rhett.

Pictured (L-R, back row): Sony/ATV’s Josh Van Valkenburg, The Valory Music Co.’s George Briner, BMI’s Leslie Roberts, Big Deal Music’s Pete Robinson, BMI’s Spencer Nohe; (L-R, front row): Big Machine Label Group’s Scott Borchetta, Thomas Rhett, BMI songwriters Sean Douglas and Joe London, co-producer Jesse Frasure. Photo: Brett Carlsen/Getty Images for BMI)

Sony/ATV’s Josh Van Valkenburg echoed Robinson’s praise for the label, management and radio promotion staff.

Van Valkenburg was there to represent Douglas and Thomas Rhett. “We’re lucky to be able to work with the type of writers where it doesn’t matter if you’re L.A. or New York, you’re just great songwriters,” he said.

Prescription Songs’ Katie Fagan was on hand on behalf of the absent Kasher and Malik. “We don’t do these things in L.A.,” she said. “I think that these are so important to recognize the creatives and the songwriters behind these songs.”

Jessi Vaughn from Warner Chappell echoed the praises for everyone involved, and was present to represent Akins.

BMLG’s Scott Borchetta and George Briner stepped up to the mic next to talk about Thomas Rhett. “If there was one word to describe Thomas Rhett, that would be collaboration,” Borchetta said. “It runs throughout his whole life. He includes everybody, he makes everybody part of the show, he makes everybody part of the team.”

Briner brought his Valory Music Co. radio promotion team on stage to make sure they were recognized.

Pictured (L-R, top row): The Valory Music Co.’s George Briner and Big Deal Music’s Pete Robinson; (L-R, middle row): Warner/Chappell’s Jessi Vaughn, Prescription Songs’ Katie Fagan, BMI’s Leslie Roberts and Spencer Nohe, Sony/ATV’s Josh Van Valkenburg; (L-R, bottom row): Big Machine Label Group’s Scott Borchetta, Thomas Rhett, BMI songwriters John Ryan and Rhett Akins, BMI songwriter and co-producer Julian Bunetta. Photo: Brett Carlsen/Getty Images for BMI

When it came time to hear from the collaborators, Ryan kicked it off. “It was a pleasure and privilege writing this tune and working on it with people I love. To have it be with TR, one of my favorite artists on the planet—and most eclectic. And finally to work with Rhett!”

Bunetta echoed Ryan’s thank you. “To get to learn from everybody here is great, this has to be the best looking No. 1 party in the world. Has there ever been a more handsome No. 1 party than this?” he joked.

London made sure to thank Rhett’s team, and his crew on the road. “Thank you to Dann and Jesse,” he added. “Every time I send a demo to these guys, I know I’m going to get it back and just be blown away.”

Douglas said, “Thanks to the town for being so welcoming and cool to some of these L.A. guys.”

Akins echoed everyone’s thanks. “God bless country music and just music in general,” he said. “We would not know any of these people or be friends with these people if it weren’t for music and the love of music.

“What a week,” Akins said. “I get to celebrate a No. 1 with my son, I get to play at Bridgestone Arena this weekend with my son, at midnight at Bridgestone Arena I will turn 50 years old, and we’re going to Shoney’s!” he joked.

When it came time for Rhett to speak, he made sure to thank everyone involved, including his muse and wife.

“I’m really glad to call you friends and co-writers, everybody on this stage,” Thomas Rhett said. “It’s really amazing to write songs with your dad. The fact that we get to tour together, we played Madison Square Garden together last week. That just doesn’t happen.

“I think there’s a couple of our friends from country radio here today, thank you for playing our songs,” he said. “I’ve got three weddings to pay for and three colleges to pay for, so I appreciate it,” Rhett joked.


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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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