Three Nashville songwriters, Gayle, Sara Davis, and Dave Pittenger, recently came together with their teams to celebrate their massive pop hit, “abcdefu.”
BMI and SESAC’s Nashville teams helped the trio celebrate, throwing a party at Hurry Back before 17-year-old Gayle took the stage next door at Exit/In. “abcdefu” marks all three songwriter’s first No. 1 song. The certified Platinum track has amassed over 1.1 billion streams globally, and will be included on Gayle’s debut EP A Study Of The Human Experience Volume One, due out March 18.
The party started with a rousing singalong of the in-your-face breakup anthem. BMI’s Clay Bradley took the stage to get things started. “Man, is this a cultural moment or what?” he said. “This is a song that defines a generation. I like to say it’s built as a classic Nashville-style song. The art of storytelling, this time through the eyes of a 17-year-old.”
In typical Nashville fashion, respected publishers and label executives were on hand to talk about the monumental achievement.
Bradley first invited SESAC’s Shannan Hatch to speak about her affiliate, Pittenger. “I really thought I would be up here doing this for Dave with a country song,” Hatch said of the multi-genre writer. “So this is fun!”
Big Yellow Dog’s Carla Wallace also spoke on Pittenger’s behalf. Wallace eloquently recalled the events of the writing of “abcdefu” during the pandemic. “Armed with vodka disinfectant, and a strong middle finger, Dave, Galye and Sara sat inside the Big Yellow Dog office’s empty halls to write the ultimate break up song,” she said. “‘abcdefu’ is the ultimate anthem.”
Big Machine’s Mike Molinar stepped up to speak on 20-year-old writer Davis. “You may have beaten the Nashville 10-year-town rule, just by a smidge,” Molinar joked before telling Davis’ story of moving to Nashville to write songs at the age of 14. “You may have beat the 10 year rule, but you’ve put in your 10,000 hours already.”
Molinar also pointed out that, now with a pop hit under their belt, they can continue building onto that success at “Big Machine West”—the indie music publisher’s recently opened Los Angeles office. “Thank you for making us look like geniuses two months ofter opening our LA office!” he said.
UMPG’s Zach Lund stepped up to speak on Gayle. “Gayle is someone who, to the deepest level, knows who she is and has a vision,” he said. “The exciting thing about tonight is not just that we’re celebrating this massive song, but also that this moment will serve as a catalyst for an artist who knows who she is and is going to take this opportunity to its fullest.”
Arthouse’s Kara DioGuardi, who discovered the young talent, highlighted that when it comes to success, age is but a number. “This song sends a really important message to the industry because it doesn’t matter who you are, it doesn’t matter how established you are,” she said. “Forget metrics, just look at pure talent.”
Atlantic Record’s Pete Ganbarg closed the executive presentations with a list of some the song’s stats. “The fact that we are sitting here with three growing songwriters, who have written a No. 1 pop record out of Nashville that is right now streaming cumulatively over 1.1 billion streams, make this even more enjoyable,” he said.
When the co-writers spoke, they each told a story about the creation and meteoric rise of the fun song.
Pittenger was emotional when he got up to speak, thanking his team and co-writers for their part in the success of the song. “Everyone asks if we knew [it was going to be a hit] when we wrote it. The answer is yes,” he said “We made a pact to get tattoos when it went No. 1, so we knew.”
Davis added her own stories about “abcdefu,” pointing out that Pittenger brought in the idea for the song. “Thanks so much to everyone who has been a part of this,” she said to the crowd.
Gayle echoed her co-writers sentiments, and looked back on how far she’d come. “I played my first round seven years ago yesterday. I was just a girl with a dream and a guitar that was bigger than me,” the young writer said. “Sara and I started writing pop music in my bedroom. It was so daring. We were two Nashville girls writing pop music.”
She closed with a word of thanks to her team, family, and co-writers. “Thank you to every single person that has been with me on this music journey, especially [my co-writers]. We would not be here without you.”
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