Industry members gathered for a night of firsts on Monday night (Feb. 28), when Niko Moon celebrated his first No. 1 as an artist.
While Niko has had success as a songwriter, co-writing such chart-toppers as Zac Brown Band‘s “Beautiful Drug,” “Loving You Easy” and “Homegrown,” and Dierks Bentley’s “Gone,” he’s never been able to commemorate his successes at a No. 1 party. The RCA Nashville rising star was all smiles during the celebration.
The party, hosted by SESAC’s Shannan Hatch, took place at Gibson Garage. JC Curleigh, Gibson’s CEO, said it was the first time the company had seen the swanky space used for an industry gathering since it opened in the summer of 2021, and that Gibson founder Orville Gibson would be proud. He also presented Niko with a brand-new Les Paul Gibson guitar in celebration of his No. 1 smash hit.
Shannan led a room full of joyful publishers, label personnel, and other team members through several presentations to celebrate Niko and his co-writers Anna Moon, Jordan Minton, Mark Trussell, and writer-producer Joshua Murty.
“I’d like to welcome you all to a ‘good time,'” Shannan quipped. She spoke about the reigning SESAC Songwriter of the Year, recalling when she met him. “He’s one of those people that even when you can’t see his face when you’re talking to him [on the phone], that smile comes through. You get his enthusiasm and happy nature. It’s so refreshing.”
BMI’s MaryAnn Keen spoke on behalf of Jordan, who was also celebrating his first No. 1. “You’ve got a lot going on right now,” she said to the songwriter, who currently has the No. 1 song on the MusicRow CountryBreakout Radio Chart with “Best Things Since Back Roads” by Jake Owen. “You’ve worked really hard. I know this one will always be extra special as your first.”
Boom Music Group’s Joe Fisher and Kobalt’s Kevin Lane echoed MaryAnn’s sentiments about Jordan’s work ethic.
Warner Chappell’s Ben Vaughn, who was an early believer in Moon, was on hand to speak about his Warner Chappell writers. “Look at that smile,” he said to the beaming artist. Vaughn also gave all of the co-writers a special gift: hand-painted bottles of apple pie moonshine, like referenced in “Good Time.”
After reading off an impressive list of stats, Ben said, “Niko, the point is you draw people in. You have a vision, a work ethic, and that smile. We all love you and are proud to be your partner.”
Ben also spoke about writer-producer Joshua, who was visiting Nashville from the west coast. “Every time you hear Niko Moon’s music, and you think ‘Dang, that sounds so fresh,’ this guy had a lot to do with it.”
When Ben spoke about Mark, he let the crowd know that the songwriter had been named “most talented” at his high school. He then spoke about Mark’s many talents and work ethic. “I think that label sticks,” he said.
Niko stepped up to talk about his talented wife, Anna. “Ever since we met, I just wanted the world to know how insanely talented this woman is,” Niko said. “How many people out there get to enjoy their No. 1 with their husband or wife? I just feel so grateful that we’re able to experience this together.”
Sony’s Sr. VP of Promotion at RCA Nashville, Dennis Reese, spoke about working a positive song like “Good Time” during the darkness of the pandemic. “We launched this single at terrestrial radio right as the world was changing. Here comes this song called ‘Good Time’ when there was a lot of bad times. I really believe in my heart that music changes everything. It takes a tragedy and turns it into something we can come away with appreciation for. I believe that ‘Good Time’ did that for a lot of people.”
MusicRow‘s Sherod Robertson, who presented the co-writers with their No. 1 Challenge Coin for reaching No. 1 on the MusicRow CountryBreakout Radio Chart, echoed Dennis’ sentiment about the positivity of “Good Time.”
Make Wake’s Chris Kappy, spoke about his journey to working with Niko. “Thank you for letting us wake up every day and represent you,” he said to the artist. “It’s a very special moment for us. We appreciate you a lot.”
When it came time for the co-writers to speak, Joshua kicked things off by talking about his friendship with Niko and Anna. “I’m grateful I get to make music with my two best friends that I love and am very proud of.”
Jordan recognized Niko’s effort at keeping the songwriters in the loop on the success of the song. “Niko was very attentive to us,” he said. “He would call me and Mark and let us know what was going on with the song. You were very good about communicating and being aware of things that a lot of artists maybe don’t take into account.”
Mark agreed. “At the time [‘Good Time’ came out], I was amazed at the hard work you put into it and the dedication you had for the song,” he said to Niko. “I’m so grateful to you and your team.”
Anna spoke about her journey to becoming a hit songwriter. “13 years ago I was just a young girl, 15 years old, playing my little country songs. I didn’t know how I was going to be involved in music,” she said. “To be here today celebrating my first No. 1 is absolutely insane.
“I can’t say much more or I will start crying, but let me just say how proud I am of this guy. Everyone who knows Niko knows how hard he works.”
Niko closed the celebration with some history of “Good Time,” which he recorded at home. “This record was made in our old laundry room at our house. The entire Good Time album was made at home,” he said. “You know when your grandmama would cook you some food? It tastes different because there’s love in it. Because it’s homemade. I feel that way about music.
“Thank y’all for believing in this homemade project that we made,” Moon said, before thanking each of his team members. “I’m so happy y’all.”
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