Industry members, friends and family gathered this week to celebrate country breakout Jackson Dean‘s first No. 1 song, “Don’t Come Lookin’.” Dean co-wrote the track alongside hit songwriter Luke Dick, who also produced it.
“Don’t Come Lookin'” was Dean’s first single for Big Machine Records. In addition to being his debut onto the country radio airwaves, the single made history by becoming the fastest debut to reach No. 1 on Country Aircheck’s chart for the year. The feat made 22-year-old-Dean the youngest male in not just Aircheck, but Radio & Records’ history to top the charts with their very first single.
The celebration for “Don’t Come Lookin'” was held in the lobby of BMI on Music Row. BMI Nashville Head Clay Bradley presided.
“Today we bring the music business together to celebrate one of the most elusive accomplishments in the beginning of a songwriting career—a No. 1 song,” Bradley said. “No. 1 records are hard to achieve. It takes a real team effort.”
After calling out Dean’s closest team members—Big Machine Label Group, TKO Artist Management and Little Louder Music—Bradley welcomed publisher Arturo Buenahora to the stage to speak.
Buenahora, who represents both writers, said a few words about his long relationship with Dick, having known him since he was writing “frog songs.” The publisher also told a bit of the story behind his introduction to Dean, saying that WME Co-Head Jay Williams introduced the two.
After meeting Dean and his parents, the young songwriter could count himself amongst the small but mighty roster at Little Louder. Buenahora—who also connected Dean to his manager TK Kimbrell—says that once labels in town caught a whiff of Dean, they were all interested.
“We had an offer from every label in town and Allison Jones won the prize. She was in early and she was in heavy,” Buenahora shared. “We made the decision to go with Big Machine because they really take care of radio. As a publisher, I don’t care for the streaming. I need to eat.”
That earned a big laugh from the industry members in the crowd. Buenahora then introduced Little Louder’s Jefferson Brown to say a few words, as “Don’t Come Lookin'” marked one of Brown’s first times seeing a No. 1 hit through.
“Jackson is a young man but an old soul. When talent like his is matched by his work ethic, the sky is the limit,” Brown shared.
Big Machine Label Group Founder, President & CEO, Scott Borchetta, spoke about Dean and his well-regarded team. He also mentioned that “Don’t Come Lookin'” marked an astounding 248 No. 1 singles celebrated throughout his career.
“But this one is as exciting as ever,” he said. “I hope all of you get a chance to know [Dean]. The more I get to know him, the more I want to know about him.”
Borchetta let Dean know that his single had been certified Gold. “You look good in gold, my friend,” Borchetta said.
Before turning it over to the co-writers, Bradley let the crowd know that BMI has now partnered with Studio Bank on No. 1 parties to come. Ron Cox, Studio Bank’s Co-Founder, presented a donation on behalf of Dean and Dick to Music Health Alliance.
When Dick got up to speak, he told the story about how Dean came into his orbit via a connection made by Little Louder. Instantly recognizing that Dean had something special, the two began to write.
“You feel something around people energetically. I don’t say yes to everything unless I feel something,” Dick shared. “I’m so proud to be here on the first No. 1 with Jackson and to have been a part of it, to have written with him and to be on this creative journey together.
“He’s humble. He’s there to work and to dig. He’s there to be an artist. I hope we have a million of these things because it’s such a ride and I’m proud to be on it with you,” he summed.
When Dean spoke, he thanked all of his team members, calling them out by name.
“It takes a village so it meant a lot to soak in the moment with everybody who helped make this dream a reality,” Dean shared. “This is only the beginning, there is a lot more music to make and stones to turn over.”
Before the celebration, MusicRow‘s Sherod Robertson presented Dean and Dick with their MusicRow No. 1 Challenge Coins for “Don’t Come Lookin'” reaching the top of the MusicRow radio chart. Country Aircheck‘s Lon Helton and RIAA’s Jackie Jones were also in attendance to present Dean with more tokens of success. BMI presented Dean with a Taylor Guitar and Dick with their token mint julep cup—which Dick later nicknamed “the chalice of success.”
Dean will perform as part of the New Faces of Country Music class of 2023 showcase at CRS in March.
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