As light faded from the sky Tuesday evening (April 18), it seemed to only get brighter in BMI as the room readied to celebrate Ingrid Andress‘ No. 1 “Wishful Drinking (with Sam Hunt),” which she wrote alongside Jonny Price, JP Saxe, Lucky Daye and Rykeyz, and produced with Jordan Schmidt.
BMI’s Clay Bradley got the night started, welcoming everyone and calling Andress to the stage.
“We’re so glad you’re here, bringing new voices and new sounds to Nashville. Your music and your vibe are important to the growth of country music,” he expressed to the artist. Bradley also noted that although the pandemic kept her from touring, her music traveled all over, specifically her first No. 1 “More Hearts Than Mine,” motivating her to create even more.
Hunt, Saxe and Daye couldn’t make the celebration, but their presence was surely felt through the excitement surrounding their work, which seem to strengthen the connection between not just the industry facets involved but all those present, as Bradley read a sweet message from Saxe stating, “Congratulations to everyone involved in ‘Wishful Drinking.’ It was a pleasure to write this song, and I only wish I was there to celebrate with y’all. Nashville and the country music community have always made me feel immediately at home, so thank you for continuing to do that through this song.”
Before giving ASCAP’s Duane Hobson the floor, Bradley took a moment to recognize Schmidt, who was unable to attend as well, and his “amazing run of success” as this marked his third No. 1 party in three days.
Hobson began with a vibe check, asking how everyone was, and proceeded with gratitude after he received cheers and claps in response as he gave shoutouts to his ASCAP family and other organizations involved in the project, and congratulated the writers. He then apprised us of Rykeyz and Price’s accolades.
A Berklee College of Music grad, Rykeyz has achieved multi-genre success working with the likes of Demi Lovato, Fantasia, Wiz Khalifa, Cody Simpson and Ne-Yo, among others. The Memphis native produced H.E.R and Skip Marley’s “Slow Down,” which went to No. 1 on the R&B charts and earned a Grammy nomination for Best R&B Song.
Price attended the North Carolina School of the Arts, and also has credits across various genres with artists including Liam Payne, Keith Urban, Miley Cyrus, Tim McGraw, Caitlyn Smith, Cheat Codes, Carly Pearce and more.
Prior to introducing Universal Music Publishing’s Cyndi Forman, Bradley acknowledged that Music Row was unable to celebrate Andress’ first No. 1 and thanked everyone for coming.
Forman first thanked the Warner Music Nashville promotion team as well as the management teams involved. She found Warner Music Nashville’s Rohan Kohli in the crowd and declared him “one of the best A&R people out there,” sharing that their team loves working with him. Forman then welcomed some of the writers to country music and congratulated all of them. Turning to Andress, she voiced her admiration of “the consistency, the integrity and the sincerity of [her] writing.” Forman continued to address the artist saying, “I hate that Missy Roberts is not here, she deserves to be up here. You know how much she loves you. She’s proud of you, as we all are at Universal.”
Arthouse Entertainment’s Gabrielle Kelly followed with praise for the writers and a few words for Andress from established industry veteran Kara DioGuardi, who expressed her desire to be there and described the impact Andress’ genre-blending work has had on fans and other creators.
After fortifying the communal energy of the event by encouraging anyone who desired to partake in the tequila housed at the bar to do so, Bradley welcomed “the reverend himself,” Sony Music Publishing’s Rusty Gaston, who thanked BMI for hosting No. 1 parties.
“What I love most about Nashville is that it’s called Music City USA. It’s not called Country Music City. It’s not called Christian Music City. It’s called Music City USA. Today what’s so special is that we get to celebrate a group of songwriters that enhance exactly what our city stands for—supporting great creators in all kinds of genres,” explained Gaston as he moved to congratulate each of the writers and contributors.
Up next was Studio Bank’s Rob Cox who announced that the bank made a special donation on behalf of the songwriters to The Caring for Covenant Fund, which seeks to provide financial support to individuals affected by the tragic events that occurred on March 27 at The Covenant School, upon request from Andress.
Warner Music Nashville’s Ben Kline was on deck to honor the hit, expressing gratitude for his team and noting the Platinum song’s 300 million global streams and other benchmarks. He shared, “Thank you to all the writers. Ingrid, you are so important and such a piece of the Warner Music family. We’re thrilled to be able to do this and I’m sorry we couldn’t do this the first time.”
Kline proceeded by shouting out all of the people who helped deliver the hit, naming individuals and taking time to specifically recognize Andress’ manager Blythe Scokin. “Blythe was tenacious about not saying ‘no’ when we didn’t think we’d get single rights,” Kline added as he listed Scokin’s faithful efforts and thanked her immensely.
The mic was then turned over to the group of the hour.
Rykeyz kicked off their speeches by thanking everyone involved, as well as his co-writers for his first country No. 1.
“I want to thank the Nashville community for welcoming us. We’re just a bunch of L.A. guys and you guys really just brought us in,” he expressed as he continued to thank individuals who had a hand in the track as well as his career.
Price was next and thanked the artists for, “putting this song on their backs and carrying it up to the mountain peak, that all songwriters and creators dream of reaching.” He pointed out that none of this would be possible without their skilled teams as well as the organizations behind them. He recalled flying to Nashville in the early days of his career to record three of his songs with Larry Beard. He also thanked his family and his wife, “who for 15 years has made [him] feel like a No. 1 songwriter even though this is [his] first.”
Lastly, Andress made her way to the middle of the stage, joking that she always wanted a No. 1 party but never wanted to give a speech.
“The thing that I love so much about this song in particular is that it started in L.A. and ended up here in Nashville. As a somebody who started their songwriting career here while going back-and-forth to L.A., that is very significant for me in the genre I feel like we’re creating together. I think this song really represents where I would loved to see country go,” she shared.
Andress went on to point out her co-writers’ talents and what makes them a dream team. She then expressed her gratitude for Hunt and Scokin in addition to all of her support system and team members. Bradley then brought up Andress’ co-writers of her first No. 1 “More Hearts Then Mine,” Sam Ellis and Derrick Southerland to finally celebrate the hit.
“I’m so grateful to be a part of this crew and this town,” said Ellis as he thanked his colleagues and family.
Southerland reminisced on first learning the song went No. 1, noting that celebrating is way more fun when you are surround by others. He then drew everyone’s attention to his co-writers.
“I think that friendship is a bi-product of success and our success in a bi-product of our friendship. This song is about bringing someone into your world, into your life, into your family and into your home. Thank for bringing me and bringing us into this home of Nashville. Thank y’all for bringing us into this home of BMI.”
He continued to disclose his unconditional appreciation for his loved ones—music family and actual family, touching everyone with pure tenderness as the evening concluded.
“I think that there’s some magic in this town that somehow rubs off in every handshake and in every hug.”
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