Kane Brown has had a great month. A few weeks ago, he played to a sold-out crowd during his headlining debut at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena. Last week he received his first nomination for ACM Entertainer of the Year, on top of four other nominations for Male Artist Of The Year and Single, Music Event and Visual Media Of The Year for his duet with wife Katelyn, “Thank God.”
This week he celebrated his eighth No. 1 hit, “Like I Love Country Music,” which he co-wrote with Jordan Schmidt, Taylor Phillips and Matt McGinn. BMI held the celebration in their lobby. Executive Director Shannon Sanders presided.
“At BMI, we’re passionate about songwriters. We always enjoy seeing their efforts recognized and celebrating them,” Sanders said. “Today’s event is a testament that great music is a collaborative effort.”
Speaking on collaboration, the four songwriters had BMI, ASCAP and SESAC representatives on hand to support. BMI represents Brown and Phillips, ASCAP works with Schmidt and SESAC reps McGinn.
“Kane, it’s amazing to watch your star rise and to watch it burn brighter and brighter,” Sanders said. “We’re also super proud to represent another super talented, hit songwriter on this stage: Taylor Phillips,” Sanders added. “‘Like I Love Country Music’ is Taylor’s fourth No. 1 and his third with Kane.”
ASCAP’s Evyn Johnston was on hand to celebrate with Schmidt. “I can always pinpoint a Jordan track. They have a vibe and sound amazing,” she shared. “Congrats on your sixth No. 1.”
SESAC’s Lydia Schultz Cahill spoke about affiliate McGinn. “Congrats on your sixth No. 1,” she said. “We’re very proud of you and we love you.”
Next up it was time to hear from the publishers, starting with UMPG’s Cyndi Forman. She kept it short and sweet. “You guys wrote a fun, uptempo song that says something. Don’t we ask that of you every day?” she said. Phillips quipped, “Every day!”
Warner Chappell’s Ben Vaughn was up next to speak on Phillips, who he referred to as “Captain Hook.” “I’ve been told that writing with Taylor is like sitting across from a verbal machine gun,” Vaughn said. “Everyone should be aware that Taylor Phillips is on fire in country music.”
Endurance’s Michael Martin was on hand to talk about Schmidt. “We just started working with Jordan a few months ago, but we’ve seen first hand how hard he works. Being around his talent has been an absolute joy and a blast for our team.”
Robin Palmer from SMACK Songs joined the stage to give kudos to McGinn. “We’ve worked together for 10 years, which is kind of a record in publishing,” she said to him. “I absolutely love Matt. He always puts in 100%.”
Kobalt’s Kevin Lane, who also works with McGinn, shared, “I haven’t worked with Matt as long as Robin has, but I don’t know that I’ve ever worked with someone who works as hard and cares as much as Matt does.”
Now partnered with BMI, Studio Bank’s Ron Cox was on hand for a presentation. The bank made a contribution to a charity close to Brown’s heart, the Boys & Girls Club, in honor of the song.
To represent Brown’s label, RCA Nashville’s Dennis Reese spoke about his relationship Brown. Reese recognized the entire Sony team, Martha Earls and her team at Neon Coast and the songwriters.
“This is our eighth No. 1 song together, KB,” he said. “We celebrate these eight together with so much excitement at what is still to come.”
By the time the men of the hour spoke, it was clear which roles they each take in a co-write. Brown sets the intentions for the song, Schmidt brings all the tracks and vibes, Phillips supplies the hook and McGinn polishes the tune until it shines.
When he spoke, Schmidt thanked Brown, his family and publishers. “I want to thank Kane for cutting this song and bringing it life,” he said. “I would like thank Taylor Phillips for always having ideas and always throwing them at you—almost violently. I would like to thank Matt McGinn for setting the bar so high that it normally takes two or three sessions to finish a song.”
McGinn echoed Schmidt’s thanks for the team. He also thanked his publishers and friends, and he also made sure to recognize producer Dann Huff for his work. “I find it serendipitous that the records that made me love country music were made by him, and now most of the records that have changed my life and kept me in country music are made by him.”
Phillips spoke about his journey to becoming a hit songwriter, thanking gatekeepers for both the “yes’s” and the “no’s.” “I’ve been told ‘no’ in this town way more than I’ll ever be told ‘yes,’ but these moments, sitting up here on this stage when you do get a ‘yes’, is enough to keep going.”
When the man of the hour spoke, he talked about his friendships with Schmidt, McGinn and Phillips. “These guys are my boys. We started out together,” he said. “Thank you to everyone that’s here.”
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