The SESAC rooftop was filled with festivity as members of the Music Row family united in orange attire on Wednesday afternoon (Oct. 4) to celebrate Megan Moroney‘s first No. hit “Tennessee Orange.”
Everyone mingled around clementine-colored tabletops while enjoying food and refreshments as more and more people made their way outside, adding to the tingling zest in the air.
SESAC’s Shannan Hatch took the podium to welcome us and call up Moroney and co-writers Ben Williams, David Fanning and Paul Jenkins as well as producer Kristian Bush. Hatch started her remarks by telling the story of how she met Moroney through her manager, Juli Griffith, and followed by expressing her gratitude and love for the artist and her work ethic.
ASCAP’s Mike Sistad then made his way to the front to recognize Williams, who was also celebrating his first chart-topper. He noted Williams’ bright orange tracksuit was fitting for the event, given that the songwriter’s priority growing up was track and field, which he competed in at Santa Clara University. Sistad shared that Williams started writing songs his freshman of college and transferred from Santa Clara to Belmont University to pursue music. He then gave a shoutout to Williams’ friends and family before officially congratulating the writer on the achievement and stating his belief that there will be more to come.
BMI’s MaryAnn Keen was up next to talk about Fanning, Jenkins and Bush. Keen disclosed that this was Bush’s first time attending a No. 1 party, despite his huge success as part of Sugarland. She shared her love for “Tennessee Orange” before stating that the song marked Jenkins’ sixth No. 1.
Keen also shared that as she had been prepping for the current celebration, Fanning scored a second No. 1 with Parmalee’s “Girl In Mine.” She finished by praising the talent displayed by Moroney and all of the writers.
Hatch stepped back up to present Moroney with a special “Tennessee Orange” Gibson guitar, and introduce Sony Music Nashville’s Steve Hodges and Lauren Thomas to speak.
Hodges started by expressing the Sony team’s pride in the song and thanked Griffith for believing in them. He recognized Thomas’ contribution to the hit before giving her the floor. Thomas then congratulated the creators and thanked all of the promotion team members involved, as well as Hodges, the rest of the Sony crew, Moroney’s team in New York, PunchBowl Entertainment and country radio.
Next on deck was Sony Music Publishing’s Rusty Gaston to share more about Jenkins and Moroney.
“Paul doesn’t worry about his next No. 1 or next cut. He cares about what’s really important in life. He cares about his friends, his family and eternity. He cares about the things that matter, and when he goes into the writers’ room, he brings that with him and pours it into his songs,” he told the SESAC rooftop.
Gaston moved on to talk about Moroney stating, “It’s so rare that someone comes along and finds a command of the English language and their own way to use it to tell their stories for their generation.” He added, “[Megan] is a cut above everybody else.”
Reservoir Media’s John Ozier then took the mic to convey he and the company’s appreciation for Fanning and congratulate all of the tune’s contributors.
“[David] is the hardest worker I know. Not only does he write songs, he also produces them and manages some incredible acts,” Ozier said as he faced Fanning. “We’re so fortunate to have you at Reservoir. Congratulations!” While recognizing the other parties, he made note of Moroney’s performance of the smash single at this year’s NSAI Awards.
“When Megan got on stage and performed [‘Tennessee Orange’] at the Ryman, you could feel the place light up,” he said.
Next up was Major Bob’s Andy Friday, who gave the four honorees special Tennessee hats. He went on to thank everyone who helped bring the song to life and to the top of the charts before shifting his focus to Williams and giving his congratulations.
“If you took the No. 1 away and got rid of all the lights and photos, Ben is just an incredibly solid human being. Anybody that knows him or has had an interaction with him always says the same thing, ‘He’s the nicest guy, he always gets back to me, he always picks up the phone.’ That’s all true.”
Pinnacle Financial Partners’ David DeVaul then took the podium to honor and congratulate the industry members involved in the hit. He was followed by Bush, who moved the crowd with his incredible words as he congratulated and thanked everyone.
“This is the first of many times we’re going to stand here,” Bush declared before recognizing Moroney, Griffith and the writers. “Thank you for trusting me. Thanks to the rest of you for writing the songs with her.” He then turned to the mass in front of him and concluded with, “This is an impossible job. Don’t let her fall.”
Jenkins kicked off the songwriter speeches. “It’s pretty simple. I want to thank God for taking me, and also Megan for taking care of me, my co-writers Ben and David—who are some of my best friends. It’s a privilege to do this.”
Fanning followed, telling the story of how he got involved in the song, thanking Griffith and Tina Crawford as well as others who helped him get to where he is today. He continued by praising Moroney’s skills saying, “To me, it’s not just about the song, it’s about the artist and how they deliver it. The way [Megan] marketed and presented this song to the world is something that is special and really really hard to do, and most artists cannot do it, [but] you slay it.”
Williams was next to express his thanks, and detailed his and Moroney’s friendship while also recognizing the other individuals who have always supported him. “As most of you know, I was Megan’s first co-write in Nashville. It was just the coolest ever to be a year into my first publishing deal, and in a room writing with an artist. I thought ‘Oh my Gosh, this is going to happen.’ I got to be that person that shaped the songs that you hear now [from Megan], and it’s [been] so surreal. I feel like I won the songwriter lottery as well as the friend lottery.”
Then, the CMA New Artist of the Year nominee finally took the mic to share how “Tennessee Orange”—which is also nominated for CMA Song of the Year—has changed her career and life while giving thanks to her team and collaborators.
“It’s insane getting to sing this song every night,” Moroney shared. “And I don’t even have to introduce the song anymore, everyone just freaks out. My fans are also the best. It’s just been a crazy year. My life now from a year ago is completely different and I’m very grateful. It’s just very surreal to be here.”
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