His management company is getting a handsome return on its investment in 12-year-old singing sensation Billy Gilman .
At a party in Gilman’s honor Wednesday night (April 25) at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Sony Music marketing executive Mike Kraski shared a humorous story to prove the point.
Kraski had called the rpm management office in the afternoon to speak with Scott Siman, the manager Gilman shares with Tim McGraw and Jessica Andrews.
“rpm management,” chirped the voice on the line.
“Who is this?” Kraski inquired.
“This is Billy,” Gilman answered.
Taken aback, Kraski cracked, “Your management company is taking this ’working you hard’ a little too seriously.”
“You have no idea!” Gilman shot back.
Gilman’s work ethic has paid off for rpm, for Sony and for Gilman himself. Wednesday’s event celebrated his achievement as a
platinum-selling artist — his debut album, One Voice, has shipped 1.8 million copies since its release last year, Kraski told
country.com. The party to mark 1 million shipments was delayed from earlier in the year so that Gilman could meet school
Sony Nashville chief Allen Butler echoed Kraski’s praise for Gilman’s industrious energy. “At thesethings we usually thank the team behind the artist,” Butler said. “This is one time I can truly say I want
to thank the artist behind the team.”
Gilman’s parents, Bill and Fran Gilman, shared the moment with their Rhode Island-bred son. Butler praised them, calling them “perfect artist parents” and stating the obvious: “Without them, none of this would have happened.”
Mrs. Gilman thanked the record company and management team for working to build her son’s career. “When he leaves home, I am so proud that he has a family like this to come to Nashville to,” she said.
Only a few age-appropriate peers were on hand to help Gilman celebrate. His younger brother, Colin, did not make the trip down from
Rhode Island. Mikelle Lenahan, 11, and Emerald Baker, 10, Nashville-based dancers who toured with Gilman for a week at the end of
2000 and appeared in his Christmas special, congratulated the singer and posed for pictures with him. “He’s really nice,” Emerald
told country.com. “And funny,” Mikelle added.
Butler singled out CMT for its role in setting the stage for Gilman’s success by playing his “One Voice” video seven weeks before radio stations were scheduled to add the single to their playlists. “I want to thank CMT for their courage and their vision,” Butler said.
The event also was billed as an “album premiere” for Dare to Dream, Gilman’s next album, due May 8. The new set includes tunes such as “She’s My Girl” and “Our First Kiss,” perhaps signaling a shift in
Partygoers received spiral-bound journals in which to chronicle the progress of their own dreams. Gilman named the new album Dare to Dream, he said, “because I dared to dream, and look what happened.”