“When I heard this song,” Jessica Andrews recalled, “I had to ask, ‘Did you write this for me?'” The teenage country star was referring to “Who I Am,” her first No. 1 single and one that has perched at the top of the Billboard, Radio & Records and Gavin country singles charts for multiple weeks.
Andrews made her remarks at a reception held Thursday (April 19) at the Nashville offices of the BMI performance rights organization. Other guests of honors at the event were the song’s writers, Troy
Verges and Brett James; its publishers, Universal Music and Sony/ATV Music; Andrews’ producer, Byron Gallimore and manager, Scott Siman; and officials of Andrews’ label, DreamWorks Records.
“Who I Am” is the title cut from Andrews’ second album for DreamWorks. The first, Heart Shaped World, was released in early 1999.
“For the last few weeks, we’ve heard of all [the country music industry] has done wrong,” said Pat Higdon, head of Universal Music
Publishing. “This is one of the things we’ve all done right.”
DreamWorks/Nashville president James Stroud agreed. “We went gold [on the album] in four weeks,” he said. “So don’t tell me this market isn’t healthy.” (A “gold” designation signifies that stores have ordered 500,000 copies of a record.)
Stroud told the partygoers that producer Byron Gallimore persuaded him several years ago to drive to western Tennessee to hear Andrews sing. “It was a magical moment,” he remembered. “I sat around and watched all those people clapping and standing, and then I realized they were her family.” Turning to Andrews, he continued, “Jessica, more than anybody, you’re the lady who made this work.”
Scott Borchetta, who oversees promotion and artist development for DreamWorks, described Andrews as one of the hardest working artists he’s ever dealt with. “She’s very focused,” he said. “She knows what she wants, and she wants it now.”
After thanking the songwriters and label personnel, Andrews singled out Gallimore for particular praise: “Byron, you’re the one who
found me and brought me here. I owe it all to you.”