Almost everyone connected with the record’s success turned out Friday (Oct. 18) to toast singer Joe Nichols and the writers of his recent No. 1 single, “The Impossible.” ASCAP, the performance rights society, hosted the celebration at its Nashville office.
Among those raising their glasses to songwriters Kelley Lovelace and Lee Miller were Tim DuBois and Tony Brown, the senior partners of Universal South, Nichols’ record label; Connie Bradley, ASCAP’s senior vice president; Pete Fisher, general manager of the Grand Ole Opry; and Nichols’ producer, Brent Rowan.
“This is Kelley’s second No. 1,” Bradley explained as she handed him his trophy, “so we don’t give you a jacket this time.” (Lovelace’s first chart-topper was “He Didn’t Have To Be.” ASCAP traditionally awards a fancy jacket for such a breakthrough.) Bradley also acknowledged DuBois and Brown, whom she called “the smartest people in town.”
Besides being Nichol’s first No. 1, “The Impossible” was also the first single Universal South released. Referring to this fact, Lovelace observed, “It’s kind of historical. Me and Lee were talking that our plaques should be very big.” Miller is signed to BMI, a competing performance rights organization.
“From every point I’ve heard,” said Gary Overton, executive vice president and general manager of EMI Music, Lovelace’s publisher, “everyone loves Joe Nichols.” He joked that Rowan had “wasted 20-odd years being Nashville’s greatest guitarist” before finally finding an artist he wanted to produce.
Still looking incredulous at all the attention he was getting, Nichols told his well-wishers, “It’s been an extremely long road, but a lot of people have held on with me.” He said the good news hadn’t really sunk in until he arrived for the celebration. “I thought ‘It’s a No. 1 party — and I’m invited.’”
Following the awards presentations, Nichols told CMT.com that he had connected emotionally with “The Impossible” the first time he heard it. “Sometimes there are songs that just feel like they belong to you,” he explained, noting that a lot of the lyrics applied to him directly. “It hit me 20 seconds into the song. My grandpa died when I was 13. My dad was strong man.”
Following the party, Nichols made a return appearance at the Grand Ole Opry, where, Fisher said, he has become a fan favorite. Earlier in the day, the singer learned he had won a coveted “bumper” spot during the Nov. 6 CMA Awards show. (A bumper is one of those “We’ll be right back” segments that signal a break for commercials while giving an up-and-coming artist the opportunity to sing a line or two from his or her best-known single.)
Nichols has just shot the video for his next single, the honky-tonking “Brokenheartsville.”