Carrie Underwood Shares No. 1 Spotlight With Lindsey, Laird

ASCAP and BMI Throw Big Parties for "So Small"

Life just got a little more golden for flaxen-haired Carrie Underwood. Now the bestselling album artist can also revel in being a No. 1 songwriter, thanks to her part in penning her current hit, “So Small.”

ASCAP and BMI — two major performance rights organizations — threw separate parties at their Nashville headquarters Tuesday (Dec. 11) to celebrate Underwood’s latest achievement, a victory she shared with “So Small” co-writers Hillary Lindsey and Luke Laird. Lindsay is an ASCAP-affiliated writer, while Underwood and Laird are signed to BMI.

“We knew [the song] was special right from the beginning,” Underwood told reporters at a press conference just before the BMI celebration got underway. “I love how it turned out. I love listening to it.” She added that she is more deliberate than spontaneous in her approach to songwriting. “I have to be in mode,” she said.

Asked if she will be performing on the Grammy show Feb. 10, where she is up for two awards, Underwood was just framing a response when her publicist interrupted with, “That bridge has yet to be crossed.” Thus cautioned, Underwood murmured, “I don’t have anything to say about it.”

Another reporter queried Underwood on a recent Forbes magazine article that listed her at No. 11 among the “Top 20 Earners Under 25” and estimated her 2007 income at $7 million. “We didn’t release any of our financial records [for the story],” she said, adding that the estimate was off the mark (but not in which direction).

“The most money I spend is on furniture,” she continued. “I’ve never purchased a car. I’m not a big spender. My mom did my taxes before.”

Underwood confirmed she now has a roommate but declined to give details other than to say the roommate is there for her protection. Noting that she saw herself as “relatively small, relatively helpless,” she said, “It got to a place where it didn’t feel safe to be by myself anymore.”

Underwood said she’s looking forward to her impending TV appearance on Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve and revealed she will be filming a music video for her new single, “All-American Girl,” in January between rehearsals for her tour with Keith Urban. She also co-wrote “All-American Girl.”

Later, as she was accepting her BMI honors in front of a hall packed with well-wishers, the usually reserved Underwood broke into tears, even as she fought valiantly to hold them back. Alluding to “So Small,” she marveled at the joy of having “something you were with from the beginning.” She said she was grateful to co-writers Lindsey and Laird for making her feel so at home in the songwriting process.

At the ASCAP party held earlier in the afternoon, Lindsey recalled that the song evolved in “an organic way.” She also related an incident that happened to her the first time she heard it on the radio.

She said she was driving down Music Row when the song came on and was grooving to it when she noticed a police car was following her. She said she didn’t think anything was amiss until the cop pulled her over and told her she had run a stop sign.

She said she explained why her attention had been diverted from the usual traffic niceties, but the officer still gave her a ticket. “It’s the best ticket I’ve ever had,” she said triumphantly, “and I can pay for it.”

“So Small” was the first No. 1 for Laird, who gulped back tears as he read through a list of people to thank for supporting him in his songwriting endeavors. Several members of his family were on hand to share his euphoria. “I felt like when we wrote the song, I should be paying for a concert,” he said, referring to the pleasure of hearing Underwood and Lindsey sing together as the song took shape.

“I really wanted to try to be a songwriter,” Underwood told the ASCAP celebrants, “but I didn’t know how that would work out.”

Now she knows.

Edward Morris is a veteran of country music journalism. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and is a frequent contributor to