“That was one of my wife’s proudest moments, I think,” Brad Paisley told reporters Thursday afternoon (Aug. 20). He was referring to his recent White House performance where he dedicated the tender love ballad, “Then,” to President Obama and the first lady.
“When she [Kimberly Williams-Paisley] got involved with this redneck hick from Tennessee, I don’t think she ever saw herself in the East Room of the White House being serenaded,” he said.
Much like his music, Paisley effortlessly transitioned from serious songwriter to funnyman as he answered questions prior to the party at Nashville’s ASCAP headquarters to celebrate the No. 1 success of “Then.”
“Being able to dedicate that to the first couple — and being able to rib them a little bit with the joke of Air Force One flying around New York on a romantic night or whatever — was a lot of fun for me,” he chuckled.
“Then,” Paisley’s fastest-rising single to date, spent three weeks atop Billboard’s country chart.
“I really realized how romantic this song is through the eyes of the people that buy the records and come out to the shows,” he said. “I say something almost every night at the end of the song … which is, ’I hope you’re in love tonight. And if you’re not, I hope you fall in love tonight.'”
Paisley’s co-writers, Chris DuBois and Ashley Gorley, were also at the celebration where they were each awarded several plaques commemorating the song’s popularity. Just a few months prior, DuBois and Gorley celebrated another No. 1 single, Darius Rucker’s “It Won’t Be Like This for Long.”
DuBois has written more than a half dozen songs with Paisley, including his current single, “Welcome to the Future.” Gorley’s songwriting credits include Carrie Underwood’s “Don’t Forget to Remember Me” and Trace Adkins’ “You’re Gonna Miss This.” Both of the songwriters thanked their significant others for the core motivation behind their newest hit, “Then.”
“Thanks to our wives for the inspiration for this song” DuBois said.
“This kind of song, we definitely lean on them for making sure it hits them right,” added Gorley.
When it was Paisley’s turn to speak, he reiterated their thoughts by saying, “Our wives — you are the reason we wrote this song. [Thanks] for great advice on how to write songs. We couldn’t do this without that inspiration.”
Sony BMG Nashville chairman Joe Galante and Frank Rogers, Paisley’s long-time producer, were also in attendance Thursday. “Then” marks Rogers’ 25th No. 1 single, and after much coaxing from Paisley, he took the microphone for a humble, “Thank you.”
But it was Paisley who brought the celebration to a close as he spent his time showing appreciation for not only his wife and the co-writers’ wives but also music industry executives, his record label and the fans. He also thanked country radio programmers who “have obviously played my records entirely too much.”
To document the amount of airplay the single received, Paisley said, “I got a tweet from somebody this week that’s like, ’All right, I loved ’Then.’ I thought I loved it then. Now I don’t love it anymore. I’ve heard it too much.”
Smiling he added, “This is a good problem to have.”View photos from the No. 1 party.