SESAC Honors Songwriter Liz Rose for Taylor Swift’s “You Belong With Me”

Co-Writer and Singer Taylor Swift Joins the Celebration

SESAC, the performance rights company, honored songwriter Liz Rose at its Nashville headquarters Monday afternoon (Sept. 28) for co-writing with Taylor Swift the young singer’s latest hit single, “You Belong With Me.”

Besides reaching No. 1 on Billboard’s country chart, the song also claimed the top spot on the magazine’s all-genre Hot 100 Airplay list.

Swift was on hand to swell the applause.

While it wasn’t announced in advance that Swift would attend the ceremony, expectations that she would drew a capacity crowd that filled the building’s lobby and stairwell. (One of the merry-makers was Billy Gilman, another early bloomer, who scored his first country hit in 2000, when he was 12.)

To keep drop-ins at bay, SESAC posted signs on its outer doors that warned, “Private Party/By Invitation Only.”

The presence of Swift’s label president and publicist further fueled speculation that the star would make an appearance, and it gradually became apparent the presentations weren’t going to happen until she did.

“I wonder how far out they are,” a publisher murmured to a SESAC staffer.

“They said about eight minutes.”

The party started at 5 p.m., and Rose came in a few minutes later. But it wasn’t until Swift eased in through a back entrance at 5:40 p.m. that the proceedings got underway.

Wearing a purple dress with spaghetti straps and a mid-thigh hem and yellow satin sling back high-heeled shoes, Swift stood quietly at the side of the room until Rose was introduced.

Tim Fink, SESAC’s associate vice president of writer-publisher relations, told the celebrants that Rose’s initial job in the music business had been pitching other people’s songs until she was persuaded to do “what she does best — write songs.”

Rose has been Swift’s principal co-writer since Swift made her recording breakthrough in 2006 with “Tim McGraw,” a song they jointly composed. The following year, Rose won SESAC’s country songwriter of the year award. In addition to “You Belong With Me,” Rose’s collaborations with Swift include “Teardrops on My Guitar,” “White Horse” and the title track of Swift’s latest album, Fearless.

Fink also presented awards to Nathan Chapman (Swift’s producer), Scott Borchetta (head of Big Machine Records, Swift’s label), Barbara Orbison (Rose’s music publisher) and Swift herself.

Rose noted that her daughter, brother, sisters and mother were in the audience.

“Thank you, Taylor,” Rose said. “I love you.”

“I love you so much,” Swift responded.

Then everyone hugged and posed for pictures.

View photos from the No. 1 party.
Edward Morris is a veteran of country music journalism. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and is a frequent contributor to