The celebration spotlighting co-writers Steve McEwan and John Reid, both of whom are British, was held at the BMI headquarters on Music Row. Reid was in Scotland and unable to attend the event.
“I just feel very blessed to do what I do,” Urban told the partygoers. “I don’t take it for granted. That’s why I’m here today.”
“Christmas has come early,” said McEwan with a grin as he held one of the several awards presented him by BMI, EMI (his music publishing company) and Capitol Records (Urban’s label).
No newcomer to country music, McEwan also co-wrote the Kenny Chesney hits “Young” and “Summertime,” has had three cuts by Faith Hill and boasts three more songs on Carrie Underwood’s current album, Play On.
By e-mail, Reid described Urban’s rendering of “Only You” as “pure magic” and added, “You made it your own.”
Jody Williams, BMI’s vice president of writer-publisher relations, praised Urban for both his artistry and compassion. He noted that Urban recently won three BMI awards for his own songwriting and that in October, he had headlined the All for the Hall benefit concert in Nashville that raised more than $500,000 for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.
“If you’re talking about Keith Urban,” Williams continued, “you’re talking about all heart.”
Urban saluted his producer, Dann Huff, who stood among the celebrants, for alerting him to McEwan and Reid’s song.
“Dann brings me very few songs,” Urban said, “and we cut almost everything he brings us.”
Urban announced he was going to give his BMI award to Donna Jean Kisshauer, who works for his management company, Borman Entertainment, for her labors on his behalf. When someone shouted out that she had left the party, Urban quipped, “That’s what I love about her. You know, she’s already out there busting somebody’s you-know-what.”
To cap the celebration, Urban sat on stool, cradled his acoustic guitar and sang the song of the hour. The applause had hardly died down before he was out the door and headed back to the airport.View photos from the No. 1 party.