The Band Perry’s First No. 1 Single Celebrated at BMI

Lead Singer Kimberly Perry Cited for Writing "If I Die Young"

Friends and co-workers of The Band Perry packed BMI’s huge reception hall in Nashville Monday afternoon (Jan. 24) to celebrate the band’s first No. 1 single, “If I Die Young,” written by lead singer Kimberly Perry.

Rounding out the band are Kimberly’s younger brothers Neil and Reid Perry.

“If I Die Young” is currently in the running for a Grammy for best country song. In addition, the band is nominated for the Academy of Country Music’s top new vocal duo or group and has been tapped to perform on the Country Radio Seminar’s New Faces Show in Nashville on March 4.

BMI chief Jody Williams welcomed the guests and declared the band “the hottest debut [act] of 2011” before turning over hosting duties to Clay Bradley, BMI’s assistant vice president of writer-publisher relations.

Bradley recalled meeting the sweet-singing trio prior to signing them to BMI.

“Their songs were so unique and their music so developed,” he marveled.

Originally from Mobile, Ala., the Perry siblings and their parents moved to Greeneville, Tenn., in 2002.

Bradley noted that the somewhat cryptic lyrics of “If I Die Young” have set the fan blogosphere abuzz.

“Everyone has offered their own take about what the song is trying to say,” he said.

Scott Borchetta, a co-founder of Republic Nashville Records, the trio’s label, said starting a new label — he also presides over the Big Machine and Valory imprints — is “about discovering new talent and providing an arena for that talent.”

A more “selfish” motive for helming a label, he added, is that “we get to relive the excitement each time a new artist goes No. 1.”

Borchetta, who started in radio promotion, observed he had been fortunate enough to have worked with “at least one No. 1 single” a year for the past 25 years.

Republic Nashville president Jimmy Harnen then came forward to recite a few of The Band Perry’s recent successes, including the release of their self-titled album that debuted at No. 2 last October in Billboard with first-week sales of more than 52,500 copies, album sales to date of more than 365,000 copies and the sale of more than 1.7 million total downloads. “If I Die Young” was also a No. 1 single on iTunes sales chart and is certified platinum with sales of more than 1.4 million.

Harnen said the Perry siblings came to the Republic Nashville office in the summer of 2009 to audition.

“They simply blew us away,” he said. “I remember sitting there — my first day on the job — and thinking, ’This band is going to make music history.’ And they have.”

“We never thought we’d ever be able to say ’The Band Perry,’ ’No. 1’ and ’platinum single’ in one sentence,” Kimberly bubbled.

Neil thanked attorney David Crow for being the first person they met in Nashville “who believed in us.” He said Crow, who doubles as a fiddler in Grand Ole Opry star Bobby Osborne’s band, introduced them to Bob Doyle, who subsequently became their manager. Doyle also manages Garth Brooks.

The event marked the first time Avenue Bank has paired with BMI to sponsor a No. 1 party. Henceforth, said Avenue’s senior vice president Ron Cox, the bank will make a contribution to each BMI No. 1 songwriter’s favorite charity. On behalf of The Band Perry, Avenue donated $250 to the Greeneville Food Bank.

Kimberly expressed her gratitude to the trio’s other band members in attendance.

“You play ’If I Die Young’ every night, and we know you’re sick of it,” she said. “But you only have to play it [she looked at her watch] oh, for the rest of your lives.”

With that, she and her brothers clustered around the microphone to make their standard introduction.

“We’re The Band Perry,” she said. Then, altogether, they chorused, “And we play country music.”

The crowd roared in agreement.

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