ASCAP, the performance rights organization, hosted a party at the South bar in Nashville on Monday afternoon (Jan. 30) to honor singer William Michael Morgan and the writers of his first hit, “I Met a Girl.”
Written by Sam Hunt, Shane McAnally and Trevor Rosen, “I Met a Girl” peaked at No. 2 in Billboard in 2015.
Hunt did not attend the celebration, but ASCAP’s Mike Sistad reminded the partygoers that Hunt’s first album, Montevallo, had spun off four No. 1 singles and that he had been named ASCAP’s songwriter-artist of the year in 2015.
Also speaking for ASCAP, Beth Brinker lauded McAnally for having written and produced “more than 25 No. 1’s,” including the multi-artist “Forever Country” single used to promote the 50th anniversary of the CMA Awards show.
Brinker also noted that McAnally has been named co-president of the newly revived Monument Records.
She tipped her hat to Rosen for having co-written such hits as Blake Shelton’s “Sangria,” The Band Perry’s “Better Dig Two” and Dierks Bentley’s “Say You Do.” In addition to penning hits for other acts, Rosen is a member of Old Dominion, which last year won the Academy of Country Music award for best new vocal group.
Brinker described Morgan’s singing style as “a fresh take on a classic kind of sound,” a style he developed and refined while performing in Mississippi bars as a teenager and covering songs by such immortals as Merle Haggard, George Strait and Waylon Jennings.
Other speakers joined Morgan and the songwriters onstage to remark on the tenacity and longevity of “I Met a Girl” as it inched its way up the charts, once falling off entirely, before returning to the climb. In all, the song was on the charts for 58 weeks.
“When ’Little Willie’ came into our office, that voice just rocked our soul,” said John Esposito, head of Warner Music, Morgan’s label. He announced that Morgan will sing on the New Faces Show during the upcoming Country Radio Seminar.
“I could be cheesy and thank the Good Lord first,” said Morgan when it came his turn to address the crowd. “I’m a grown man, and I’m about to tear up.”
Instead, he directed most of his thanks to the songwriters, his producers Scott Hendricks and Jimmy Ritchey and the promotion department at Warner Music.
He also saluted his fiancée, Runaway June’s Jennifer Wayne, who stood in the crowd, and briefly held his infant daughter, Presley, for everyone to admire.