"After 11 years, this couldn't be sweeter," James Otto told fans and friends Thursday afternoon (June 5) at a party held at a Nashville nightclub to celebrate his first No. 1 single, "Just Got Started Lovin' You." Otto was alluding to the 11 years he's been chasing his dream in Music City.
The party was jointly sponsored by BMI and SESAC, two of the major performance rights organizations, and Warner Bros. Records, Otto's label. Otto's fans who were in Nashville for the CMA Music Festival were invited to the event.
Besides recording and co-producing the song, Otto also co-wrote it with D. Vincent Williams and Jim Femino, both of whom were honored. Femino was on hand for his award, but Williams was at Camp LeJeune, singing for the Marines. It is the first No. 1 for all three writers.
Also missing from the party was Otto's co-producer and fellow MuzikMafia stalwart, John Rich. Publisher Dale Bobo, who heads Warner/Chappell's Nashville operations, joked that Rich is so well-off from writing, producing and hosting TV shows that, "He scoffs at $4 gasoline."
BMI vice president Jody Williams applauded Otto for his persistence, saying, "We've all seen so many people knocked back so many times that they just leave -- and who can blame them?"
Warner Bros. promotion chief Gator Michaels said Otto was always appreciative of the work done on his behalf, noting that he brought the promotion staff a bottle of Dom Perignon champagne after they got "Just Started Lovin' You" into the Top 20.
In addition to all the plaques and trophies Otto carried away for his achievement, Blake Garrison, head of Elite II Racing, presented the singer a Chevrolet racing car that bears his name on the bumper and an image of his Sunset Man album cover on the hood. Otto is a longtime motorsports fan.