Nashville celebrated another country music success story Monday (Aug. 23) as Jerrod Niemann's friends, family and business associates gathered at BMI's offices on Music Row to congratulate the Kansas native on his No. 1 single, "Lover, Lover." The track is the first single from his chart-topping debut album, Judge Jerrod & the Hung Jury.
Photo Credit: Marilu White
Jody Williams, vice president of writer/publisher relations for the performance rights organization, addressed the eager crowd that included some of Music Row's major players like Jamey Johnson, Kix Brooks and record producer Frank Rogers.
"Jerrod, all of your good friends are here," Williams said with a big smile. "Our music community knows you. We've known you for years, and we've watched you struggle, but you never gave up. Everyone in this room today knows that this business can simply take you out and put you through the ringer. But not you."
In fact, getting to this point for Niemann has taken nearly a decade. Though he did experience success as a co-writer of Garth Brooks' 2005 hit, "Good Ride Cowboy," his time in the limelight has just begun. After succumbing to two failed record deals and a bout with depression, Niemann relied heavily on his friends for support until he eventually signed with Sea Gayle/Arista Nashville.
Aside from talking about his current single, Niemann also announced to reporters prior to his No. 1 celebration that he just finished shooting the music video for his second single, "What Do You Want" featuring vocals by Rachel Bradshaw, daughter of football great and television personality Terry Bradshaw.
"If nothing else, this is the story of how the Nashville creative community supports one of their own so they don't give up," Williams noted of Niemann's late-blooming success.
"I sat in Nashville staring at the wall and complaining about the music industry for nearly a decade. So it's time to cheer up," Niemann said with a grin. "At the end of the day, if you're going to be somebody, you might as well be yourself."
He later told the crowd, "We're here because of a great song. This song has not only changed my life, but a lot of the lives of people in here."
The song was written by Daniel Pritzker, a founding member of the rock band Sonia Dada. He said he wrote the song one morning in 1992 when his wife neglected to put on the daily pot of coffee before leaving the house. Recounting his feelings about the episode, Pritzker said, "I put the kettle on the stove, and I threw the guitar on and I wrote the song. That's the truth."
Her simple gesture -- or lack thereof -- was just the jolt Pritzker needed to write the song that appeared on Sonia Dada's 1992 debut album under the original title of "You Don't Treat Me No Good." Now it's No. 1 country single as "Lover, Lover."
Williams remarked that when Pritzker wrote this song, he probably didn't envision he'd be flying to Nashville years later to celebrate his No. 1 country song.
But it was Niemann who appropriately brought his success story full circle when he said, "I love country music, and I love music so much just to be a part of it, whether I just did the silly hand claps or wrote the song. To me, just being a part of creating country music is all equal to me."
View photos from the No. 1 party.