It was a family affair for a family trio -- and a self-proclaimed family of songwriters -- as The Band Perry expressed thanks and admiration for the writers of its latest No. 1 single, "Better Dig Two."
Photo Credit: Marilu White
Packing their extended families and friends into the second floor lounge of Nashville's Hard Rock Café on Tuesday (March 5), songwriters Brandy Clark, Shane McAnally and Trevor Rosen stood onstage with obvious excitement. For two of the three, "Better Dig Two" was their very first No. 1 song.
ASCAP creative manager Robert Filhart began the ceremony by relating the story which brought each of the honored songwriters to this point in their careers.
Clark, who came to Nashville as a student at Belmont University, eventually began doing administrative work for a small music publishing company. After discovering Clark's hidden talent, the publisher offered her a contract to write songs for the same company where she had been answering phones. "Better Dig Two" is her first No. 1.
Rosen came to town from Michigan in 2003 with a degree in psychology. With the support of his wife, he uprooted the family and set off on what he described as an "adventure." A gifted instrumentalist, it was Rosen's distinctive guit-jo intro that began the song's creation. It is also his first No. 1.
As the relative veteran of the bunch, McAnally was no stranger to the hubbub and applause that comes with writing a chart-topping single. In fact, he currently has six songs on the country chart, including Kacey Musgraves' "Merry Go Round" and Miranda Lambert's "Mama's Broken Heart." His first No. 1 was for Kenny Chesney's "Somewhere With You," and he's earned a nomination for songwriter of the year at the upcoming ACM Awards.
Big Machine Label Group, whose Republic Nashville imprint releases The Band Perry's music, sent over its top two executives Scott Borchetta and Jimmy Harnen to offer their congratulations.
Harnen offered plaques of appreciation to everyone involved, including the label's radio promotion team which gained the airplay required for the song to generate a hit.
Borchetta praised the songwriters while admitting that his team, and many other teams around Nashville, had been excited about the project from the start. He then thanked the Perry siblings for immediately recognizing the song's potential and turning in such a striking performance.
"There comes a moment for an artist after they achieve some initial success," said Borchetta. "And The Band Perry really took on their moment to make a new record. And that's hard to do."
That new record will be called Pioneer, and "Better Dig Two" is their first single from the album.
Producer Dann Huff was on hand for the celebration and revealed what he thinks of the new material: "The record is extremely special."
Kimberly Perry was next to stand at the podium, and although her raspy voice hinted at the presence of a cold, she warmly remarked about the "sacred relationship between songwriters and artists in this town."
"We understand that songs are your babies," she said while motioning toward the three writers. "Thank you for letting us be the vessel for this song that we loved instantly. We know a lot of people wanted it."
The songwriters themselves then got a chance to say a few words, and Clark was the first step to the microphone to huge applause from her family and friends in the audience.
Fighting to keep her composure, she first thanked The Band Perry, noting that the trio write great songs on their own without needing to enlist outside help. She then thanked her fellow writers for the inspiration they provide, calling them a family of their own, and thanked the greater songwriting community in Nashville.
Rosen followed to more applause and wore a huge smile as his daughter filmed his speech on a smartphone. He thanked an old friend who inspired him to move to Nashville and then thanked his children for requiring food, which he said was his strongest motivation. With so much of his family in attendance, he also thanked his parents for buying a piano when he was a child, ensuring that music was always present in the house.
"Music is now my primary language," he remarked.
McAnally also thanked the band, saying they took the song and made it sound like they wrote it. He joked that the feat had made him "a little bit scared of Kimberly."
He then summed up the overall theme of the night, saying that he, Clark and Rosen and are truly family and, beyond that, best friends.
"Everybody says that in songwriting," he admitted. "But we are truly in each other's lives in a big way."
After sharing hugs with the attentive Perry siblings, it was time for all the families to come together for a round of group photos.
View photos from the No. 1 party.