Image by Erika Goldring (Getty Images for BMI)
Country music's biggest stars and songwriters gathered Tuesday (Nov. 8) evening at the BMI Country Awards to honor the musicians making a significant impact on the genre.
Michael Hardy was named Songwriter of The Year, and Luke Combs' smash hit "Forever After All" was recognized as Country Song of The Year. Broadcast Music Inc is the largest music rights organization in the United States. The music giant collects and distributes royalties to songwriters and publishers.
Approximately 900 guests appeared at the star-studded affair to celebrate the masterminds behind some of the most successful songs of 2022 –Walker Hayes' "Fancy Like," Miranda Lambert's "If I Was a Cowboy," Elvie Shane's "My Boy," Keith Urban's "Wild Hearts," and more. Country sensation Toby Keith received the BMI Icon Award, previously presented to legends like Dolly Parton, Merle Haggard, Loretta Lynn, and Willie Nelson.
HARDY's progressive songwriting was acknowledged during the prestigious ceremony. Although HARDY recently broke into the country landscape as a vocalist, he's been one of the most esteemed songwriters on Music Row for quite some time. Since 2018, the country rocker penned 12 No.1 singles for himself and A-listers.
The Mississippi native co-wrote five of BMI's top 50 songs, including Dierks Bentley's "Beers On Me," "Come Back As A Country Boy" by Blake Shelton, Morgan Wallen's "Sand In My Boots," Cole Swindell's "Single Saturday Night," and his chart-topping track "Give Heaven Some Hell."
"When I heard that I had won this award - this is very recently, and a true story - my first thought was just, 'I'm so glad that I'm with BM,'" he recalled in his acceptance speech. "Because it's the only way I would ever beat Ashley Gorley at anything."
HARDY rattled off notable names in the industry that played a vital role in his success.
"I want to thank every songwriter in this room - Casey Beathard, Ashley…I see so many people in here tonight that took a chance on me when I had nothing. You guys saw something in me and gave me a shot as a songwriter because you thought that something I was doing as a writer had a little meat on its bone," he said. "You have no idea how much that fueled my fire and how much that inspired me to know that what I was doing was something worth believing in."
The decorated artist continued, "I want to thank BMI so much for being here for me every single step of the way, for introducing me to some of my favorite collaborators that I still write with to this day. For creating opportunities for me that helped advance my songwriting career. I can honestly say without a doubt that I don't know where I would be in this town if that 19-year-old kid wouldn't have walked into this building and blindly signed. Thank you so, so much."
On the heels of his well-deserved accolade, the clever songsmith will join Lainey Wilson to deliver their impactful duet "wait in the truck" at the 56th Annual Country Music Association Awards tonight, Nov. 9. HARDY is gearing up for his sold-out headlining Wall to Wall Tour this winter and mockingbird & THE CROW Tour in 2023.
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