ASCAP honored Keith Urban’s latest No. 1, “Blue Ain’t Your Color,” written by Clint Lagerberg, Hillary Lindsey and Steven Lee Olsen, on Friday, March 3 at Nashville’s Basement East.
Urban’s 22nd No. 1 was not only nominated during the 2017 Grammy Awards but is up for Song and Single Record of the Year at the ACM Awards where he leads the nominations with a total of seven. Voting for the April 2nd event closes March 6.
As tradition with an Urban party, the songwriters joined the Capitol Records Nashville artist on stage to perform the track and kick off the event.
ASCAP’s Mike Sistad was on hand to welcome the crowd on behalf of sponsor First Tennessee Bank, and helped introduce the songwriters and artists with creative manager Beth Brinker.
Olsen had the idea for “Blue Ain’t Your Color,” and originally held the song for the Canadian’s Columbia Nashville project, which was never released.
Lindsey celebrated her 18th No. 1 with the song. BMG’s Daniel Lee remarked, “This song outperformed what everyone thought it could do. It connected with fans of the format and strangers of the genre. These [parties] don’t get better than this. And to Hillary: You’re the best songwriter I know. Period. The best.”
“I have no idea why they had this amazing idea and asked me to help write it,” said Lindsey of her two co-writers. “We had a blast that night—there was so much freedom to just be and let the song come alive. There was so much electricity in the air and magic. Especially songwriters, we need co-writers, musicians and people that inspire us and get us to strive higher. Thank you guys for being that for me. And for Keith—your heart is tuned in to what music is supposed to be.”
Marc Driskill of Sea Gayle, on behalf of Spirit Music’s Daniel Hill, noted the song is in rare air—earning No. 1 on all four Billboard charts. “I think this is one of three songs that that has ever happened with. That’s an enormous feat—12 weeks on the Top Country Songs chart. No doubt this song found its right home.”
“It’s been such a blur the last year working so much,” commented Lagerberg. “I haven’t taken very much time to let it hit me, but it is now. I knew when I met Steven that he would be the little brother I never had. He lived at my house for like a year.”
Nate Lowery offered remarks for Olsen’s first No. 1 on behalf of Cornman Music’s Brett James and Warner/Chappell’s Ben Vaughn. “It was your dream to sing someday with Keith, and this happened,” said Lowery. “When Missi Gallimore called that day looking for songs for Keith, you [Steven] said Keith was the only artist he would want to record it. So thank you Keith.”
After bringing Missi Gallimore to the stage, Olsen thanked his family and Urban, who inspired him to move to Nashville. “Keith made me realize I didn’t have to be anything I wasn’t and that gave me the courage to move to Nashville 11 years ago. I made a record last year with Clint that never got to come out. That was a tough time for me. We spent a year putting our blood, sweat and tears in a record. But Keith gave me the wind the first time to move here, and here he is again with this song. He continues to inspire me.”
Universal Music Group’s Mike Dungan then took the stage to “expound on the magnificence” of Urban, who celebrates his 20th year at the label this year. “It’s wonderful that a magnificent work of art is being appreciated by the rest of the world,” commented Dungan after touting stats for Ripcord. Dungan delivered impaler awards and streaming plaques to songwriters in addition to a plaque for Urban, commemorating the Ripcord‘s No. 1 status in three territories: Canada, US and Australia.
“If anyone had any amount of awareness to how much work Keith has put in these albums—especially the last two—it is astonishing,” noted Dungan. “No one works as hard in this industry at making every track special and making sure he never stays in the same place—always progressing, always throwing curve balls and more than relevant. Keith, for a record label, it is absolutely a dream come true to work with you.”
Additional presenters included Jim Asker of Billboard for Urban’s 37 consecutive Top 10 hits not including “The Fighter,” which brings the total to 38. Billboard‘s record for the constraint is 41. Pandora’s Rachel Whitney and Beville Dunkerley delivered a wood record plaque and noted a cumulative spin total for Urban at 2 billion spins on the service. Holly Freeman from the CRB and Brandi Simms from the CMA also presented.
Produced by Dann Huff mentioned mixing “legend” Chris Lord-Alge before Urban welcomed him to the stage.
“As a songwriter, I so understand the conundrum of writing a song like that and either keeping it as the launching song for me or giving it to someone else,” said Urban. “A handful of people find themselves in that place in this town every now and then. I value this song as much as you. These songs are rare, and you don’t just give them away.”
Urban went on to thank many of the studio players involved. He concluded, citing his influence from Nashville, including Don Williams/Garth Fundis records (like Portrait), which helped Urban understand how minimalism in the studio can frame a song just right.
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About the AuthorEric T. Parker oversees marketing initiatives and contributes editorial for MusicRow's print magazine, MusicRow.com, the RowFax tip sheet and the MusicRow CountryBreakout chart. He also facilitates annual events for the enterprise, including MusicRow Awards, CountryBreakout Awards and the Rising Women on the Row. [email protected] @EricTParker
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