Through songs such as “Mine,” “White Horse” and “Fifteen,” Taylor Swift has shown a real appreciation for great drama and complex character development.
This week, she’s experienced drama firsthand. On Tuesday, she won BMI’s Country Songwriter of the Year award, becoming the youngest person ever to claim it. And she and co-writer Liz Rose shared Country Song of the Year for “You Belong With Me,” recognized as the most-played country title over a full year, according to the performing rights organization.
Just a day earlier, Taylor sang at a funeral for a friend.
“It’s been a really emotional week,” she told the crowd. “He was 21, and I used to play my songs for him first. So I would like to thank Jeff Lang.”
Taylor’s top honors capped a star-studded night at the BMI offices on Nashville’s Music Row, where the parking lot is rather amazingly converted into a ballroom each year to honor the agency’s top writers in the genre. It was possible to reach the ballroom by sharing an elevator with both Lady Antebellum and Keith Urban (we know this from firsthand experience). And the room was filled with familiar faces: Jason Aldean, Kristian Bush, Miranda Lambert, Blake Shelton, Tim McGraw, Uncle Kracker, the Zac Brown Band, Rodney Atkins and Clay Walker, just for starters. Click HERE to see photos from the night!
Awards were handed out to a ream of songwriters and music publishers to honor significant airplay for such titles as “Cowboy Casanova,” “Gettin’ You Home (The Black Dress Song),” “Big Green Tractor,” “American Ride,” “One In Every Crowd” and “White Liar.”
Taylor’s drama was not the only emotional moment during the proceedings. Just six months removed from his entry in the Country Music Hall of Fame, songwriter and producer Billy Sherrill was honored as a BMI Icon, putting him in a class with Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, James Brown, Willie Nelson and Kris Kristofferson.
Billy authored a ton of hits during his career, including David Houston’s “Almost Persuaded,” Joe Stampley’s “Soul Song,” Keith Whitley’s “Ten Feet Away” and Johnny Paycheck’s “Friend, Lover, Wife.” Billy’s eyes grew moist as four vocal icons delivered new versions of some of his biggest songwriting titles: Ronnie Dunn sang the Charlie Rich million-seller “The Most Beautiful Girl,” Martina McBride covered the Tammy Wynette classic “‘Til I Can Make It On My Own,” George Strait delivered “My Elusive Dreams” and Faith Hill closed the tribute with Tammy’s signature “Stand By Your Man.”
“This has overwhelmed me,” Billy said in a short acceptance speech.
Nashville does it for the cameras Wednesday night. Brad Paisley and Carrie Underwood will host the 44th annual Country Music Association Awards on ABC. Check out our by-the-minute coverage of the awards show HERE, including the stars on the carpet, the show, the winners, backstage interviews and more!