Will Hoge found a novel way to celebrate his first #1 single. The Nashville singer/songwriter scored the huge hit when Eli Young Band recorded his song “Even If It Breaks Your Heart,” and because Hoge is currently without a publishing deal, he decided to poke fun at himself in the form of a giant banner in his front yard congratulating himself on the accomplishment.
“Whenever somebody has a #1 song, you go up and down Music Row and you see these banners hanging in front saying ‘So and So Music Congratulates so and so on the #1 hit,'” Hoge tells American Songwriter. “And then there’s the one next door “Warner Brothers congratulates so and so on their #1 hit.” And so I made a joke, since Eli recorded this version of “Even If It Breaks Your Heart.” I said, ‘If the song goes number one, I guess I’ll put the banner in front of my house.’ And I kinda laughed about it.”
A man of his word, when “Even If It Breaks Your Heart” went #1 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart, Hoge had one of his wife’s friends from Music Row print up the banner.
Not an overnight sensation, Hoge co-wrote and recorded the song in 2009 for his album The Wreckage. Eli Young Band decided to dust it off for their 2011 album, Life at Best, and wrote the album around the song. The Eli Young version entered the charts in December 2011 and Hoge admits he had his doubts about how high it would place.
“Everybody’s told me that you just really have to pay attention to the charts,” he says. “I felt flattered. Not having a publishing deal and not depending on this money or this exposure, even if it got in the 20s, I figured it was gonna be more money than I had ever seen, more exposure than I had ever got. When it started going in the 10s, it really started going up really fast. When it got to #2, I got a little nervous if it would do the job. But those guys, the band, and their record label, they ensured me they would make it happen and they did.”
But the really story here is that Hoge, a successful Nashville songwriter, is without a publishing deal.
“It’s not a lack of interest — I would love to have someone that I felt like would be a partner in the publishing world,” Hoge says. “I just haven’t found the right relationship. What would be more of a problem is if I was more of a songwriter just trying to get country songs recorded. I think it can be a bigger problem. There’s always an outlet for me with songs. It’s maybe not an ideal situation but it’s functional.”
Hoge says he is pushing forward regardless, and plans to finish up a new record in late August, and hit the road for a tour after its release.