When Brinley Addington received a downloadable file from Ryan Hurd back in January, the singer-songwriter thought it was just another demo from his friend since their college days. When he pressed play, he was flooded with emotion. After seven years, “Chasing After You”—the first song he wrote with Jerry Flowers, who he describes as “ridiculously talented”—finally landed, and with the right people.
Recorded by Hurd and his wife, Maren Morris, and nominated as ‘Collaborative Video of the Year’, “Chasing After You” is still one of Addington’s favorite songs he’s ever written.
“You don’t always walk out of the writer’s room thinking ‘We did it,'” he explains. “But that day, I was almost scared — like that song is gonna do something big. It’s simple, honest, and direct.”
At that point in time, Addington was writing for himself, with hopes of recording his songs as an artist. Over the last few years, he has backed up from that vision, aligning himself with a more “fulfilling” path as a songwriter.
He adds, “This one taught me that if you put the song first, just put great music first, the rest works itself out.”
After the song was written, Addington tested it out at a show one night at Belcourt Taps in Nashville. Morris and Hurd were also part of the lineup. The two, now married with a child, had not even started dating at the time. Hurd approached Addington after the show asking about the song. Flowers, who played in Keith Urban’s band, sent it to him for feedback. When Urban heard it, he put it on hold and eventually cut the song. Hurd checked back periodically over the years. After Urban ultimately decided not to record it, Hurd finally took it on a few years ago.
“When I opened that file and heard them singing my song so well, it just brought up a lot of feelings,” Addington tells American Songwriter over the phone.
He kept the show poster from that night at Belcourt Taps with both artists’ names listed next to his. Looking up at that souvenir on the wall, he continues, “Talking to Maren and Ryan about it on the phone that night, I was so emotional. Those two don’t need me to write them a great song—they can do that all on their own. But they cut this one and gave it everything they have. I wouldn’t want anyone else to have this song.”
Addington calls the recorded song “a family thing.” Co-produced by one of his best friends in Nashville, Aaron Eshuis, along with Teddy Reimer, “Chasing After You” features his dear friend and publisher, Derek Wells on guitar, and another friend and former drummer, Phil Lawson on drums.
Now, having it nominated for CMT ‘Collaborative Video of the Year’ was another exciting full-circle moment for the songwriter. Growing up, Addington spent the summers at his grandmother’s house. CMT, he says, “was a great babysitter for me and my love of country music. I would sit in front of that TV all day long and just watch the videos over and over again.”
After losing his grandmother earlier this year, the honor of his first award show feature being on CMT feels elevated.
“I feel very blessed to have this occupation, this gift of music in my life. When you’re young, and you’re going through hard times—personal problems, or losing a publishing deal—you think ‘If I could just have a hit, it would fix everything.’ Of course, it won’t. But after so long, seeing this song land where it has, it is as special as having a single on radio could possibly be.”
Addington concludes, “But the thing I’m most proud of is that I get to share this with people I really care about. It just wouldn’t have been this special if it happened any sooner.”
Watch the CMT nominated video for “Chasing After You,” below. Tune into the CT Awards on Wednesday, June 8/7 CT here.