The NMPA Honors Multi-Platinum Songwriters with Help From Keith Urban, Lee Brice, and More

Having a song go Platinum is quite a feat for a songwriter. Having that record go nine or ten times Platinum is reserved for those in rarified air. On Wednesday night (October 25), the National Music Publisher’s Association celebrated their Gold & Platinum songwriters at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, Tennessee. In the crowd were some of country’s finest purveyors—all of whom have secured mammoth hits.

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The honorees had single Platinum records all the way up to 10-time Platinum records. As was pointed out to the crowd, a song never loses eligibility for Platinum status. That meant songs from past years were celebrated alongside new offerings.

Given how large the reach of these songs is—along with the fact much of the audience consisted of country writers and fanatics—there wasn’t a single tune the audience couldn’t sing along to. Highlights among the songs being honored were “Beer Never Broke My Heart” (Luke Combs), “Summertime” (Kenny Chesney),” and “Pontoon” (Little Big Town).

While much of the night consisted of an onslaught of names read off by an NMPA official—as there were 90 multi-platinum songwriters to get through—the organization slowed things down for a few stellar performances from Ian Munsick, Brittney Spencer, Lee Brice, and Keith Urban.

Rising star Munsick was up first to sing his bluegrass hit “Long Live Cowgirls.” Before launching into the smoky track, he thanked country fans for making this track his biggest yet. “It was the first time I’d played a song and couldn’t hear myself because the audience was doing it so loud,” he told the audience. It was inspiring to see such a stellar voice from the next generation of country artists get his moment in a room full of long-established talent.

Photo Credit: Tony Sarria 

Spencer had an equally powerful performance of Little Big Town’s “Girl Crush.” The multi-platinum track sounded as sweet as ever in Spencer’s rich voice. The crowd was clearly moved by her meandering runs and soul-touching high notes.

The performance was particularly poignant for Spencer, who recalled the moment she first understood the breadths of the Nashville community. “I saw [‘Girl Crush’] on hats and shirts,” she said. The way people rallied around “Girl Crush” was inspiring to a burgeoning Spencer, who realized the power of being a songwriter through this song.

Later on in the night, Brice came onto the stage to perform “Rumor,” which he wrote with Ashley Gorley and Kyle Jacobs. His live rendition of the tune was impassioned. He sang every note with an emotional emphasis.

Urban brought the crowd to their feet—not that anyone is surprised. The country icon performed the Steven Lee Olsen, Hillary Lindsey, and Clint Lagerberg penned hit, “Blue Ain’t Your Color.” Lindsey, who was in attendance, halted the performance in an effort to get her dad closer to the stage.

“He can’t see you,” she called out from the crowd. Urban, clearly thankful for her contribution to his career, stopped in his tracks to make sure the elder Lindsey had a front-row spot. It was a touching moment that put the honor of writing a multi-platinum song in perspective.

[RELATED: Dolly Parton, Kenny Chesney & Eric Church Honor Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame Inductees]

Photo Credit: Tony Sarria 

Speaking of Lindsey, the songwriter took home the award for Female Songwriter of the Year. Lindsey has written for the likes of Lady Gaga, Little Big Town, Carrie Underwood, Taylor Swift, and more.

“I feel the need to go off script for my friend Hillary,” NMPA President & CEO David Israelite said before presenting her with the award. “She has a lot of credentials that you know about, but I met her dad tonight for the first time.

“As a father of two young girls, I’m trying to imagine how proud he must be of her,” he continued. “I can’t even fathom watching my little girls grow up and accomplish the types of things that Hillary has accomplished.”

Lindsay was joined in the honor by Ashley Gorley. He took home the award for Male Songwriter of the Year. Gorley has lent his hit-making prowess to Morgan Wallen, Luke Bryan, Chris Stapleton, Dustin Lynch, and more.

Israelite also ignored the teleprompter while introducing Gorley. A longtime football fan, he compared the songwriter to NFL icon Tom Brady.

“If you’ve gotten to see Tom Brady play or Ashley Gorley write, you are witnessing greatness,” he said. “I’m so proud that he’s receiving so much praise.”

If anything was evident about this NMPA ceremony, it’s that country songwriters continue to deliver unstoppable hits. The sheer amount of multi-platinum records was staggering.

Featured Photo Credit: Tony Sarria / NMPA

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