Kenny Chesney Receives BMI Presidents Award at the 2016 BMI Country Awards

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Keith Urban, Eric Church and Dean Dillon pay tribute to the songwriting legend

Ross Copperman, Sony/ATV among honorees

Congressman Doug Collins receives BMI Champion Award

Posted in on November 2, 2016

BMI President & CEO Mike O'Neill and BMI Vice President, Writer/Publisher Relations Jody Williams pose with 2016 President's Award recipient Kenny Chesney. Photo: John Shearer/Getty Images for BMI

BMI proudly presented its 2016 BMI Country Awards last night, honoring the prolific songwriting career of BMI President’s Award winner Kenny Chesney, as well as the Country Songwriter, Song and Publisher of the Year. The 64th annual event, which is the genre’s oldest awards ceremony, also celebrated the songwriters and publishers of the most-performed country songs of the past year. BMI President and CEO Mike O’Neill hosted the ceremony at the Company’s office in Nashville, along with Jody Williams, BMI Vice President, Writer/Publisher Relations, Nashville.

Chesney, who was named this year’s BMI President’s Award winner, joins an elite list of songwriters across all genres including P!nk, Taylor Swift, Adam Levine, Willie Nelson, Brooks & Dunn and Gloria & Emilio Estefan. He was honored with a tribute concert from fellow songwriters and musicians, Keith Urban, Eric Church and Dean Dillion. The BMI President’s Award is presented to songwriters who have distinctly and profoundly influenced the entertainment industry. Chesney’s most performed single, “I Go Back,” was given a heartfelt performance by Urban, while Church treated the audience to the classic “Anything But Mine.” “The Tin Man,” Chesney’s first single, and one he wrote alone, was performed by Dillon.

Ross Copperman was named Songwriter of the Year, with writing credits on seven of the most-performed songs of the past year, including Florida Georgia Line’s “Confession,” Billy Currington’s “Don’t It,” Brett Eldredge’s “Drunk on Your Love” and “Lose My Mind,” Keith Urban’s “John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16,” A Thousand Horses’ “Smoke” and Luke Bryan’s “Strip It Down.”

“Die a Happy Man,” written by performer Thomas Rhett with BMI songwriter Sean Douglas and Joe London, won the coveted Song of the Year award. Published by Brodsky Spensive Publishing, Cricket On The Line, Eastman Pond Publishing, EMI-Blackwood Music, Inc., Music of BIG DEAL, Nice Life and Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp., the track was one of the most-performed country songs of the year.

Sony/ATV Music Publishing Nashville continued their incredible winning streak of more than a decade, again taking home the Publisher of the Year accolade. Responsible for 22 of the 50 most-performed songs of the year, Sony/ATV published megahits such as Cam’s “Burning House,” Cole Swindell’s “Let Me See Ya Girl,” Chesney’s “Wild Child,” and many more. During the ceremony, BMI also saluted the songwriters and publishers of the 50 most-performed country songs of the previous year. In addition, Congressman Doug Collins (R-GA-9) was presented with the BMI Champion Award for his tireless efforts to modernize the laws that protect songwriters and ensure that music creators are fairly compensated for their work.

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