‘Fancy Like’ and Songwriter Josh Jenkins Celebrated at SESAC’s 2022 Nashville Music Awards

SESAC Song of the Year - Fancy Like; Photo by Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for SESAC
SESAC Song of the Year - Fancy Like; Photo by Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for SESAC
SESAC Song of the Year - Fancy Like; Photo by Terry Wyatt/Getty Images for SESAC

For the first time in three years, the performing rights organization SESAC celebrated its songwriters and music publishers in person, recognizing the year’s most-performed country and Americana songs at its annual Nashville Music Awards at the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum on Sunday, November 6.

SESAC affiliates Lee Brice and Blanco Brown kicked off the night with a performance of Brice’s latest single “Soul,” which was recently certified gold by the RIAA. 

Lee Brice; Photo by Katie Kauss
Lee Brice; Photo by Katie Kauss

Brice told Country Now that the pair just met in person for the first time during soundcheck for the performance, although they had spoken on the phone several times. “First time we ever met and sang together. We sang it twice and he said, let’s do it. He’s a freak. So talented. So talented, humble, fun, lights up a stage. Love him.”

The “Soul” singer also shared that when he originally heard the demo for the track, he thought it was too much of a stretch from what he would normally record. “The demo was very far from what I would ever do, but the next day I was hearing this melody in my head,” recalls Brice, who ended up calling his friend, J.R. Schumann, who had sent him the demo. “The next day I called him back and go, man, I might record this song, how I would hear it recorded. I think I have to see if I could bring it far enough to my world to where it fits into my world. That’s what I did.” He added, “And then, damn, if it wasn’t special and different and not like anything on the radio. It wasn’t like Jason Aldean, it wasn’t like whoever, it was it’s own thing. That’s what you gotta do at radio right now, you know? Gotta do something unique. And so it’s definitely unique and I think it kind of came from the fact that it was just your different song. So we’re thankful for it.”

Brown shared with Country Now how the remix with Brice came about. ”I was in the studio, heard the new track and he was like, man, you should get on this. It’s dope. It’s got your name over it. I said, let me do it. I wrote my verse. We sent it to Lee’s team. They loved it and voila, we’re performing it tonight. Opening up the SESAC Awards 2022, we back.”

SESAC Songwriter of the Year, Josh Jenkins; Photo by Kate Kauss
SESAC Songwriter of the Year, Josh Jenkins; Photo by Kate Kauss

Josh Jenkins was named SESAC’s Songwriter of the Year for his outstanding achievements, penning chart-topping hits such as “Buy Dirt,” recorded by Jordan Davis featuring Luke Bryan, and “Fancy Like,” recorded by Walker Hayes.

SESAC’s Song of the Year award went to “Fancy Like,” complete with Oreo milkshakes distributed to the audience as the accolade was announced. The chart-topping song was published by SMACK, who took home the title of Publisher of the Year, after previously winning the trophy in 2020.

Derek Wells; Photo by Katie Kauss
Derek Wells; Photo by Katie Kauss

Affiliate Derek Wells was surprised with the Spirit of SESAC Award, recognizing his musical contributions of playing on over 100 number one songs. To honor Wells, Brinley Addington, Joey Hyde, Mike Walker, Aaron Eshuis, Phil Lawson, and Allison Veltz Cruz performed a medley of some of those hits. 

L-R: Mike Walker, Phil Lawson, Ryan Beaver, Aaron Eshuis, Joey Hyde, Brinley Addington, Ward Guenther Front: Derek Wells; Photo by Katie Kauss
L-R: Mike Walker, Phil Lawson, Ryan Beaver, Aaron Eshuis, Joey Hyde, Brinley Addington, Ward Guenther Front: Derek Wells; Photo by Katie Kauss

Before the ceremony, Country Now spoke to attendees on the red carpet, who shared which songs from the past year have influenced their writing.

Lee Brice says that HARDY’s “Give Heaven Some Hell” stood out to him. “It’s just so hip and musical, but it’s got this country root, whole big bass to it. I love that about HARDY and about the writers on that, that style. I think it’s really cool.”

For Tyler Rich, he connected with the lyrics of Jimmie Allen’s “Down Home” after losing his own father last year. “That’s the perfect way, in my opinion, to have something with a massive hook. It’s so catchy. The melodies are infectious and it’s got so much heart at the same time.”

For Tenille Arts and her “Something Like That” co-writers Alex Kline and Allison Veltz Cruz, they’ve been inspired by Ingrid Andress’ music, including the songs “Things That Haven’t Happened Yet” and “Wishful Drinking.”

Newcomer Spencer Crandall also named Andress as one of his recent favorites. “There’s a new Ingrid Andress song called Blue that I am obsessed with. It’s my comfort listen song.”

Runaway June’s Jennifer Wayne was floored by “Til You Can’t,” Cody Johnson’s breakout hit. “It’s so insane. I have chills thinking about it. I remember hearing that on the radio going, Oh my gosh, I wish I would’ve written that song. It’s so good.”

2022 SESAC Nashville Music Awards Winners

Songwriter of the Year: Josh Jenkins

Song of the Year: “Fancy Like”

Publisher of the Year: SMACK

Spirit of SESAC Award: Derek Wells

Performance Honorees:

“FANCY LIKE”

Written by: Josh Jenkins 

Published by: Follow Me Where I Go, SMACK Songs, Kobalt Group Publishing 

Recorded by: Walker Hayes 

“BUY DIRT”

Written by: Josh Jenkins

Published by: Follow Me Where I Go, SMACK Songs, Kobalt Group Publishing 

Recorded by: Jordan Davis ft. Luke Bryan 

“SAME BOAT”

Written by: Zac Brown, Ben Simonetti 

Published by: Day For The Dead Publishing, Kobalt Group Publishing 

Recorded by: Zac Brown Band 

“FREEDOM WAS A HIGHWAY”

Written by: Jimmie Allen 

Published by: Endurance Juliet, Sony Music Publishing

Recorded by: Jimmie Allen and Brad Paisley 

“WILD HEARTS”

Written by: Jennifer Wayne 

Published by: Wild Wild Wild West Songs, BMG Silver Songs

Recorded by: Keith Urban 

“7500 OBO”

Written by: Matt McGinn

Published by: 

McGinndependence Day, SMACK Songs, Kobalt Group Publishing 

Recorded by: Tim McGraw 

“LAST NIGHT LONELY”

Written by: Joe Fox 

Published by: Liz Rose Music, Warner Chappell Music 

Recorded by: Jon Pardi 

“TRUTH ABOUT YOU”

Written by: Matt Alderman

Published by: Good Vibes Good Times Music, Curb Congregation Songs

Recorded by: Mitchell Tenpenny

“LIKE I LOVE COUNTRY MUSIC”

Written by: Matt McGinn

Published by: McGinndependence Day, SMACK Songs, Kobalt Group Publishing 

Recorded by: Kane Brown 

“UP”

Written by: Jeremy Bussey

Published by: Hit By The Buss Music, Songs of Fluid, Spirit Music Nashville 

Recorded by: Luke Bryan 

“HOME SWEET”

Written by: Casey Brown

Published by: Blue Corolla Oklahoma, Feel Your Creative Pulse Music 

Recorded by: Russell Dickerson

“23”

Written by: Chris LaCorte

Published by: Card Tables Music, Concord Tunes, Hang Your Hat Hits

Recorded by: Sam Hunt 

“HELLBENT FOR LEATHER”

Written by: Ray Wylie Hubbard

Published by: Snake Farm Publishing, BMG Silver Songs 

Recorded by: Ray Wylie Hubbard 

“NICE THINGS”

Written by: Hayes Carll 

Published by: Highway 87 Publishing, BMG Silver Songs 

Recorded by: Hayes Carll 

“MODERN WOMAN”

Written by: Erin Rae 

Published by: Good Memory, Confidentially Canadian Publishing 

Recorded by: Erin Rae 

“IN DREAMS”

Written by: Sierra Ferrell 

Published by: Abel Elba, Pulse Music Publishing

Recorded by: Sierra Ferrell 

“THE OPPORTUNITY TO HELP SOMEBODY THROUGH IT”

Written by: Jim Lauderdale 

Published by: Wudang Mountain Songs, BMG Silver Songs 

Recorded by: Jim Lauderdale