Jordan Davis And Ashley Gorley Take Home The Highest Honors At 2023 ASCAP Country Awards
“This is my favorite night of the week,” Davis shared ahead of the big event.
Jordan Davis, Ashley Gorley; Photos by Ed Rode for ASCAP
On Monday (Nov. 7), a select group of top-charting and on-the-rise artists, friends, and top industry creatives gathered together at the 61st ASCAP Country Music Awards to celebrate an esteemed list of Nashville songwriters and publishers who are responsible for 50 of the most-performed ASCAP country songs of the past year.
ASCAP, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, the only US PRO that operates on a not-for-profit basis, hosted this invite-only event at the elegant Twelve Thirty Club located on the main strip of Nashville’s bustling downtown area. Jordan Davis, Kelsea Ballerini, Lainey Wilson, Brothers Osborne, Hailey Whitters, and more were among the star-studded lineup of singer/songwriters who were welcomed onto the red carpet prior to an evening of fine dining and good conversations among their peers.
ASCAP CEO Elizabeth Matthews, ASCAP Chairman of the Board and President Paul Williams and ASCAP Vice President of Nashville Membership Mike Sistad were on hand to present the awards to this year’s top winners, which included Jordan Davis and Ashley Gorley.
Davis claimed his first title of ASCAP Country Music Songwriter/Artist of the Year while two of his No. 1 hits “Next Thing You Know” and “What My World Spins Around” were honored as most-performed songs. Prior to stepping up to the podium to extend his gratitude towards many of those sitting around the room, the MCA Nashville artist caught up with Country Now to reflect on his recognition as a songwriter.
“This is my favorite night of the week. I’ve had so many people that have been in my corner from day one at ASCAP. They were the first building that I walked through when I moved to town and being able to look around and see people like Ashley Gorley, you know, there’s a direct connection to ASCAP,” he explained. “I was either introduced through them or some way I came to know them through ASCAP. So, for them to give me this award, I’m very, very grateful. It’s amazing.”
Later this week, Davis will also appear at the 57th CMA Awards as a nominee in the categories of Single of the Year (“Next Thing You Know“), Song of the Year (“Next Thing You Know”) and Music Video of the Year (“Next Thing You Know”). He will also get to take the stage to showcase his three-time nominated song in a can’t-miss performance.
Next to be honored with his 10th ASCAP Country Music Songwriter of the Year accolade was Ashley Gorley, who has officially been dubbed “the winningest ASCAP songwriter in the country format.” This title was bestowed upon Gorley as a result of his work as a songwriter on 10 of ASCAP’s most-performed country songs of the past year including “Last Night,” “Everything I Love,” ”One Thing at a Time,” “You Proof” “Thinkin’ Bout Me” (Morgan Wallen), “Gold” (Dierks Bentley), “She Had Me at Heads Carolina” (Cole Swindell), “What He Didn’t Do” (Carly Pearce), “Girl in Mine” (Parmalee) and “You Didn’t” (Brett Young).
Additionally, Morgan Wallen’s seventh No. 1 hit, “You Proof” earned the ASCAP Country Song of the Year, marking Gorley’s third time accepting this honor, alongside winning publishers Round Hill Songs and Sony Music Publishing. The song is among Gorley’s impressive catalog of 70 No. 1 hits, a nearly impossible feat for a songwriter in any genre. It debuted in the top spot of the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 and became the first song to top the Billboard Country Airplay chart for 10 weeks.
A few of the artists who have been directly impacted by Gorley’s songwriting appeared on the large screens to share a brief congratulatory message as the songwriter made his way to the stage. With the award in his hands, Gorley looked out into the room full of supportive faces and began by thanking God, his wife Mandy, his music team, all his co-writers over the past year, etc.
He went on to reflect on his journey with ASCAP that began when he was a sophomore at Belmont University followed by his first ASCAP win in 2007. “Since then, there’s been amazing, crazy years like this one…and my mind goes back, even though tonight is amazing, it goes back to my first ASCAP award that year, you know, writing a song that’s impacted enough people to get one of these awards, and just the way that felt.”
Gorely then extended his congratulations to all those who attended this year’s event as first-time honorees, including Hailey Whitters, Ben Williams, Mitchell Oglesby, Will Bundy, Joe Ragosta and more.
“I know there’s people here who won their ASCAP award for the first time ever this year. I know how hard that is, how much of a miracle it is to write a song that sticks and makes it all the way to that mark where you can win an ASCAP award,” he said, addressing the room of talented songwriters in front of him. “Congrats on your first of many, all of you guys. I can’t wait to celebrate you guys. There’s so much talent in this town. All these new writers, so many that I get to write with. I’m blessed to be a part of it and a part of ASCAP. Thanks everybody for these awards. Have a great rest of the night,” Gorley shared in conclusion.
The final major recognition of the night was ASCAP’s Country Music Publisher of the Year, which was awarded to Sony Music Publishing who represent 21 of this year’s most-performed songs including “Heart Like a Truck” (Lainey Wilson), “Heartfirst” (Kelsea Ballerini), “Need a Favor” (Jelly Roll), “Next Thing You Know” (Jordan Davis), “What He Didn’t Do” (Carly Pearce), “Gold” (Dierks Bentley), “Everyone She Knows” (Kenny Chesney), “5 Foot 9” (Tyler Hubbard), “No Body” (Blake Shelton) and “You, Me, and Whiskey” (Justin Moore and Priscilla Block), among others.
A complete list of ASCAP Country Music Award winners can be found HERE.
Madeleine O’Connell graduated from North Central College with a bachelors degree in Journalism and Broadcast Communications before deciding to pursue her studies further at DePaul University. There, she earned her masters degree in Digital Communication & Media Arts. O’Connell served as a freelance writer for over two years while also interning with the Academy of Country Music, SiriusXM and Circle Media and assisting with Amazon Music’s Country Heat Weekly podcast. In addition to Country Now, she has been published in American Songwriter, Music Mayhem, and Holler.Country. Madeleine O’Connell is a member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.