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Lady Antebellum’s Hillary Scott was the woman of the hour as she was named SESAC’s Songwriter of the Year for the third straight year Monday (Nov. 7). She was awarded for not only co-writing Lady Antebellum's hits “Just a Kiss” and “Need You Now,” but Hillary was also honored for her first hit for another artist—“A Little Bit Stronger” for Sara Evans. The performing rights organization honored its top songwriters in several genres of music with an elegant affair at Nashville's Pinnacle building.
Ronnie Dunn made a surprise appearance to perform his recent hit, “Cost of Living,” and revealed that the song's original title was “The Application.” Ronnie told the crowd that initially some people thought he was too “rich” to perform the song to audiences who are struggling in the current economy. “I asked my family to send me a picture of me [as a child] and my siblings standing in front of our trailer home at a New Mexico construction site and started putting that up on the screen in concert,” Ronnie said to the approval of the crowd of industry members.
Chris Young was on hand to support songwriter Anthony Smith, who co-wrote Chris' hit “Tomorrow,” a song Chris said became the bedrock of his album Neon. “This is the song that every song on the record had to be as good as,” said Chris. Chris had only praise for co-writer Anthony. “He's truly one of my best friends and he's just perpetually happy. I could spill a beer on him and he'd just laugh—not that I've tried it,” Chris quipped.
Other honorees of the evening include Craig Campbell, who performed his single “Fish” during the awards, as well as Blaine Larsen and Jim Lauderdale, who were honored for penning George Strait's single “I Gotta Get to You.”
The evening ended on an even sweeter note for Hillary. SESAC made a donation in honor of Hillary to one of her favorite charities, My Life Speaks, which gives aid to orphans with and without special needs in Haiti by providing housing, education and medical care.
“One thing I love about SESAC is that you care about who I am outside of the organization, who I am as a person. This organization [My Life Speaks] gives the children a sense of worth and family. Everyone deserves that,” Hillary said, obviously holding back tears. “I’m honored and speechless.”