In this episode, Laura and Tracy sit down with songwriter, producer and publisher Luke Laird. Luke talks the magic of writers’ rounds, being reluctant to ask for help, letting go of jealousy and the nitty gritty details of his early publishing deals. Laura also shares the story of a pivotal moment that lead to her being a songwriter.
Ferocious talent, wit, and sincere humility rarely come together like they do in Grammy winner Luke Laird. Since moving to Nashville from a small farming town in Pennsylvania, Laird has become one of country and pop’s top songwriters and producers. The numbers are staggering: 52 radio singles –– 24 of which were Billboard No. 1 hits and 5 of which were in the Top 5 –– 2 Billboard No. 1 singles as a producer, and more than 125 released cuts fill his catalog. In four separate years, every single released that Laird wrote peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard charts. He earned ACM Songwriter of the Year honors in 2015, and was named BMI Songwriter of the Year in 2012.
As a producer, Laird has helped shape some of music’s most critically acclaimed projects of the last decade. He co-produced Kacey Musgraves’ 2013 debut, Same Trailer, Different Park, which garnered Grammy honors for Best Country Album and an ACM Album of the Year win. In 2015, he returned to the studio with Musgraves to co-produce her triumphant sophomore release, Pageant Material. Laird earned his second Grammy for Best Country Song with Musgraves’ “Space Cowboy” in 2019. He also has producer credits on Thomas Rhett, Ingrid Michaelson, Brett Eldredge, Steve Moakler, Everette, Kassi Ashton, Anna Vaus and more.
A slew of Grammy, ACM, CMA, and other nominations line Laird’s resume, which also includes six CMA Triple Play Awards, four NSAI “Songs I Wish I’d Written” Awards, the 2012 BMI Country Song of the Year trophy for Rodney Atkins’ “Take a Back Road,” and more. His list of No. 1 singles reads like a carefully curated playlist of soulful contemporary country: “Hard To Forget” (Sam Hunt); “Fast” and “I See You” (Luke Bryan); “Head Over Boots” (Jon Pardi); “T-Shirt” (Thomas Rhett); “Gonna” and “Hillbilly Bone” (Blake Shelton); “Talladega,” “Give Me Back My Hometown,” and “Drink In My Hand” (Eric Church); “American Kids” (Kenny Chesney); “Sunshine & Whiskey” (Frankie Ballard); “One of Those Nights” (Tim McGraw); “Downtown” (Lady Antebellum); “Somebody’s Heartbreak” (Hunter Hayes); “Beat This Summer” (Brad Paisley); “Pontoon” (Little Big Town); “You” (Chris Young); “A Little Bit Stronger” (Sara Evans); “Take A Back Road” (Rodney Atkins); and “Temporary Home,” “Undo It,” “So Small,” and “Last Name” (Carrie Underwood).
Other artists who have recorded Laird-penned songs represent a jaw-dropping grab bag of genres: George Strait, Maren Morris, Dierks Bentley, Miranda Lambert, Brandy Clark, Toby Keith, Jake Owen, Steve Moakler, Sister Hazel, Ingrid Michaelson, Ashley Monroe, Sam Hunt, Angaleena Presley, Nikki Lane, Darius Rucker, Jason Aldean, Sheryl Crow, Brett Eldredge, Florida Georgia Line, Ne-Yo, Neal McCoy, Amy Grant, and many more.
Laird recently released his own record, Music Row, that offers an intimate look into his journey from Hartstown to Nashville. The first-ever record from one of music’s most trusted creators and collaborators, Music Row is a songwriter’s story, traversing childhood, grief, addiction, family, and the community he loves. The songs are deeply personal and sometimes raw, all delivered by the songwriter himself.
Today, Laird writes for and co-owns Nashville-based publishing and management company Creative Nation with his wife, Beth.
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