|MJ songwriter tabs ASCAP Songwriter, Song of the Year honors|
|Friday, November 2, 2012|
By SABRINA GARRETT
Two-time ASCAP Songwriter of the Year Ben Hayslip is the first to admit – he’s a lucky guy.
Blessed with a wife, Melissa, three sons, Tarver, Camden and Knox, and four hit songs currently on country radio – most everyone would have to agree – 2012 has been Hayslip’s year."I’ve had four hits this year, “Honey Bee” by Blake Shelton, “I Don’t Want This Night to End” by Luke Bryan, “This Ole Boy” by Craig Morgan and “I’m Gonna Love You Through it” by Martina McBride,” said the Mt. Juliet resident. Because of the success of these four songs, Hayslip was named 2012 ASCAP Songwriter of the Year – with an added bonus. “Honey Bee also won Song of the Year. I felt like I would probably get Songwriter of the Year but didn’t expect to win Song of the Year. It stayed at number one on the charts for four weeks,” he said.
Hayslip moved from his native Georgia to the Nashville area after he graduated from college to be a songwriter.
“I played baseball at Georgia Southern and when I graduated in 1994, I came here. I always knew I wanted to be a songwriter – going back to when I was 12-years-old, I knew I enjoyed it,” he said.
Growing up in the South, he was introduced to various genres of music ranging from “R&B to Johnny Cash and Dolly Parton.” However, after hearing the unmistakable voice of Hank Williams Jr., Hayslip realized that country music was where his heart is. “It was all over after that. Hank is all I listened to from then on through high school.”
For Hayslip, being a professional songwriter is much different than others would expect. He said he writes five days a week, usually with another writer who happens to be a “good buddy.” Together they try to write, from start to finish, one song each day. “We show up, shoot the breeze, might to go lunch and throw around ideas to each other. I’m dependent on whatever happens in that room that day.”
The idea behind Luke Bryan’s hit “I Don’t Want This Night to End,” which stayed at number one for two weeks, was simple. “My publisher was talking about all these rap songs where you put your hands in the air. He said, ‘We need a country version of that.’ My first thought was how the chorus is now,” he said of the lyrics, which say “You got your hands up, you’re rockin’ in my truck.”
“The song is called ‘I Don’t Want This Night to End’ but ‘you got your hands up’ is the most important part of that song. An artist, like Luke, when he is up on stage, wants to see that motion in the audience. The cool thing is when it gets to that line and 16,000 fans throw their hands in the air,” Hayslip explained of the catchy chorus.
When he isn’t busy writing, Hayslip coaches the three travel baseball teams that his sons play on. “I tell everybody writing is my part-time job,” he joked of his love for sports. “My older teams, the Tennessee Thunder Stix and the Tennessee Prospects are two of the top teams in the state,” he said. “Tarver and Camden play basketball, football and baseball. Knox is going to start football next year.”
Also in Hayslip’s immediate future is a move to Lebanon. “I just love how the community comes together. I’m a huge sports fan. Growing up in Georgia, you didn’t ask somebody where they were going on Friday night – you knew they were going to a football game,” he said, adding that his purpose for moving isn’t just about sports. “I love how the people come together. I want my kids to grow up in that kind of atmosphere.”
Coaching three successful travel baseball teams and writing numerous hit songs have made 2012 great for Hayslip – but he is the first to admit that the year isn’t over yet. “I’m on a roll.”