Married for almost six years, hit songwriter and producer Shane McAnally and Michael McAnally Baum share a home, the parenting of two 5-year-old children and a business, the music publishing, production and management firm SMACK, which they jointly run. They also both work with country artist Walker Hayes, who is managed by Baum and signed to Monument Records, where McAnally is co-president.
Although both McAnally and Baum have Hayes’ best interests at heart, they don’t always agree on what those interests are. “When I’m running a record label that an artist he manages is on, there are obviously going to be some [difficult] conversations at home that aren’t things that normal couples have to deal with,” says McAnally. “It’s not so hard that I’d change it, but there are times when we say, ‘We probably shouldn’t be having this conversation at home.’”
Welcome to the sometimes complicated world of Nashville’s power couples. Given the relatively small, close knit country music industry and its 24/7 work ethic, there are quite a few of them, including Scott and Sandi Borchetta, respectively, the president/CEO and senior vp creative at Big Machine Label Group. Other couples wielding influence in country music include Grand Ole Opry GM Sally Williams and CAA agent Brad Bissell; songwriter/producer Luke Laird and Beth Laird, who co-own Creative Nation, where she is CEO; Girlilla Marketing CEO Jennie Smythe and Average Joes Entertainment CEO Shannon Houchins, and at least six others counted by Billboard.