“More Hearts Than Mine,” from newcomer Ingrid Andress is Nashville Songwriter Awards’ song of the year. Andress, who performs the song, co-wrote the hit with Sam Ellis and Derrick Southerland.
This year, the awards, presented by the Nashville Songwriters Association International and sponsored by City National Bank, are virtual after the pandemic made it unsafe to gather in person. Billboard has partnered with NSAI to reveal winners in key categories, including Ashley Gorley as songwriter of the year on Sept. 22, and Luke Combs as songwriter-artist of the year on Sept. 29.
In the exclusive video below, Andress says she knew from the start she wanted Ellis and Southerland to be her co-writers on the ballad about warning her boyfriend, as he prepares to meet her family, that he won’t only be breaking her heart if they break up.
“Sometimes when you write you bring in a concept that’s really great, but you bring it into the wrong room. I felt like we could nail this,” she says. Her idea was to cast it with her as the heartbreaker. “Derrick was [then] like, “Can’t you just be vulnerable for two seconds?”
“Any time you can be vulnerable, it draws people in… I just thought about my father-in-law and my mother-in-law and her sisters,” Southerland says, adding some real life definitely found its way into the lyrics. “My wife is the daughter of a Ford dealer who always asks me how my car’s doing, so it’s always easy when there’s something that comes from reality, so I just started using those people as characters.”
NSAI’s song of the year is chosen by a vote of the NSAI professional membership from a ballot that includes all Nashville-associated songs that reached the top 20 on Billboard’s Country Airplay, Christian Airplay, Rock Airplay or Pop Songs chart during the ballot period. The eligibility period is May 1, 2019 through April 30, 2020.
“We’re all pretty critical of each other’s songs in town, it’s pretty competitive,” Ellis says. “But it’s a big family. To have that approval and validation from people I’ve learned to write songs from, it’s just incredible.”
The video includes the trio performing the song and their excited reaction to hearing their peers have chosen the song, which reached No. 3 on Billboard’s Country Airplay chart, as song of the year.
Past winners include “I Will Always Love You,” “Jesus, Take the Wheel,” “The House That Built Me” and “If Tomorrow Never Comes.”