BMI is set to honor the career and songwriting of Toby Keith, when the performing rights organization presents him with the BMI Icon award during the upcoming BMI Country Awards set for Nov. 8 at BMI’s Nashville office. BMI president/CEO Mike O’Neill will host the ceremony alongside BMI vp, creative, Nashville Clay Bradley.
“We are honored to present Toby Keith with this year’s BMI Icon Award. Since the release of his single ‘Should’ve Been a Cowboy’ in 1993, Toby has been the gold standard of songwriting in the modern era of Country music,” Bradley said in a statement. “Toby is not only a stellar songwriter, musician, and producer whose songs have amassed millions of performances, he is also a true humanitarian. With 11 USO tours under his belt, he continues to commit to honoring and serving our troops worldwide. No one is more deserving of this honor.”
The BMI Icon award recognizes exceptional songwriters for their “unique and indelible influence on generations of music makers.” Previous honorees have included Loretta Lynn, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Dolly Parton, Kris Kristofferson and Hank Williams, Jr.
BMI’s annual invitation-only country awards will also honor the country songwriter, song and publisher of the year, and will recognize the writers and publishers of the past year’s 50 most-performed songs from BMI’s country catalog.
In 2021, Keith was honored with the National Medal of Arts, inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame (having previously been inducted into the all-genre Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2015), and was honored with the Academy of Country Music’s Merle Haggard spirit award. Keith has previously earned the BMI country songwriter of the Year award three times, and his hit single “As Good As I Once Was” was awarded BMI’s country song of the year in 2006.
Keith has earned 20 No. 1 Billboard Hot Country Songs hits, and he is a writer on the bulk of his hit songs, including his debut single, “Should’ve Been a Cowboy,” as well “American Soldier,” “How Do You Like Me Now?!,” “As Good as I Once Was,” and “Courtesy of the Red, White & Blue (The Angry American).” In 2018, Keith also wrote and released the song “Don’t Let the Old Man In,” which was inspired by a conversation with Clint Eastwood and featured in Eastwood’s movie The Mule.