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A Man and His Music

Scott Hendricks Continues to Rake in the #1 Hits

Article by Maria Dinoia

Photography by Courtesy of Scott Hendricks

Originally published in Franklin Lifestyle

35 years ago, Scott Hendricks produced his first number one song with Restless Heart's "That Rock Won’t Roll." He went on to produce six more chart-topping songs with the group and soon became a force to be reckoned with in country music. In fact, he just produced his 77th number one hit, hitting the milestone with a song recorded by longtime collaborator Blake Shelton.
Hendricks says, "I’m looking forward to hitting 78, God willing, and I’m anxious to get to 79. I appreciate every single one of them. The longer you’re in this industry, the more you realize just how hard it is to get a song to number one. My part of the process – finding and recording the songs – is much easier than what happens to a song after I do what I do. I have a deep appreciation for those who put on their battle gear to get that song to number one."

Hendricks’ most recent number one is Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani’s duet “Nobody But You,” marking the 23rd number one he’s celebrated with Shelton (as the issue was closing in November, the Hendricks-produced Shelton and Stefani duet, “Happy Anywhere,” was Top 5 and climbing). "I am a very blessed man. And I don’t take that for granted. I keep swinging. Sometimes producers get more credit than they deserve. Musicians, engineers, people at the record label deserve so much of the credit for the number ones."

While the process certainly is a team effort, Hendricks doesn't give himself enough credit. From his youth, he learned both a hard and fast work ethic and inadvertently became familiar with what makes a hit song. Hendricks explains, "I started working on a farm every summer. We worked long and hard – more than what the laws probably allow these days. I think that gave me work ethic that you just can’t buy. You just have to learn it. And the other part of it was sitting on a tractor, listening to the radio play hit songs over and over again. It gave me an education on what a hit song is supposed to sound like. To me, many of the same elements are still there. That
training was subconsciously invaluable."

In addition to his role of producer, Hendricks has been on the team at Warner Music Nashville since 2007, where he currently serves as Executive VP of A&R. Overseeing talent scouting and artist development, he's been responsible for signing Hunter Hayes, Brett Eldridge, Jana Kramer, Michael Ray, Dan + Shay and William Michael Morgan. And why does he juggle two full-time careers? "I love it all. And they somewhat go hand in hand. At times they do clash. But if it ever stops being fun for me, that’s when I’ll go home." 

Home is now in Nashville proper, but Hendricks had previously enjoyed living outside the city in Leiper's Fork for 15 years. He says, "I bought the place in Leiper’s Fork in 1995 and had it for 15 years. We made lots and lots of memories on that farm. We have many dear friends in Leiper's Fork and come back as often as we can to ride our ATVs and just see the beauty of the area. We miss Leiper's Fork a lot."

The story of how he "sold" the farm is an interesting one. Hendricks discloses, "I’ve got a lot of hobbies, one of which is water sports and water skiing. I discovered a place on the Cumberland River that I loved and it made me wish my farm was located on that river. Alan Jackson owned that property on the river that I coveted each time I boated by it. When he sold it to Kenny Chesney, my dream of owning that property died. Kenny had it for two years before the flood came in May of 2010. Two days after the flood, I called Kenny and asked him if he would consider trading it for my farm in Leiper’s Fork. His place was pretty damaged from the flood, but it was on the water that I loved. Long story short, we ended up swapping our properties. Everything stayed but personal mementos." 

Hendricks continues, "We renovated it to become a full-time place, not just a weekend retreat which was how Alan Jackson had initially built it. We hosted a lot of events at our place in Leiper's Fork, and we wanted to do the same here."

Naturally, as our time chatting comes to an end, the conversation turns to the ongoing pandemic. What's come out of it for Hendricks? One of the busiest executives in entertainment affectionately answers, "Having my college daughters at home. It’s been a blessing for us."

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