November 5, 2002
2002 BMI Country Songwriter of the Year
“Ain’t Nothing ‘Bout You” • “In Another World” • “Loving Every Minute”
“Just Let Me Be In Love”
Tom Shapiro has had a songwriting career unparalleled in the history of Music Row. A four-time BMI Country Songwriter of the Year (1993, ’96, 97, 2002), he has enjoyed 21 #1 singles and collected 32 BMI Pop and Country Awards. He was named Music Row Magazine’s Top Country Songwriter in 1995 and won CMA Triple Play awards in 1995 and 1997.
Born and reared in Kansas City, Shapiro was playing piano and studying film music by the time he was ten. After his senior year in high school, he spent a summer at a French university, and in his dorm met a fellow American with whom he began writing songs.
Shapiro spent a year at Whittier College in California, then moved to Boston University where he majored in music and minored in English. In 1973 he helped found a school of contemporary music in Boston, but a year later he sold his interest and moved to Los Angeles to concentrate on writing. There he made do with a variety of jobs, including one at a dental lab delivering teeth to dentists in the LA area. His first major publishing deal, with a company called Heath-Levy Music, yielded several pop cuts. Country didn’t cross his mind until he met Michael Garvin, who introduced him to the world of country songwriting. The two collaborated on twenty songs, five of which were recorded, including one on George Strait’s first album.
But the songwriting grind wore Shapiro down, so he quit for a while and took a job working in a large music store. During his hiatus George Benson cut a song of his called “Never Give Up On A Good Thing,” which became an international hit and provided Shapiro with momentum for the move to Nashville.
He quickly was signed to a publishing deal with Tree International and before long was enjoying success courtesy of Crystal Gayle, Eddie Raven, Lee Greenwood and Marie Osmond. Over the next few years as a staff writer with Tree, Terrace Music, and Great Cumberland Music Group, he had a string of hits, including “Your Heart’s Not In It” (Janie Fricke), “Highway Robbery” (Tanya Tucker), “Are You Ever Gonna Love Me” (Holly Dunn), “This Is Me” (Randy Travis), “She Never Lets It Go To Her Heart” (Tim McGraw), and “When Boy Meets Girl (Terri Clark), plus these two-million performance songs: “Watch Me” (Lorrie Morgan), “Walking Away A Winner” (Kathy Mattea), “Thinkin’ About You” (Trisha Yearwood), “Better Things To Do” (Terri Clark), “That Ain’t My Truck” (Rhett Akins) and “If Your Heart Ain’t Busy Tonight” (Tanya Tucker).
Shapiro has also enjoyed success in the production arena, co-producing as well as writing several of Billy Dean’s hits including “Only The Wind,” “You Don’t Count The Cost” and “If There Hadn’t Been You,” and co-producing two albums for Dusty Springfield.
At the 1996 BMI Country Awards, Shapiro and co-writer Bob DiPiero shared the Robert J. Burton Award for Most Performed Country Song of the Year for “Wink,” a #1 hit for Neal McCoy which is currently at the three million performance mark. Shapiro joins an elite list of writers who have scored BMI’s highest Country songwriter and song honors during their careers: Rhonda Kye Fleming, Marv Green, Harlan Howard, Kris Kristofferson, Aimee Mayo, Dennis Morgan, Billy Sherrill, W. S. Stevenson and Shania Twain. He ties Dennis Morgan with Songwriter wins, trailing only Billy Sherrill (8), Paul Overstreet (5) and Bill Anderson (5).
Since returning to Sony/ATV Tree in 1998, Shapiro’s credits have included “I Keep Looking” and “No Place That Far” (both Sara Evans), “Ain’t Nothing ‘Bout You” (Brooks & Dunn), “Just Let Me Be In Love (Tracy Byrd), “Loving Every Minute” (Mark Wills), “In Another World” (Joe Diffie), “Living and Living Well” (George Strait) and “I Miss My Friend” (Darryl Worley).