Maren Morris Remembers Late Producer Busbee as She Wins Album of the Year at the 2019 CMAs: 'We Miss Him So Dearly'
During her speech, the singer — who is expecting her first child, a baby boy, with husband Ryan Hurd — first thanked her manager Janet Weir, her parents, producer Greg Kurstin and the “love of my life, Ryan” before remembering late music producer Busbee (né Michael James Ryan), who produced many of GIRL’s tracks before his death in September.
“I would be really remiss if I didn’t mention a huge facet of why this album sounds the way it does, and we miss him so dearly,” Morris, 29, said of Busbee. “He texted me the morning that we got the nomination for album of the year this year, and we were so excited — that’s our friend, Busbee.”
“His wife, Jess, is here tonight and she looks so beautiful,” Morris continued. “Thank you for sharing your husband with us once a month. My heart goes out you and your beautiful daughters. I hope when they listen to this album…I hope they know how amazing their father was. Thank you country music, thank you to the fans, thank you.”
News of Busbee’s death broke on Sept. 29. Though a cause of death was not reported, a friend told Variety that Busbee was undergoing treatment for glioblastoma — an aggressive brain tumor that last year took the life of Sen. John McCain — after being diagnosed with it over the summer. Frequent collaborator Carly Pearce confirmed the diagnosis during a tribute at her show the same night.
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Busbee — who was 43 years old at the time of his death — is survived by his wife Jessie and three children, including a newborn baby daughter.
Before GIRL, Busbee had penned tunes and produced songs including “Once,” “80s Mercedes” and “How It’s Done” for Morris’ 2016 album, Hero.
Along with Morris, Busbee created a slew of hits for other artists like Keith Urban, Carrie Underwood, Blake Shelton, Lady Antebellum, Florida Georgia Line, Garth Brooks, Rascal Flatts, Little Big Town, Jason Aldean, Kellie Pickler and Hunter Hayes.
Outside of country, Busbee also worked with a number of pop artists like Christina Aguilera, Gwen Stefani, Kelly Clarkson, Shakira, 5 Seconds of Summer, and the Backstreet Boys. He co-wrote “Try” for Pink in 2012, and it went to No. 1.
During the CMA Awards, Morris performed the title track from GIRL. Before the show, she said the performance would be extra special because her future son is a part of it.
“When he looks back performing at this particular awards show it’s going to be this thing where he was in there!” she told Entertainment Tonight on the red carpet before the show.
The 2019 CMA Awards aired live from Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena on Wednesday, Nov. 13, at 8 p.m. ET.