Broadcast Music, Inc.® (BMI®) revealed the news on Thursday (Oct. 6) via a press release.
“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,” says Clay Bradley, VP, Creative, Nashville. “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.”
According to the press release, the BMI Icon Award is given to exceptional songwriters in recognition of their “unique and indelible influence on generations of music makers.”
Previous recipients of the award include: Loretta Lynn, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Dolly Parton, Kris Kristofferson, and Hank Williams, Jr., as well as multi-genre royalty Stevie Nicks, Little Richard, Patti Labelle, James Brown, and more.
BMI will also crown the Country Songwriter, Song and Publisher of the Year, as well as salute the writers and publishers of the past year’s 50 most-performed songs from BMI’s Country catalog at the invitation-only event.
Co-hosted by BMI President and CEO Mike O’Neill and Clay Bradley, VP, Creative, Nashville, the BMI Country Awards will take place on November 8 at BMI’s Nashville office.
Toby Keith has remained out of the spotlight after revealing his cancer diagnosis with fans in early June.
“Last fall I was diagnosed with stomach cancer. I’ve spent the last 6 months receiving chemo, radiation and surgery. So far, so good. I need time to breathe, recover and relax,” the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame member wrote at the time.
He added, “I am looking forward to spending this time with my family. But I will see the fans sooner than later. I can’t wait.”
All of Keith’s upcoming concert appearances have been canceled.
In 2021, Toby Keith released his 19th studio album, Peso In My Pocket. The project includes the fan-favorite track, “Old School,” as well as his brand-new radio single, “Oklahoma Breakdown.” The single made a major impact upon its official release to country radio in mid-September.
Co-produced by Keith and Kenny Greenberg, the 10-track album includes songs co-written with Sammy Hagar, former frontman of Van Halen, as well as cuts from the Warren Brothers, Ryan Hurd, Maren Morris, Jessie Jo Dillon and more.
With 32 No.1 singles and 40 million albums sold, Toby Keith is regarded as one of country music’s biggest hitmakers. He wrote a chart-topping hit every year for 20 consecutive years, including “How Do You Like Me Now?!,” “Courtesy of the Red, White, & Blue (The Angry American),” “I Love This Bar,” “Beer For My Horses,” and “As Good As I Once Was.”
He is a recipient of the National Medal of Arts, was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame (having already been inducted into the all-genre Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2015), and was honored with the Academy of Country Music’s prestigious Merle Haggard Spirit Award.
Throughout his career, the Oklahoma native received 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.
His music has garnered more than 10 billion streams and 100 million terrestrial radio spins to date.
Keith’s most rewarding experiences, however, have come from giving back locally, nationally, and abroad. His annual golf classics fund the Toby Keith Foundation and OK Kids Korral, a cost-free home for families of children dealing with critical illnesses, and his 11 USO tours have enhanced the lives of nearly 256,000 troops and military families. In 2014, he was given the Spirit of the USO Award for his work with the organization, which has so far included 11 tours and more than 285 events. In an even more personal instance of philanthropy, he became the face of his hometown after it was ravaged by a tornado, shouldering the cleanup, and headlining the 2013 OK Twister Relief Concert.