"If you're going to hunt tigers, you have to go where the tigers are." It was that bit of advice from music publisher Si Siman that convinced Tim Nichols to leave Springfield, Missouri for Nashville, Tennessee in pursuit of a music career. Once in Nashville, Tim discovered that songwriting was one of the keys that could unlock the doors to the major record labels.
Now with nearly two dozen smash hits, multiple BMI songwriting awards, a Grammy for Best Country Song, as well as Song of the Year honors from the Country Music Association and Academy of Country Music, Nichols has earned his place among Nashville's most elite and respected tunesmiths.
Given the status Nichols now enjoys in his long time home of Music City, his first experience in Nashville, at the hands of an unscrupulous record producer, led to an expose on 60 Minutes with Mike Wallace. From that national exposure Nichols formed a band, found a booking agent and began playing clubs and fairs throughout the Midwest.
"After moving here in 1980 I discovered Nashville has a great respect for songwriters," says Nichols. "After several years in Nashville with a few different bands, I decided to get off the road and try my luck with the publishing houses on Music Row."
In 1986 country star Ronnie Milsap recorded a Nichols composition that lead to his first publishing deal. Other hits soon followed as Tim began making his mark at the top of the country charts, with his songs being recorded by the industry's biggest stars.
In 2004, along with Craig Wiseman, Nichols wrote Tim McGraw's "Live Like You Were Dying," which stayed at #1 for ten consecutive weeks. In addition to breaking a 30 year record, "Live Like You Were Dying" won the Grammy award for Best Country Song in 2005. It also won the Song of the Year award from the Country Music Association, Academy of Country Music, BMI Country Awards, ASCAP Country Awards, Billboard and the Nashville Songwriters Association International. It is the only song to have won every major song award that is presented for country music.
Nichols' tunes have helped launch the careers of Jo Dee Messina with her debut smash, "Heads Carolina, Tails California," Chris Young with "The Man I Want To Be," as well as newcomer Dustin Lynch who along with Nichols and famed record producer Josh Leo, wrote his first single, "Cowboys and Angels."
Other artists to record Nichols' songs include Alan Jackson, Reba McEntire, Faith Hill, Kenny Chesney, Keith Whitley, Brad Paisley, Lee Ann Womack, Patty Loveless, Gretchen Wilson, Joe Nichols, Phil Vassar, Clint Black, and Kenny Rogers.
In January 2006, along with partners Rusty Gaston and Connie Harrington, Nichols expanded his musical reach with the opening of THiS Music, a successful publishing company whose talented stable of writers include the 2011 ASCAP Writer of the Year, Ben Hayslip.
Feeling the importance of giving back to the community and the industry, Nichols has served on the Board of Directors of the Nashville Songwriter Association International, the Country Music Association, and High Hopes, a therapeutic preschool which serves special needs children in Nashville and the surrounding counties.
When not on Music Row in pursuit of the next hit, Tim enjoys finding inspiration by traveling with his wife Stacie. Out of their travels Nichols developed, "From A Songwriter's Camera," a collection of images that speak visually with the same heart, intensity and voice as his songs.
"For me, taking a great photograph uses many of the same creative muscles as songwriting." Whether visually through photography or sonically through music, Nichols says he loves "the process of creating" and looks forward to the images and songs yet to come.