Thursday, August 4, 2022
– The BMI Foundation's annual Nashville Songwriting Scholarship will be renamed The Dolly Parton Songwriters Award .
The new program also will establish The Dolly Parton Music Fund, which will underwrite the annual awards to emerging songwriters as well as initiatives to provide or supplement music programs in public schools. The intent is to ensure a new generation of music creators and a well-rounded education for all.
The Dolly Parton Songwriters Award is an annual, nationwide competition open to aspiring songwriters. The award was established in 2015 as the Nashville Songwriting Scholarship by BMI to celebrate the company's 75th Anniversary year.
"I know how personal and important songwriting is to those that have the talent, and to all the others that enjoy those that have it. I'm proud to be part of a program that will help support songwriting in any way possible. Thanks to Sony Music Publishing, Luke Combs and all the others that feel the same way and want to help support it. I have been with BMI since I published my first song as a child, so of course I'm very proud and honored to have a BMI Songwriters Award made in my honor," said Parton.
"The Dolly Parton Music Fund will support the work of the BMI Foundation for years to come and make a meaningful difference in the lives of our nation's emerging songwriters. We are excited to be working with Dolly Parton on this program, not only honoring her legacy as a songwriter, but her unwavering commitment to fostering new talent, music education and music appreciation," said Clay Bradley, BMI Foundation Board Member and BMI's VP, Creative.
The awards can be used as a career grant for study, instrument purchase, recording costs or other professional expenses and are not restricted to tuition costs. Founding endowments include a lead gift from Sony Music Publishing's Rusty Gaston as well as a contribution from Luke Combs, who donated proceeds from the recent BMI Parking Lot Party, celebrating his nine number one hit songs.
The revised program offers $20,000 for up to two of the best original song entries in any of the following genres: Americana, blues, bluegrass, contemporary Christian, country, folk and roots. Judges for previous competitions have included GRAMMY-winning artist Kacey Musgraves, hit songwriter Rodney Clawson and Nashville music industry veteran Mark Brown. The inaugural award will be presented in spring 2023 with applications opening in October.