Clay Bradley, BMI Foundation Board Member and BMI’s VP, Creative, has announced that the Foundation’s annual Nashville Songwriting Scholarship will be revised and renamed The Dolly Parton Songwriters Award in honor of the legendary artist. Additionally, the new program 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, ensuring a new generation of music creators, and a well-rounded education for all. 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 country superstar Luke Combs, who donated proceeds from the recent BMI Parking Lot Party, celebrating his nine #1 hit songs.
“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 Dolly Parton.
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. The award pays homage to the musical epicenter and “Songwriting Capital of the World,” Nashville, Tennessee.
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 among others. The inaugural award will be presented in Spring 2023 with applications opening in October.