BMI Foundation unveils Dolly Parton Award and Fund for Songwriters

Dolly Parton. Photo: Rob Hoffman

The BMI Foundation Annual Nashville Songwriting Scholarship will be revised and renamed The Dolly Parton Songwriters Award in honor of the legendary artist. The news was announced by BMI Foundation Board Member and BMI Vice President, Creative Bradley clay.

The Dolly Parton Songwriters Award is an annual national competition open to aspiring songwriters. The award was originally established in 2015 as the Nashville Songwriting Scholarship to celebrate the company’s 75th anniversary and honor Nashville.

The new program will also establish the Dolly Parton Music Fund, which will fund annual awards to emerging songwriters as well as initiatives to provide or supplement music programs in public schools. The scholarships can be used as a career scholarship for education, the purchase of instruments, recording fees or other professional expenses – and are not limited to tuition fees.

Foundation endowments include a lead gift from Sony Music Publishing Gaston Rusty as well as a contribution from the country superstar Luke Combs, who donated proceeds from the recent BMI Parking Lot Party, which celebrated his nine No. 1 hit songs.

“I know how personal and important songwriting is for those who have the talent and for everyone else who loves those who have it. I am proud to be part of a program that will help support songwriting in any way possible,” Parton shares. “Thank you to Sony Music Publishing, Luke Combs and everyone else who feels the same way and wants to help support it. I’ve been with BMI since I released my first song as a kid, so of course I’m very proud and honored to have a BMI Songwriters Award given in my honor.

“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 country’s emerging songwriters. We are thrilled to work with Dolly Parton on this program, not only to honor her legacy as a songwriter, but also for her unwavering commitment to fostering new talent, music education and music appreciation.” , adds Bradley.

The revised program offers $20,000 for up to two top original song entries in the American, blues, bluegrass, contemporary Christian, country, folk and roots genres. Judges from previous contests have included Grammy-winning artist Kacey Musgraves, hit songwriter Rodney Clawson and Nashville music industry veteran Mark Brown, among others.

The inaugural prize will be awarded in the spring of 2023 and nominations will open in October.

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