The BMI Foundation’s annual Nashville Songwriting Scholarship is set to be revised and renamed after Dolly Parton.
The Dolly Parton Songwriters Award will be an annual, nationwide competition that is open to aspiring songwriters. The inaugural award will be presented in 2023, while applications will be accepted beginning in October. The program will offer up to $20,000 for two of the best original song entries in the genres of Americana, blues, bluegrass, contemporary Christian, country folk and roots. BMI initially launched the award in 2015 under the name Nashville Songwriting Scholarship, to celebrate the company’s 75th anniversary.
The foundation also establishes the Dolly Parton Music Fund, which will underwrite the annual awards given to new songwriters, as well as programs to supplement music education in public schools (the awards will be eligible to be used as a career grant for study, purchasing instruments, recording costs or other professional expenses). Endowments funding this program include a leading gift from Sony Music Publishing’s Rusty Gaston, as well as a contribution from country artist Luke Combs from his recent BMI Parking Lot Party, which celebrated nine of his Billboard No. 1 hits.
“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,” Parton said in a statement. “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.”
“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,” BMI Foundation board member and BMI vp, creative Clay Bradley added in a statement. “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.”