Dolly Parton Songwriters Award

Scholarship Value: $20,000
Awards Available: 2

The Dolly Parton Songwriters Award is an annual, nationwide competition open to aspiring songwriters. 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.

The award was established in 2015 as the Nashville Songwriting Scholarship by BMI to celebrate the company’s 75th Anniversary year. 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, or roots. Judges for previous competitions have included GRAMMY-winning artist Kacey Musgraves, hit songwriter Rodney Clawson, and Nashville music industry veteran Mark Brown.

Eligibility Requirements

All applicants:

  • must be between the ages of 17 and 24 as of February 15, 2024.
  • must be in residence in the United States or its territories.
  • may only submit one application per BMI Foundation awards program.
  • may not submit the same musical work to more than one BMI Foundation awards program.
  • may only submit works that have not been assigned to any major music publisher or major record label.
  • may only apply if they have not previously won the Dolly Parton Songwriters Award or Nashville Songwriting Scholarship. (Honorable mention may apply again.) 
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