FROM THE BMI NEWS RELEASE
BMI saluted the songwriters and publishers behind country music’s most-performed songs of the past year tonight during the 58th annual BMI Country Awards. The ceremony was held in the company’s Music Row offices. BMI President & CEO Del Bryant hosted the gala with Jody Williams, Vice President, Writer/Publisher Relations, Nashville.
At 20 years old, Taylor Swift became the youngest person ever to win the BMI Country Songwriter of the Year crown. She is followed by Bill Anderson, who won the honor in 1960 at 23, and Johnny Cash, who won in 1956 at 24. Swift earned the award thanks to her self-recorded compositions “Fifteen,” “White Horse” and “You Belong With Me,” as well as “Best Days of Your Life,” recorded by Kellie Pickler.
“You Belong With Me” also earned Swift her third consecutive BMI Country Song of the Year win, making her the only songwriter ever to win the award three years in a row. In 2008, she became the youngest songwriter ever to win the honor, while earlier this year she became the youngest individual ever to pen the BMI Pop Song of the Year. Co-written with frequent collaborator Liz Rose, the song is published by Sony/ATV Tree, Taylor Swift Music, Orbison Music LLC, and Wagnerville Music.
Another highlight included Sony/ATV Music Publishing Nashville earning its ninth consecutive BMI Country Publisher of the Year title.
Billy Sherrill, the father of the contemporary country sound, was named a BMI Icon. The Icon designation is given to BMI songwriters and artists who have had “a unique and indelible influence on generations of music makers.” Sherrill has received more BMI Country Awards than any other songwriter in history, and was named BMI Country Songwriter of the 20th Century in 1999. As a BMI Icon, he joins a list of past honorees that includes Kris Kristofferson, John Fogerty, Willie Nelson, Isaac Hayes, Merle Haggard, Brian Wilson, Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn, the Bee Gees, James Brown, and more.
An all-star tribute paid homage to Sherrill’s genre-shaping work as a producer and songwriter. Ronnie Dunn performed “The Most Beautiful Girl”; Martina McBride delivered “’Til I Can Make It on My Own”; Faith Hill contributed “Stand By Your Man”; and George Strait offered “My Elusive Dreams.”