Nashville Song Search Looks for Next Big Hit

Posted in News on October 7, 2003
BMI Award-winning songwriters Matraca Berg, Gary Harrison, Thom Schuyler, Kye Fleming, Carson Chamberlain and Troy Verges are among the judges in the inaugural Nashville Song Search contest. Entry deadline is November 15, 2003.

Designed to give aspiring writers exposure to music industry professionals, Nashville Song Search will name finalists in seven categories. Mercury recording artist Terri Clark, 2003 CMA Female Vocalist of the Year nominee, will introduce category winners and announce the Grand Prize winner at a January concert benefiting the Crisis Center - a free, 24-hour telephone crisis counseling service.

Categories for adults are Ballad, Up Tempo, Perfect for Terri [Clark], Traditional Country, Crossover, and Parody. Songwriters under 18 years old on November 15, 2003 must enter in the Under 18 category.

Prizes will be given throughout three levels of judging, and each entrant receives a free copy of Performing Songwriter Magazine. Top winners in the seven categories will be guests in Nashville for three days, where they will play "in the round" at the Bluebird Caf�.

The Grand Prize winner will perform on a CMA Music Festival (Fan Fair) stage and sign autographs from a festival booth. The winner also scores a mentoring session with a hit country songwriter; a $1,500 Garrison guitar, a six-hour songwriter's inside tour of Music City; a lesson with a master guitarist; and a professional promo package to pitch his/her song to major record labels.

Judges of the Nashville Song Search are:

  • Singer/songwriter Matraca Berg, whose credits include CMA and Nashville Songwriters Association International Song of the Year "Strawberry Wine" [co-written with Gary Harrison]
  • Songwriter/executive Gary Harrison, winner of 21 BMI Awards and managing partner, Big Picture Entertainment;
  • Carson Chamberlain, writer of "The Best Day" and platinum producer of Mark Wills
  • Kye Fleming, three-time BMI Country and Pop Songwriter of the Year and three-time NSAI Songwriter of the Year
  • Thom Schuyler, winner of 18 BMI Awards and seven BMI Million-Air honors
  • Troy Verges, writer of the #1s "Blessed" and "Who I Am"; BMI Country Songwriter of the Year 2002
  • Kim Wiggins, creative director, Forest Hills/Sony Music;
  • Brian Wright, manager A&R, Mercury Records
  • Clay Bradley, vice president A&R, Sony Music
  • Pat Finch, vice president and GM, Zomba Music
  • Alison Jones, head of A&R, DreamWorks Records Nashville

Entry fee is $25 per song; $20 is tax deductible. All proceeds benefit the Crisis Center, a 501(c) (3) organization.

Rules and entry forms are available at

Sponsors of the Nashville Song Search include BMI, the Bluebird Caf�, Garrison Guitars, Hilton Suites Nashville Downtown, Performing Songwriter, the Nashville Scene,, Country Hitmakers, the Marketing Group, Taxi and Creative Access.