17th Annual John Lennon Scholarships Winners Announced

Published: 11.10.2014

The winners of the BMI Foundation’s 17th Annual John Lennon Scholarships, a program that recognizes the nation’s best and brightest young songwriters between the ages of 17 and 24, were announced by Samantha Cox, Vice President of the BMI Foundation and Director of the competition.

The 2014 award winners are:

  • Caitlin Notey ─ 1st place winner of $8,000 for “Still,” age 22, University of Southern California
  • JAX ─ 2nd place winner of $7,500 for “Always You,” age 18, Middlesex County College/New York University
  • Duncan Johnson ─ 3rd place winner of $5,000 for “Catch,” age 21, Berklee College of Music

The 2014 judges included: Rich Stumpf, CEO of Atlas Music Publishing; Katy Wolaver, A&R at Songs Music Publishing; Jake Ottman, Sr. VP of Warner Chappell Music Publishing; Rich Christina, Sr. VP & Head of East Coast A&R at Sony ATV Music Publishing; and Jessica Rivera, Sr. VP of Universal Music Publishing. Thousands of students representing schools from every state participated.

Established by Yoko Ono in 1997, in conjunction with the BMI Foundation, the John Lennon Scholarships have been made possible through generous donations from Ono with matching funds from Gibson Musical Instruments. More than $360,000 has been awarded over the last 17 years to students from U.S. colleges and universities.

The BMI Foundation is a nonprofit corporation founded in 1985 to support the creation, performance, and study of music through awards, scholarships, commissions, and grants. Tax-deductible donations to the Foundation may be made on our donation page.

About the winners:

Caitlin Notey

Caitlin Notey is 22 years old and based in east Los Angeles, where she spends her time writing music, doing session vocal gigs for commercials and demos, producing vocals (recording/editing/tuning), and assisting sessions at a North Hollywood studio.

In April 2013 she and a close group of friends formed the band Huxlee. While rooted in folk songwriting, their music could be described as synth-infused folk pop with a fresh combination of simples and chromatic harmony. “Sort of like Bon Iver, Radiohead, and Fiona Apple had a little sister who had a discreet yet passionate love for N*SYNC. That’s Huxlee,” says Caitlin.

The band released its debut 7-track EP entitled Bloom in November 2013, and plays regularly around Los Angeles at venues like the House of Blues, Hotel Café, El Cid, Harvard & Stone, and The Mint.


JAX is an 18-year-old singer-songwriter out of the NYC/NJ area, living in the spotlight, and entertaining since before she could talk. From performing on the Stone Pony stage at age 11, to the Bamboozle and Warped Tour festivals at age 12, all the way to Nassau Coliseum with Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez at age 14, JAX has been taking the music industry by storm for years. It was never a matter of “if” for her, but only “when.”

She started working professionally in film/musical theater at the age of 5, eventually transitioning into the music scene when she began to develop her talents as a singer/songwriter, musician, and producer. JAX is married to her craft, and her goal is to be a powerhouse in the business; an inspiration for all creative women. Her father, retired FDNY firefighter, and mother, New York City schoolteacher, have always supported her in her quest to touch the world through her art. In her basement studio, JAX spends the majority of her time writing, recording, and producing every idea that comes off of her pen, including her recent piece, Always You (North Star). JAX has always felt that, before anything else, she was born to be onstage, create beautiful music, and touch people with her gift.

Duncan Johnson

Duncan Johnson is a 21-year-old singer, songwriter, and producer, hailing from Brookline, Massachusetts. He is currently completing a double major in Electronic Production & Design and Songwriting at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston. He’s also finishing up his first full-length album, which encompasses 10 tracks, including “Catch,” and several music video productions, set to be released by the end of the year. Following his album release, he plans to begin touring and playing shows with his eponymous band, “Duncan Johnson.”

Duncan’s path to music was an unconventional one. Halfway through his junior year in high school, as a passionate athlete with dreams of playing in college, a series of career-ending knee injuries derailed those plans. During this time of turmoil, Duncan discovered songwriting. In the ensuing year-and-a-half, Duncan proceeded to write over one hundred fifty songs and on the strength of that work was accepted into Berklee.

Since then, he continues to enjoy great success. He was accepted into an elite songwriting class with Warner Bros Executive Kara DioGuardi after his freshman year at Berklee. He has also been featured in performances by several Berklee professors, including an invitation to play at Berklee in the Round. During his sophomore year he co-founded Audio Lantern Productions, an audio production company that specializes in creating scores and producing soundtracks for moving image.

Duncan’s influences span a wide range. His roots are in hip-hop and R&B music, with artists such as Nas and D’angelo informing the foundation of his craft. He also appreciates singer/songwriters such as Sara Bareilles and Bon Iver, as well as contemporary electronic musicians like James Blake and SBTRKT. His sound continues to evolve as he constantly explores new styles and pushes the boundaries of those he knows so well. His belief in the emotional power of music continues to motivate him to uncover new depths of meaning in his artistry.