The winners of the BMI Foundation’s 19th 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 today by Samantha Cox, Vice President of the BMI Foundation and Director of the competition. The John Lennon Scholarships were established by Yoko Ono in 1997, in conjunction with the BMI Foundation, and honor the memory of one of the preeminent songwriters of the twentieth century. The program has been made possible through generous donations from Ono with matching funds from Gibson Musical Instruments.
The 2016 winners are:
Savannah Conley - 1st place winner of $10,000 for “Go,” age 19, studied at Belmont University
Christina Kozanian a.k.a. Kees - 2nd place winner of $5,000 for “Get Away,” age 20, studies at University of Southern California Thornton School of Music
Joseph Daccache- 3rd place winner of $5,000 for “Should’ve Known Better,” age 21, studies at Belmont University
Hundreds of students representing schools from every state participated in the 2016 competition. The judging panel included Rich Christina, Sr. VP & Head of East Coast A&R at Sony ATV Music Publishing; Jennifer Blakeman, CCO of Atlas Music Publishing; Justin Kalifowitz, CEO of Downtown Music Publishing; Jeremy Levin, Manager and Mega House Music Co-Founder; and Jake Ottmann, Sr. VP of A&R at Warner/Chappell Music.
Three scholarships totaling $20,000 are presented annually for the best original songs submitted to the competition. More than $400,000 has been awarded over the last 19 years to students from colleges and universities throughout the United States.
About the Winners
Savannah Conley is a 19-year-old singer/songwriter. A Nashville, Tennessee native, she currently resides there while recording her second studio album. Her first record, entitled Bells, was recorded in 2014 and is available wherever digital music is sold.
Christina Kozanian, a.k.a. Kees, is currently an undergraduate student in her junior year at the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music, pursuing a major in Music Industry and a minor in Songwriting. Her passion for performing and commitment to higher education led her to choose the music industry as her area of study. She is a pianist, songwriter, and trained singer and dancer of 15 years. She is currently songwriting with multiple producers on collaboration projects and organizing a show with her dance group. Her past work includes teaching hip-hop dance to children and teens, as well as working on several music video sets as a choreographer and dancer for her own original music, as well as for other artists. She hopes to utilize her stage experience and studies to continue to propel her career forward.
21-year-old Joe Daccache is an aspiring singer/songwriter originally from Lebanon and raised in Kernersville, North Carolina. He moved to Nashville in late August to pursue a music career, as well as a B.A. in Songwriting from Belmont University. He eagerly looks forward to developing his music career in the “Songwriting Capital of the World.”