Belmont Student Katie Pruitt Wins First Annual Nashville Songwriting Scholarship

Published: 05.25.2016
(L - R) Nashville Songwriting Scholarship Director Clay Bradley, 2016 Nashville Songwriting Scholarship winner Katie Pruitt, BMI Foundation Board Member Camellia Petty, and BMI Foundation Treasurer Gary Cannizzo.
Nashville Songwriting Scholarship recipient Katie Pruitt performs her winning song, "Ordinary."
Nashville Songwriting Scholarship Director Clay Bradley announces winner Katie Pruitt.
Jennifer and Pete Pruitt watch their daughter Katie perform her winning song.
VP & GM of Round Hill Music Nashville and Nashville Songwriting Scholarship judge Mark Brown with winner Katie Pruitt.

Photos by: Steve Lowry

Clay Bradley, BMI Foundation (BMIF) Board Member and Director of the Nashville Songwriting Scholarship competition, has announced that Katie Pruitt is the winner of the first annual Nashville Songwriting Scholarship of the BMI Foundation. A 22-year-old native of Athens, Georgia, Pruitt is currently pursuing a Songwriting major at Belmont University. The $5,000 scholarship was presented during a private reception at Broadcast Music, Inc.’s (BMI) Nashville offices on Monday, May 16, 2016, and featured an acoustic performance by Pruitt of her winning song, “Ordinary.” Judges for the inaugural competition included GRAMMY-winning artist Kacey Musgraves, hit songwriter Rodney Clawson, and Nashville music industry veteran Mark Brown.

“Receiving the BMI Foundation’s very first Songwriting Scholarship was an incredible honor to say the least,” said Pruitt. “Finally being recognized for something I devote all of my heart to is super encouraging. And to have people pay to support my education is a huge blessing, all because of a song I wrote. Not many people at 22 years old get to say ‘Yep, I got paid 5,000 dollars for writing a song.’ I want to thank the judges Mark Brown, Rodney Clawson, and Kacey Musgraves, and creative director Clay Bradley for believing in my song and endorsing my career and my education. It’s the first milestone in what I hope will be a very long career in music.”

The Nashville Songwriting Scholarship is an annual, nationwide competition open to aspiring country music songwriters. The award was established in 2015 by BMI to celebrate the company’s 75th Anniversary year, and pays homage to musical epicenter and “Songwriting Capital of the World,” Nashville, Tennessee. A $5,000 scholarship is awarded for the best original song entry in any of the following genres: Americana, blues, bluegrass, contemporary Christian, country, folk, and roots.

Katie Pruitt, a senior Songwriting major and Music Business minor at Belmont University, is a storyteller first and a singer second. This young writer has a knack for touching on topics most writers shy away from, including war, politics, and vulnerability. The transparency of her songs gives you a firsthand look into her life as an ordinary 22-year-old girl raised in the suburbs of Atlanta.