NSAI Song Contest


NSAI and CMT are proud to announce the winners list for the 15th annual NSAI Song Contest presented by CMT. Upwards of 2,000 songs were received this year. A rigorous judging process featuring a panel of industry professionals selected ten (10) finalists to appear on nsai.cmt.com for the public to vote on throughout the month of February. The final votes ultimately produced the grand prize winner, "Drink It In," written by entrant Derek Toomey and Jeff Silver. Derek is the former NSAI Coordinator for the Atlanta (Christian), chapter and Jeff is the current NSAI Coordinator for the Atlanta (Metro) chapter.

This yearís Lyric-Only winner is ďChevy Bound for Lonely,Ē written by Char Cordova, a New Mexico-based singer-songwriter.

The full winners list is below. ALL entrants will receive a numerical judging report. These reports will be mailed out to all entrants using the address they provided on the entry form. If you submitted a song to the 15th annual NSAI Song Contest presented by CMT and have moved since your submission, please email us at reception@nashvillesongwriters.com with your current mailing address. If the entrant did not provide an address with their submission, their report will be emailed to the account provided on the entry form.

Congratulations to all our winners!

15th Annual NSAI Grand Prize Winner:

  • Derek Toomey
    Derek Toomey/Jeff Silver
    Derek Toomey left the corporate public relations world in 2012 to work part time as a writer for an Atlanta television station, a move that gave him freedom to focus more on songwriting. The Louisiana native has been fortunate enough to have dozens of his songs recorded by independent country, pop, rock and R&B artists. A past co-coordinator of NSAI's Atlanta Christian chapter, Toomey was also a finalist in the NSAI/CMT Song Contest in 2010.

    Jeff Silver wrote his first song when he was 12 years old. Since then, heís written musical theater, advertising jingles and everything in between. This includes co-writing "Forget About Love" on Mark Willsí gold-selling Permanently, "Dancing in the Same Dream," recorded by Chinese recording artist Neko Zhang and, with co-writer Derek Toomey," I Ainít Crazy (But My Daddy Is)," which has been recorded by sister-act Southern Halo on their upcoming self-titled CD. Silver has also led songwriting workshops at elementary schools and for cancer survivors at Piedmont Hospitalís Cancer Wellness Center in Atlanta. Songs from his Looking Forward/Looking Back CD are posted at http://www.reverbnationcom/jeffsilver. A freelance writer, he has also been one of the coordinators for NSAIís Metro Atlanta chapter since 2003.

Lyric Only Winner:

Char Cordova (Albuquerque, New Mexico) - "Chevy Bound for Lonely"

10 Runners-Ups (listed in random order):

Matt Stell (Nashville, Tennessee) - "Country Love Song"
Donna King (Nashville, Tennessee) - "This Kind Of Cold"
Steven Shehan (Columbus, Georgia) - "You"
Taming Renee,Allison Schulz and Brandon Wind (Brentwood, Tennessee) - "If I Stay"
Alexa Meadows, Ran Jackson and Ricky Jackson (North Vernon, Indiana) - "Find Me"
Becky Warren (Nashville, Tennessee) - "Call Me Sometime"
Kristen Hemphill (Tulsa, Oklahoma) - "Clicks"
Katherine Ross (Nashville, Tennessee) - "At Least I Pray"
Paul Stephens, Jason Afable and Eric Mallon (Franklin, Tennessee)- "That Smile Though"
Emily Haber and Grace Pettis (Nashville, Tennessee) - "Happy Place"

10 Honorable Mentions (listed in random order):

Paul Stephens, Jason Afable and Randy Davis (Franklin, Tennessee) - "USA Today"
Jenny Tolman, (Brentwood, Tennessee) - "Let It Go On"
Betty Holt, (Highlands, North Carolina) - "Thatís Me"
Mariana Bell, (Los Angeles, California) - "River Home"
Matt Rogers, (Eatonton, Georgia) - "I Was Raised"
Tonya Terry, (Nashville, Tennessee) - "Something Bigger"
Katie Stump,, Jason Afable and Richard Harris (Los Angeles, California) - "Stutter"
Isabeau Miller, (Nashville, Tennessee) - "Prisoner"
James Hoppe, and Mary Haller (Aliso Viejo, California) - "House Divided"
Anna Marie Mitchell, (Webster, Minnesota) - "Broken Glass"

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The Americana Music Association is a professional non-profit trade organization whose mission is to advocate for the authentic voice of American roots music around the world. The Association produces events throughout the year including the annual Americana Music Festival and Conference.
The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) is a professional membership organization of songwriters, composers and music publishers of every kind of music. ASCAP's mission is to license and promote the music of its members and foreign affiliates, obtain fair compensation for the public performance of their works and to distribute the royalties that it collects based upon those performances. The ASCAP license offers an efficient solution for businesses to legally perform ASCAP music while respecting the right of songwriters and composers to be paid fairly.
Broadcast Music, Inc.® (BMI®) is a global leader in music rights management, serving as an advocate for the value of music. BMI represents the public performance rights in more than 8.5 million musical works created and owned by more than 600,000 songwriters, composers, and music publishers
Formed by Arturo Buenahora and Eric Church, Little Louder Music is home to great songwriters like Erin Enderlin, Eric Church, Luke Dick, Dave Pahanish, Haley Georgia, Jeff Hyde, Ryan Tyndell, Charlie Worsham and Oscar Charles. Little Louder Music recently celebrated the company's first No. 1 hit with "Give Me Back My Hometown" by Eric Church (Songwriters: Luke Laird and Church).
SESAC is a Performing Rights Organization (PRO) representing songwriters and music publishers and their right to be paid royalties whenever their songs are played in public. The most progressive organization in the U.S., SESAC represents such artists as Bob Dylan, Neil Diamond, Mariah Carey, Mumford & Sons and Zac Brown. Headquartered in Nashville, the company also has offices in New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Miami and London.
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Charlie Worsham

  • Charlie Worsham is the 2006 Grand Prize Winner of the NSAI Song Contest Presented by CMT. He has been called part of the next class of country music stars. With one hit under his belt and more on the way, the multi-instrumentalist has a lot of Nashville superstars pulling for him. He was handpicked to play shows with Taylor Swift, Miranda Lambert and Darius Rucker. Others like Eric Church and Dierks Bentley have called on Worsham's talents in the studio, having him play on their albums. A Mississippi native, Worsham co-wrote and co-produced his 11-track debut album, Rubberband, with Ryan Tyndell (Executive Produced by Arturo Buenahora) in a small independent studio in the edgy arts community of Nashville's East Side. It features his current single, "Want Me Too," and his debut single, the Top 15 hit "Could It Be." Additionally, two of his biggest musical idols -- Marty Stuart and Vince Gill -- join him on "Tools of the Trade." Worsham can currently be seen touring all across the United States in support of Rubberband.


You Could Win

  • Grand Prize
  • Mentoring session with Warner Music Nashville Recording Artist, Charlie Worsham.
  • One-year single song contract with Little Louder Music.
  • Publishing meetings with three (3) professional music publishers.
  • A&R meeting with one major record label.
  • Three-day (3) trip to Nashville including hotel accommodations and airfare.
  • Two (2) tickets to the 2015 CMT Music Awards.
  • Much More

  • Lyric-Only Winner
  • Mentoring session with hit songwriter Tia Sellers.
  • Publishing meeting with one (1) professional music publisher.
  • One-year NSAI membership.
  • Six (6) month Sonicbids subscription.
  • Much More

  • Runners-Up
  • Publishing meeting with one (1) professional music publisher.
  • One-year NSAI membership.
  • Song placement on the NSAI Top 40 song page.
  • Much More

  • Honorable Mentions
  • Song placement on the NSAI Top 40 song page.
  • Certificate of achievement.

  • All Entrants
  • Personalized score sheet.