Watch the video to view the final judging period!

    The judging panel consisted of:

    (Left to Right in video)

    Chris Martin: Chairman & CEO, C.F. Martin & Co.

    Craig Thatcher: Recording artist and International Clinician/Ambassador for C.F. Martin & Co.

    Brett James: Grammy-Winning Songwriter/Producer

    Jordan Walker: Manager, Music & Talent, CMT

    John Ozier: Vice President, Creative, ole

    Bart Herbison: Executive Director, NSAI


    "Weight Of Words" - Jacob Noe, (Nashville, TN)


    “Got It All Wrong” – John Stanislawski (Nashville, TN) / Tristan Bushman

    “I Can’t Be Your Whiskey” – Mary Elizabeth Hilliar (Nashville, TN) / Jeff Hilliar

    “Kitchen Table” – Joybeth Taylor (Antioch, TN) / Katrina Burgoyne / Alexander Jeffery / Josh Willcutts

    “Still Shine” – Nigel Wheeler (Dallas, TX) / Colleen Francis / Ryan Lorensen

    “That’s My Dad” – Matt Wilson (Marietta, GA)

    “2 The Sky” – Tilden Whitfield (Pensacola, FL)

    “Whiskey Wears Off” – Scott Voelkerding (Nashville, TN) / Ashley Briggs / Ceri Usmar

    “Working On The Words” – Lauren Weintraub (Nashville, TN) / Josh Byrd / Christian Hale


    “The Price Of A Song” – Michael Roth, (Rio Rancho, NM)


    “I Guess I Must Have Blinked” – Jim Gartland, (Bloomingdale, IL)


    "Breaking Up Is Hard To Do" – Emily Daniels, (Brentwood, TN)

    "Britches" – Matt Rogers, (Hermitage, TN)

    "Hungover" – Mallory Johnson, Nashville, TN / Krystan Bellows, (Nashville TN)

    "Inside This Guitar"– Joybeth Taylor, (Antioch, TN)

    "My World Isn’t Turning" – Gene Rapisardi, (Brentwood, TN)

    "Sun Goes Down" – Brandon Clark, (Lawrenceville, GA)

    "The Answer" – Russ Parrish, (Burnsville, MN)

    "Under The Weather" – Ralston Wells, (Nashville, TN) / Charlie Evischi

  • Craig Wiseman

    From Craig Wiseman’s early days of writing and drumming in Hattiesburg, MS, to being crowned Songwriter of the Century by ASCAP, he has created for himself a monumental platform in country music. As the writer of songs including Brooks & Dunn’s “Believe” to Blake Shelton’s “Boys 'Round Here,” Wiseman has amassed over 300 cuts, 100 singles and 27 number ones.

    After moving to Nashville, TN, in 1985, he received his first chart success after co-writing Roy Orbison’s “The Only One.” In 1990, Wiseman signed his first publishing deal with Almo/Irving Music, then later signed with BMG Music Publishing. In 2003, Wiseman opened his own publishing company, and within the first year of its operation, the first single of the catalog, “Live Like You Were Dying” by Tim McGraw, not only peaked at the top of the charts for 10 weeks, but was also named NSAI Song of the Year, CMA Song of the Year and ACM Song of the Year and won the Grammy Award for Best Country Song.

    Not only was Wiseman proclaimed ASCAP’s Songwriter of the Year in 2003, 2005 and 2007 and Writer of the Year by NSAI and Music Row in 1997, but he was named NSAI’s Songwriter of the Decade in 2009 and won the 2014 Heritage Award from ASCAP as the most performed country songwriter of the century. In 2017, Wiseman was awarded with his first CMA Triple Play Award for having three number-one hits within a year.

    For the past 14 years, Wiseman has hosted the Stars for Second Harvest show at the Ryman, which, to date, has raised $1.2 million for the Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee. After years of success, accomplishments and hard work, Wiseman was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in October 2015.

  • Hunter Hayes
    Hailed as a "force to be reckoned with" by the Huffington Post, multiplatinum recording artist Hunter Hayes has accumulated over 40 award nominations and wins including five Grammy nominations, a People’s Choice Favorite Male Country Artist award and a CMA New Artist of the Year award. His most recent releases include the unflinchingly honest and introspective “Dear God” followed by the radically unfiltered “One Shot.” Both have earned much critical acclaim from outlets including Rolling Stone, Billboard, Paste and more. The Louisiana native recently celebrated the 100 millionth Spotify stream of his five-times multiplatinum single “Wanted,” which received a Grammy nomination for Best Country Solo Performance in 2013. Featured on his two-times multiplatinum debut album "Hunter Hayes," the smash hit became his first number one single on the country airplay charts and solidified the multi-instrumentalist as the youngest solo male artist to top Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart in over 40 years. The self-titled debut has accumulated over half a billion on-demand streams in the U.S. alone and also includes the platinum-certified number one “Somebody’s Heartbreak,” the two-times multiplatinum “I Want Crazy” and the gold-certified singles “Everybody’s Got Somebody but Me” and “Storm Warning.”
  • Lori McKenna

    Home and the people who make it have captivated Lori McKenna for years. Over the last three decades, as she became a wife and mother of five, she has also emerged as one of the most respected, prolific singer-songwriters in popular music. Her 2016 release The Bird and the Riflenetted three Grammy nominations along with Americana Music Association nods -- all firsts for McKenna as an artist. Then, she made history: In 2016, she became the first woman ever to win the Country Music Association’s Song of the Year two years in a row thanks to co-writing Little Big Town’s “Girl Crush” and penning Tim McGraw’s number one “Humble and Kind” solo. Both songs also clinched back-to-back Grammy wins for Best Country Song. In 2017, she became the Academy of Country Music’s first female Songwriter of the Year. The Treeis her much-anticipated eleventh studio album. Produced by Dave Cobb, The Tree takes one of McKenna’s signature themes -- family -- and builds a tapestry of experiences she has lived, overheard, been told, and dreamed up to create a stunning ode to life’s defining relationships.

Terms and Conditions
    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. ASCAP members write the world's best-loved music, and ASCAP has pioneered the efficient licensing of that music to hundreds of thousands of enterprises who use it to add value to their business -- from bars, restaurants and retail, to radio, TV and cable, to Internet, mobile services and more. 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. With more than 670,000 members representing more than 11.5 million copyrighted works, ASCAP is the worldwide leader in performance royalties, service and advocacy for songwriters and composers and the only American performing rights organization (PRO) owned and governed by its writer and publisher members. Learn more and stay in touch at www.ascap.com, on Twitter and Instagram @ASCAP, and at www.facebook.com/ascap.
  • BMI
    Celebrating over 77 years of service to songwriters, composers, music publishers and businesses, 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 nearly 13 million musical works created and owned by more than 800,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers. The Company negotiates music license agreements and distributes the fees it generates as royalties to its affiliated writers and publishers when their songs are performed in public. In 1939, BMI created a groundbreaking open-door policy becoming the only performing rights organization to welcome and represent the creators of blues, jazz, country and American roots music. Today, the musical compositions in BMI’s repertoire, from chart toppers to perennial favorites, span all genres of music and are consistently among the most-performed hits of the year. For additional information and the latest BMI news, visit bmi.com, follow us on Twitter @BMI or stay connected through Broadcast Music, Inc.'s Facebook page. Sign up for BMI’s The Weekly™ and receive our e-newsletter every Monday to stay up to date on all things music.
  • Martin Guitars and Strings
    C.F. Martin & Co.® has been inspiring musicians worldwide for 185 years with their superior guitar and string products. Martin guitars and strings remain the choice for musicians around the world for their unrivaled quality, craftsmanship and tone. Throughout the company’s long history, Martin products can be seen and heard across all genres of music and in all segments of pop culture, from concert and theater stages to television and movies.
    With an unwavering commitment to environmental sustainability and responsible manufacturing practices, Martin continually drives the acoustic guitar market forward, introducing innovative features that have become standards across the industry. These groundbreaking innovations include the introduction of X-bracing, the 14-fret guitar and the “Dreadnought” size guitar.
    Martin has also led innovations in strings, such as introducing the first high-tensile strength steel-string core wire, the first nickel acoustic strings (Martin Retro) and the proprietary Titanium Core strings.
    Connect with Martin Guitars and Martin Strings on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr and YouTube and via www.martinguitar.com.
  • ole
    ole is Majorly Indie. That means that although we are the world's fastest growing rights management company with the infrastructure and reach of a Major, ole continues to deliver the personal touch, speed, creativity and caring of an indie. ole was founded in 2004 and has operations in Toronto, Nashville, TN, New York, London and Los Angeles. The company boasts a team of over 200 experienced industry professionals focused on acquisitions, creative development and worldwide rights management. ole is committed to being the best and most innovative global destination for world-class songwriters, composers and management talent and the first-choice music source for creators in all media.
    SESAC Performing Rights is the second oldest and the most progressive performing rights organization in the U.S. representing songwriters, composers and publishers. Powered by a sophisticated cloud-based data services platform, the PRO drives greater efficiency in licensing for music users and enhances value for its affiliated writers and publishers by providing timely, efficient royalty distribution. SESAC’s highly diverse roster includes globally recognized music creators. SESAC has offices in Nashville, New York, Los Angeles and London.
  • Southwest Airlines
    At Southwest, we're always in tune with your travel needs. We don't charge bag fees -- so bring along your instrument of choice. Have a new gig booked? Our low fares and no change fees can help you when your schedule changes. Check out Southwest.com to book your next flight.
  • We Make Tapes & Discs
    Located on Nashville's Music Row since 1979, WMTD is the longest-standing provider of CD and DVD duplication, replication, packaging and printing in Music City. Whether you order one or 1 million, you will receive superior service every time. They pride themselves on developing genuine relationships with each customer -- big and small. We Make Tapes & Discs also offers graphic design services, die-cutting and many types of general printing including promotional posters, business cards and laminate badges! Do you have a tight deadline, strict budget or detailed vision? Let We Make Tapes & Discs help! Call 615-244-4236 or visit www.wemaketapes.com to start your project today!

Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI)

Established in 1967, NSAI is dedicated to protecting the rights of and serving aspiring and professional songwriters in all genres of music. This year marks the 19th anniversary of the NSAI Song Contest presented by CMT.