Taylor Swift Receives Prestigious Songwriting Award
Taylor Swift received the Songwriter/Artist of the Year award from the Nashville Songwriter's Association International on Sunday. The country superstar wrote or co-wrote every song on her most recent album, including 'Love Story' and 'Our Song.' Taylor, who turns 20 next month, is the youngest person in the history of NSAI to receive the award, her second in as many years.
"I came to town when I was 14, and I went to school during the day and wrote songs in the evening," Taylor said upon receiving her award. "I was in the eighth grade when I signed my first publishing deal, and I want to thank Sony ATV for believing in me then."
Taylor went on to say that it means the world to her that the songwriting community welcomed her to Nashville. "The songwriters are heroes to me. To be able to write with them and meet Liz Rose, who became one of my songwriting partners, is so cool. The fact that they picked me tonight makes me very happy. It is awesome to know that my music plays on the radio and people can relate to the songs I write, which are very personal to me."
Toby Keith was named Songwriter/Artist of the Decade (2000-2009). "This is the most prestigious thing that's ever been given to me," he said. "I've worked my butt off writing songs and take great pride that 99 percent of the stuff I record is something I've written. So to have your peers recognize you is very humbling and also very gratifying.
"I'm a songwriter first and foremost," he continued. "That's what I was when I came to this town and that's what I'll be when I leave it. So to have some of the greatest songwriters on the planet acknowledge me is great."
Brad Paisley's hit 'Waitin' On A Woman' was named Song of the Year, with the award going to its writers, Don Sampson and Wynn Varble. Varble was also named Songwriter of the Year. Other hits under his belt this past year include 'Sounds Like Life to Me' by Darryl Worley. Craig Wiseman, who has penned numerous hits including Kenny Chesney's 'The Good Stuff,' Brooks & Dunn's 'Believe' and Tim McGraw's 'Live Like You Were Dying,' was named Songwriter of the Decade.
The late Tammy Wynette was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. Also inducted were songwriters Mark D. Sanders, who wrote 'I Hope You Dance' with Tia Sillers, recorded by Lee Ann Womack; and Kye Fleming, who penned 'Sleeping Single in a Double Bed' for Barbara Mandrell and 'Smokey Mountain Rain' for Ronnie Milsap.
NSAI also handed out awards to songwriters for ten songs the organization's members voted as 'The Song I Wish I'd Written.' Receiving awards were Mac McAnally, 'Down The Road,' recorded by Kenny Chesney and Mac; Jim Collins and Marty Dodson, 'Everybody Wants to go to Heaven,' recorded by Kenny Chesney; Randy Travis' 'I Told You So,' recorded by Carrie Underwood; Jamey Johnson, Lee Thomas Miller and James Otto for 'In Color,' recorded by Jamey; Deanna Bryant, Heidi Newfield and Stephony Smith for 'Johnny and June,' recorded by Heidi; Erin Enderlin and Shane McAnally for 'Last Call,' recorded by Lee Ann Womack; Bobby Braddock and Troy Jones for 'People Are Crazy,' recorded by Billy Currington; Monty Holmes and Leslie Satcher for 'Troubadour,' recorded by George Strait; Don Sampson and Wynn Varble for 'Waitin' on a Woman,' recorded by Brad Paisley; Steve Robson and Jeffrey Still, 'What Hurts the Most,' recorded by Cascada.