AIMP Nashville Awards Announces Nominees for Sixth Annual Event

After a canceled 2020 event followed by an arduous year, the Nashville Chapter of the Association of Independent Music Publishers will finally celebrate the creatives who penned groundbreaking silver linings on April 27—hosting their sixth annual AIMP Nashville Awards event at The Listening Room Café. Only nominees and sponsors will be invited to attend in person, with masks and social distancing required. The event will also be livestreamed and made available to AIMP members.

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The association—whose primary focus is to educate and inform music publishers about the most current industry trends and practices—announced the 2021 nominees including  23 independent music publishers and 19 songwriters. Among them are the movers and shakers of Music City who captured the humanity between this year’s hardships to mark history with enduring hits.

Publisher’s Picks like Alicia Keys and Brandi Carlile’s “Beautiful Noise” and Maren Morris’s “Better Than We Found It” face socio-political issues that will define 2020 in future textbooks. The Rising Songwriter of the Year category highlights voices like Alex Kline and Steph Jones, whose perspectives emerged against all odds to tell stories and shape Nashville’s musical legacy. Artist-Writer of the Year nominees like Ashley McBryde and Brothers Osborne exhibit the musical strength of singing their truth.

“Given our currently trying times, it’s even more important to remember and honor the good from the past year,” said John Ozier, AIMP National Chair and President of the AIMP Nashville Chapter. “The independent music publishing community never stops, and this year showed its ingenuity as songwriters found new ways to connect and create music that both captured the moment and provided solace to listeners. We look forward to recognizing their achievements.”

Big Machine Label Group was the most-nominated independent publisher with 10 nods, followed by Round Hill Music with five, Concord Music Publishing with four, and Curb | Word Music Publishing, peermusic, Relative Music Group, SMACKSongs, Spirit Music, and Tape Room Music with three each. Ashley Gorley, HARDY, and Jonathan Singleton were the top songwriters with three nominations apiece.

Below is a full list of nominees by category. Voting is open to all AIMP Nashville Chapter members and will begin on March 24 and end on March 30. Those who would like to vote must establish AIMP Nashville Chapter membership by March 23.


Alex Kline (Ziggys Z Music)

Benjy Davis (Big Machine Music)

Jake Mitchell (Reservoir Media / Patrick Joseph Music)

Matt Alderman (Curb | Word Music Publishing)

Neil Medley (Mojo Music & Media / Son of a Carl Music)

Nicolette Hayford (River House / SMACKSongs)

Steph Jones (Disney Music Publishing / Hipgnosis Song Group)


Avenue Beat (Tape Room Music)

Jameson Rodgers (Combustion Music)

Ruston Kelly (Concord Music Publishing)

Ryan Hurd (Big Machine Music)

Tenille Arts (Oven Music)

Tenille Townes (Big Yellow Dog)


Ashley McBryde (Jody Williams Songs)

Brothers Osborne (King Pen Music)

Carly Pearce (Altadena)

Eric Church (Little Louder Music)

Jon Pardi (Song Factory Music)


Allison Jones (Big Machine Label Group)

Ciara Shortridge (Curb | Word Music Publishing)

Jake Gear (Hang Your Hat Music)

Laurel Kittleson-Cobb (Curb | Word Entertainment)

Trina Smith-Dort (Me Gusta Music)

Ward Guenther (Whiskey Jam)


“Beautiful Noise” written by Alicia Keys, Brandi Carlile, Brandy Clark, Hailey Whitters, Hillary Lindsey, Lori McKenna, Linda Perry, Ruby Amanfu
Independently published by Atlas Music Publishing, Big Machine Music, Carnival Music, Concord Music Publishing, Creative Nation, Deep Dark Robot Music, Happy People Music, Like Butta Baby Music, Maps and Records Music, peermusic
Recorded by Brandi Carlile & Alicia Keys

“Better Than We Found It” written by Jessie Jo Dillon, Jimmy Robbins, Laura Veltz, Maren Morris
Independently published by Big Ass Pile of Dimes Music, Big Machine Music, Heroes and Halos Music, Millicent Hill Music, JRM3, Muse Magic, Round Hill Music
Recorded by Maren Morris

“Chasing After You” written by Brinley Addington, Jerry Flowers
Independently published by Adding Tone Music, Combustion Music, Downtown Music Group, Mojo Music & Media, Tape Room Music
Recorded by Maren Morris & Ryan Hurd

“Give Heaven Some Hell” written by Ashley Gorley, Ben Johnson, Hunter Phelps, Michael Hardy
Independently published by Big Blue Nation Music, Caleb’s College Fund, Relative Music Group. Round Hill Music, Tape Room Music
Recorded by HARDY

“Janice at the Hotel Bar” written by Hailey Whitters, Lori McKenna
Independently published by Carnival Music, Creative Nation, Concord Music Publishing, Maps and Records Music, Pulse Music Group
Recorded by Hailey Whitters

“Things a Man Oughta Know” written by Jason Nix, Jonathan Singleton, Lainey Wilson
Independently published by Big Machine Music, Spirit Music
Recorded by Lainey Wilson


“Ain’t Always the Cowboy” written by Brandon Kinney, Josh Thompson
Independently published by Big Machine Music, MV2 Music, peermusic, Whiskey Tub Music
Recorded by Jon Pardi

“Bluebird” written by Luke Dick, Miranda Lambert, Natalie Hemby
Independently published by Emileon Songs, Little Louder Songs
Recorded by Miranda Lambert

“Die From a Broken Heart” written by Deric Rutan, Jonathan Singleton, Madison Marlow, Taylor Dye
Independently published by Big Machine Music, Jehovah Nissi Music, Seven Red Birds Publishing, Spirit Music
Recorded by Maddie & Tae

“I Hope You’re Happy Now” written by Carly Pearce, Jonathan Singleton, Luke Combs, Randy Montana
Independently published by 50 Egg Music, Altadena, Big Machine Music, Jett Music, Spirit Music, Straight Dimes Publishing
Recorded by Carly Pearce & Lee Brice

“One of Them Girls” written by Ashley Gorley, Ben Johnson, Dallas Davidson, Lee Brice
Independently published by 8Minute Publishing, Artist Publishing Group, Big Blue Nation Music, Caleb’s College Fund, Play It Again Music Group, Natalia’s Music Money, Round Hill Music
Recorded by Lee Brice

“One Night Standards” written by Ashley McBryde, Nicolette Hayford, Shane McAnally
Independently published by Canned Biscuit Songs, River House, SMACKSongs, Smackstreet Music, Tempo Investments
Recorded by Ashley McBryde

“Some Girls” written by CJ Solar, Jake Mitchell, Michael Hardy
Independently published by Harding Road Music, Sea Gayle Music, Relative Music Group, West Pass Music
Recorded by Jameson Rodgers


Michael Hardy (Relative Music Group)

Ashley Gorley (Round Hill Music)

Shane McAnally (Tempo Investments)

Josh Thompson (MV2 Entertainment)

Ernest K Smith (Big Loud Music)

Hillary Lindsey (Concord Music Publishing)


Big Machine Music

Downtown Music Publishing

Kobalt Music


Round Hill Music


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