Songwriting nabs second ACM Lifting Lives grant

acm lifting lives 2017The Department of Recording Industry’s Songwriting concentration, headed by Assistant Professor Odie Blackmon, received a second $10,000 grant from the Academy of Country Music Lifting Lives Foundation.

Blackmon, who wrote the grant, said the funds will be used to continue his “Music Row in Murfreesboro,” a program that brings professional songwriters to campus to work with songwriting students. The grant helps reimburse the pros’ expenses for their visits to MTSU.

“The Lifting Lives Foundation apparently liked the fact that 30 percent of our students at MTSU are first-generation college students,” Blackmon said, “and then they saw that we have 16 full-time music business professors, 14 audio professors and one full-time songwriting professor, so I think they felt it would be a good opportunity for us to bring some real industry pros and even more diversity to our students.”

ascap awards 2017

MTSU at the ASCAPs

The foundation is the philanthropic arm of the Academy of Country Music and develops and funds music-related therapy and education programs. It uses donations from artists and fans to fund programs ranging from disaster relief to music camps and music therapy for people with disabilities and military veterans.

Blackmon has brought multiple hit songwriters to campus, the most recent being Dave Pahanish, who wrote No. 1 hits for Toby Keith and Keith Urban. Pahanish spent time this past semester in a songwriting practicum with MTSU students, working to help improve and polish their writing.

“The list of hit songwriters coming to MTSU is growing and growing,” Blackmon said.

For details on MTSU’s Commercial Songwriting Program in the College of Media and Entertainment, visit

dave pahanish

Dave Pahanish (center) with MTSU songwriting students

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