Music News (3/17/21)


NMPA S.O.N.G.S. Foundation Announces Free Tax Prep For Nashville Songwriters

The NMPA S.O.N.G.S. Foundation (Supporting Our Next Generation of Songwriters) is continuing its partnership with H&R Block and once again providing free tax prep services to songwriters in the Nashville area this spring. The program is part of its effort to provide direct assistance to working music creators during the pandemic and beyond.

“We encourage songwriters to utilize free tax preparation this year as we know so many of them are suffering. The pandemic has put many burdens on creators and we are hopeful that the Foundation can alleviate this one. We thank H&R Block for their partnership and sharing our commitment to helping the Nashville songwriting community,” said NMPA S.O.N.G.S. Foundation President David Israelite.

For more information and to make a free tax preparation appointment, visit and fill out the form under the Free Tax Preparation.

Launched in 2015, the NMPA S.O.N.G.S. Foundation supports writers through funding educational programs, direct financial assistance and services, and through partnerships with institutions and organizations to enhance opportunities for music creators. The Foundation has provided over $250,000 in funding, grants and scholarships to universities including Belmont, LA College of Music, MTSU and Howard University, among others. The Board includes Israelite, Steven Tyler, Jewel, Kara DioGuardi, Golnar Khosrowshahi, Lee Thomas Miller, Danielle Aguirre and Charlotte Sellmyer.

Ross Copperman Signs With Photo Finish Records

Ross Copperman. Photo: Gus Black

Award-winning singer, songwriter, and producer Ross Copperman has signed a deal with the New York-based Photo Finish Records.

Along with the signing, Copperman announced an upcoming solo project set for May 2021, his first in nearly 10 years.

“My friendship with Ross began in 2003 when we were interns, eager to take over the music industry,” says Michael Collin, general manager of Photo Finish. “I recognized his talent immediately, and since that time have loved watching his success as a writer/producer. I am proud to welcome him as a performing artist to the PFR family and excited that the stars finally aligned for us to work together in an official capacity. I look forward to showing the world what I’ve always known about Ross—that he is a gifted and brilliant artist.”

“I’ve closely followed the work the team at Photo Finish Records has done over the last decade,” says Copperman. “From discovery to development, they’ve done an incredible job breaking artists in the pop space. I’m so thrilled and grateful to have such an incredible team behind my new music.”

The Grammy-nominated songwriter has written and produced music for Dierks Bentley, Darius Rucker, Keith Urban and more, as well as written major country hits including Blake Shelton and Gwen Stefani’s “Nobody But You,” Luke Bryan’s “What She Wants Tonight” and Kelsea Ballerini and Halsey’s duet, “The Other Girl.”

Some of Copperman’s accolades include four BMI Songwriter of The Year awards, two Academy of Country Music award wins, 29 No. 1 radio hits and two Grammy award nominations. Copperman has also won two CMA Triple Play Awards for penning three No. 1 songs in a 12-month period.

The hit songwriter joins Photo Finish Records roster including SHAED, 3OH!3, Lakeview, guardin, and joan.

Recording Academy Forms New Songwriters & Composers Wing

The Recording Academy has established a new Songwriters & Composers Wing to help foster recognition of all genres of songwriters and amplify their unique role in policy discussions that seek fair compensation for creators. The new wing will be dedicated to elevating, supporting, and advocating on behalf of music’s storytellers.

Songwriter and Recording Academy Los Angeles Chapter President Evan Bogart will serve as Chair of the Songwriters & Composers Wing; Ashley GorleyLamont Dozier, Kenny Babyface Edmonds, Carole King, Jimmy Jam, Tania León, Gustavo Santaolalla, Valerie Simpson, Diane Warren, and Hans Zimmer will serve as honorary chairs; and Susan Stewart, Senior Director, South Region at the Recording Academy will serve as Executive Sponsor.

Currently, a third of the Recording Academy’s voting membership identify songwriting or composing as part of their craft, and these members will be automatically included in the new Wing. Those interested in joining can find membership information on the Recording Academy’s Songwriters & Composers Wing page on Through educational offerings including panels, mixers, songwriting retreats, and mentorship, the Wing will provide opportunities for recognition, networking and collaboration and also spotlight emerging opportunities for song and scoring achievement within a variety of media globally.

“The musical process begins with our fellow songwriters and composers, and we’re thrilled to launch this Wing at the Academy that creates a home for music’s storytellers across the country,” says Harvey Mason jr., chair and interim president/CEO of the Recording Academy. “These creatives are essential to the music community and we look forward to collaborating with our industry colleagues to support, educate and empower the diverse members in these crafts.”

“The S&C Wing magnifies the presence of songwriters and composers throughout our membership body,” said Ruby Marchand, chief industry officer at the Recording Academy. “Many songwriters and composers are also producers, engineers, musicians, and recording artists. We look forward to celebrating their full array of talents and accomplishments.”

“Just as music begins with the song, music advocacy begins with the songwriter,” said Daryl Friedman, chief advocacy officer at the Recording Academy. “We are pleased to continue our fight for songwriters and composers’ rights, reenergized by the newly organized advocates of the Songwriters & Composers Wing.”

Jordan Gray Signs With Sea Gayle Music

Pictured (L-R, top row): John Lytle, David Crow, Brandon Gregg; (L-R, middle row): Kim Wiggins, Emily Whitters, Chris DuBois; (L-R, bottom row): Marc Driskill, Jordan Gray, JD Groover

Artist-writer Jordan Gray has signed a global publishing deal with Sea Gayle Music.

Gray grew up in Lamar, South Carolina. In 2015 he released his first EP, West of The Pines, which helped him build a following on streaming and social media platforms. With the help of his song “Stay The Night,” he amassed 10 million streams, toured the southeast circuit, and moved to Nashville to pursue music full time.

Since arriving in Nashville, Gray has immersed himself in the Nashville songwriting community building relationships with several writers and publishers.

“I’ve known Jordan a long time. To watch him grow into the writer, artist, and human he is today is a pleasure. I am over the moon he chose us as his first publishing home in Nashville. Thank you Ward [Guenther] for letting me fill in at Whiskey Jam. This might not have happened!” says Sr. Creative Director at Sea Gayle Music, JD Groover.

Gray says, “Chris DuBois has an impressive background in the writing and publishing world and has helped many writers and artists develop successful careers in this industry. He has built a great team at Sea Gayle and I am excited to be a part of their writer’s group. I feel Chris, JD, and Sea Gayle will be a great developmental partner for me and I am looking forward to seeing what we can build together.”

John Lytle, Gray’s manager, adds, “We are thrilled to have Sea Gayle as a partner in Jordan’s career. It is a dream to find fervent believers like Chris and J.D. who see the potential in this young talent and have them join the crusade!”