NRS Series 10 Final

What a fantastic final round we had! Our 4 finalists came back to compete head to head, each sharing their best 4 songs. Our 7 music industry judges rated each song from 1-100 and we added up their ratings to determine the judges winning song. The audience voted for their favorite song and that song received an extra 25 points added to the judges total. The top rated song was our final winner. We had over 5,000 views of our live stream over on our Facebook Page.

Ian McConnell was the grand prize winning songwriter of Nashville Rising Star Songwriter Open-Mic Contest Series 10 Finals. From left to right, Mark Barnowski, Loren Johnson, Lou Spoltore, Sheree Spoltore, Ian McConnell, Mason Douglas, Eric Gallimore, Jason Wyatt and Keith Mohr (NRS Creator/Director)

Here’s a recap of the Final:

Brooke Alexx
Callie McCullough
James Gregory
Ian McConnell


Ian McConnell- “I’m Not Jesus”

Watch a video of Ian’s winning song below:


Eric grew up in the music business and, at an early age, and became an integral part of the companies run by his father, mega-hit producer Byron Gallimore (Tim McGraw, Sugarland, Brooks & Dunn, Faith Hill, Jodee Messina, and many more). His work continues as he also pitches songs and scouts talent for Amped Entertainment, an independent music publishing company.
Jason was the very first winner of Rising Star, when we started the contest some 8 years ago here in Franklin! Since that time, Jason was the lead singer of the ACM nominated 4 time top 40 band “The Lost Trailers.” Jason now focuses his time developing new artists, and has made a name for himself writing and producing projects from country to pop to Rock.
He is the CEO of Nashville Artist Development.
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Mason has covered a lot of bases of the music business over his 16-year journey in Nashville. Currently in his 7th year as staff writer for the boutique publishing company, Judy Harris Music, Mason is a Top 40 Hit Songwriter, “American Beauty” He is currently working on his own long-awaited full length album due in mid-2017.
Mason has been a mentor with NSAI

Mason authored a book on Nashville pop-culture, titled “Now You Know Nashville”, which features the stories about Nashville you never knew about: where hit songs were written, studio stories, celebrity houses and grave sites, foodie items, and over 350 locations in town that you can’t miss.

Mason is also an actor, appearing in a number of “Nashville” episodes, most notably as the “Beverly Sound Guy”, as well as featured in numerous commercials for Ram, Nissan, Dayton Tires, Twice Daily, and UpDesk, to name a few.
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For over 20 years, Loren has as served as the founder and CEO of the Christopher Entertainment Organization (C.E.O.), a production and consulting firm primarily focused in the entertainment business. During this time he gained extensive experience in music production, marketing-management, distribution, creative consulting, and new technologies. He has earned credits and served as a consultant and/or producer on over 50 album projects for ten national record companies including Grammy Award winning producers, INC 50 entrepreneurs and world-renowned artists. He is an award-winning, cross-genre, modern record producer with many years of experience in both DAW as well as classical recording environments. In 2015 he produced and was a co-writer on Louisa Wendorff’s Arrow EP which reached #1 on the Billboard Heatseeker Charts and # 2 on the iTunes Singer Songwriter Chart.
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Sheree and Lou are the CEO’s of Global Songwriters Connection an fantastic resource for songwriters not only locally, but internationally as well. Both Sheree and Lou have been active for years in the Nashville creative community. Sheree gained extensive experience working in various industry roles, including as a song plugger, a staff writer, and several management roles. Lou is VP of Operations for “Live On Stage” They are an industry leading company presenting talent to community concert organizations.

Sheree understands every nuance of the singer/songwriter journey from her own personal experience as a successful Indy artist. Born into a life full of music, her mother and father, Jackie and John Young, were singer/songwriters. Mr. Young owned a state-of-the-art studio in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. Sheree’ experienced great success in her early career, touring the United States and Europe with the National Choir, performing a solo at Carnegie Hall and in an off-Broadway production. Sheree’s songs have been cut by numerous independent artists and featured in film, television, and commercials. She was also honored to be invited to perform her original song “A Place Called Hope, America” at President Clinton’s 1993 Inaugural festivities.

Sheree’s love of music led her to Music Row where she gained extensive experience working in various industry roles, including as a song plugger, a staff writer, and several management roles. She has worked side-by-side with music industry legends, such as Barbara Orbison, wife of the late Roy Orbison, Merle Kilgore, who co-wrote the classic Johnny Cash hit “Ring of Fire;” and Hank Williams, Jr.

Service to the songwriting community is Sheree’s biggest passion. For seven years, she filled the role of National Membership Director and Assistant Executive Director of Membership for the world’s largest songwriters association, Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI). While at NSAI, she created programs that developed thousands of songwriters worldwide and resulted in over 180 publishing deals, record deals, and innumerable successful independent artist careers. Sheree’ has worked with Grammy award-winning hit songwriters, producers, label executives, creative directors, artist managers, publishers, and many other industry professionals.

Sheree’ has been featured as a music industry expert speaker at world class songwriter events, such as the Frank Brown Songwriters Festival, Pensacola Beach Songwriters Festival, East Coast Songwriters Convention, the Gospel Music Association’s Immerse Program, as well as local colleges and schools such as Middle Tennessee State University, Tennessee State University, Volunteer State Community College, Belmont University, and Hendersonville High School. Sheree’ is fiercely devoted to remaining connected to her local community while serving songwriters across the globe. She was recognized as one of Nashville’s top Community Role Models in the Nashville Scene’s Best of Awards 2013 and also received the WMBA Ambassador Award.

Sheree’ is a member of the Women’s Music Business Association, Country Music Association, Source, and the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. She currently serves on several boards, including the Gallatin Arts Council and Tennessee Songwriters Association International.

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Mark is the acting membership Director at TSAI. Mark is also a singer/songwriter who moved from “Motown” to “Music City” five years ago. He hit the ground running and in 2015 won the (TSAI) Tennessee Songwriters Association International Male Songwriter of the year award, TSAI’s 2016 Song Of The Year and received a special award from the TSAI Board Of Directors for outstanding contributions to the songwriter/music community.

As an artist, “Mark Edwards” charted 4 top 50 singles and reached #43 on Billboards Adult Contemporary Charts. His Debut single “Just Having Touched” peaked at #15 and was the highest Charting independent AC single in the Gavin Report’s history.

Mark earned 20 Gold and Platinum Records as a record promoter for artists such as Michael W Smith, Bruce Hornsby, Harry Connick Jr. and has a multi- platinum award for promoting the longest running single in Billboard History “How Do I Live” by LeAnn Rimes.

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Check out pics of the event.

Watch a replay of the entire event here: