NRS Series 9 Semi-Final

We had an incredible semi-final round to determine the final 4 songwriters! A packed house and over 31000 people watched our live stream over on our Facebook Page.. We did not hear a single bad song, and our judges had their work cut out for them picking their favorite 3. Our audience winner won by just 20 votes! Over 10,000 total votes were cast!

Here’s our semi-finalists of Series 9 with their 11×14 prints provided by our photographer, Pete Za.


1- Callie Cash
2- Megan Arial
3- Rob Carona
4- Jordan St Cyr
5- Eddie Fay
6- Evan Lee
7- Chad Cates
8- Jess Jocoy
9- Jesse Lopez
10- Will Scruggs
11- JoyBeth Taylor
12- Brady Alan Jones
13- Cheyloe Martin
14- Amy Lynn

The winners of Nashville Rising Star Songwriter Open Mic Contest Series 9 Semi-Final round. From left to right, Mark Mark E Barnowski (music industry judge), Sandy Ramos (music industry judge), JoyBeth Taylor (music industry judge winner), Jordan St Cyr (music industry judge winner), Willy Scruggs (music industry judge winner), Megan Arial (audience winner), Chad Jeffers (music industry judge), Cyndy Montgomery Reeves (music industry judge), Keith Mohr (NRS creator/director)


Megan Arial (Audience Winner)
Jordan St Cyr (Judges Winner)
JoyBeth Taylor (Judges Winner)
Will Scruggs (Judges Winner)

These 4 talented songwriters will come back for the final round to be held Wednesday, May 31, 2017 at Kings Bowl- The Whiskey Room Live.


Mark Barnowski
Mark is 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” he 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.

Mark is now the acting membership Director at TSAI.

Chad Jeffers
Chad is a songwriter, touring musician, author and producer. Chad began his career in the band, Pinmonkey, that he co-founded and was signed to RCA. He then went on to tour with Keith Urban, Kenny Loggins, Jamie O’Neal and many others. In 2007, he started touring with country superstar, Carrie Underwood. In 2008, he authored and published his first book, “25 Notes for the Successful Musician.” When he isn’t in the studio producing other artists or touring the world, he is avidly continuing his passion as a songwriter.
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Sandy Ramos
Sandy is the CEO of The Songtuner. Her songs have appeared on over 25 million CDs, having been recorded by the Dixie Chicks, Faith Hill, Lee Greenwood, Neal McCoy, Anne Murray, & Kenny Rogers and many others. She has had multiple ASCAP writer and publisher awards as well as Billboard Top 5 & 10 hits and a #1 Dance hit with “I Brake For Brunettes” recorded by Rhett Akins. Sandy loves to help songwriters make their songs better!
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Cyndy Reeves
Cyndy is the founder and director of the Smoky Mountains Songwriter Festival held in Gatlinburg, TN in August. The Smoky Mountains Songwriters Festival is a platform for songwriters to perform their original songs. You will recognize many of these songs from the “Hit” lists. The songwriter not only performs but tells you the story behind the song. It is one of the greatest entertainment venues you will ever see. Public Invited. 4 days of free live entertainment in downtown Gatlinburg.
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Watch a replay of the entire event below:

See pics of the round below