Belmont to Host 18th Annual Johnny Mercer Songwriters Project

close up of guitar
Curb College of Entertainment & Music Business

Belmont to Host 18th Annual Johnny Mercer Songwriters Project

March 7, 2024 | by Julia Couch Copeland


For its 18th annual Songwriters Project, The Johnny Mercer Foundation and Belmont University are pleased to announce the Songwriters Project will continue at Belmont University this summer, June 2024. Known for fostering emerging songwriters’ talent, the week-long intensive course offers young songwriters — across all musical genres — an unparalleled opportunity for mentorship, instruction and collaborative creativity.

Funded by a grant through the Johnny Mercer Foundation, the program welcomes aspiring songwriters, ages 18-30, to Belmont to immerse themselves in the creative process, hone their skills and refine their craft. From lyric writing to melody composition, participants will receive personalized guidance and feedback to help them reach their full potential as songwriters. The program will culminate with a concert showcasing the works crafted by the participants.

"Over the years we’ve always encouraged our songwriting students to attend the Johnny Mercer summer program, and several did,” said Drew Ramsey, co-chair of Belmont University’s Songwriting department. “We had been exploring summer camp opportunities to host at Belmont and had just cemented a new relationship with the Songwriters Hall of Fame, which Johnny Mercer founded. So, when the Johnny Mercer Foundation contacted us about hosting their summer Songwriters Project the timing couldn’t have been better and seemed meant to be. Our synchronous vision for nurturing young songwriters exemplifies our shared commitment to help shape the future of music."

Master teachers for the 2024 cohort include Craig Carnelia (“Working,” “Sweet Smell of Success”), Stephen Bray (“The Color Purple”), and Victoria Banks (Canadian Country Music Association Artist of the Year and Belmont songwriting instructor). These industry veterans bring a wealth of experience and expertise to the program, offering invaluable insights and mentorship to aspiring songwriters.

“The relocation and reimagining of the program in the songwriting capital of the world, will allow participants to benefit from the expertise and experience that only Nashville can provide,” said JMF Executive Vice President, Jonathan Brielle. “We had a great run at Northwestern University for the last 17 years and are so grateful to its staff for helping facilitate this program.”

Applications are open now through April 5 with final notifications sent May 13. Find more information at


About the Johnny Mercer Foundation

The mission of the Johnny Mercer Foundation (JMF) is to support the discipline of songwriting in the tradition of the Great American Songbook as exemplified by the life and work of the legendary Johnny Mercer: lyricist, composer, performer, collaborator, and producer. The Foundation continues Johnny’s legacy by partnering with individuals and organizations dedicated to celebrating and nourishing the disciplines he mastered and the causes he and his wife Ginger Mercer championed.  JMF has created a number of dynamic creative joint ventures with several prestigious institutions including the JMF Grove at Goodspeed Musicals, Accentuate the Positive Programs in Los Angeles and New York’s Kaufman Music Center,  the JMF Musical Theater Composition Residency at the Alliance Theatre (Atlanta), the JMF Songwriting Initiative at Snow Pond Center for the Arts (Maine), the Johnny Mercer Songwriting Project at Belmont University (Nashville), the Georgia State University Fellowship Program,  and the Johnny Mercer Archives at Georgia State University.  JMF also supports the Johnny Mercer Music Program at the Braille Institute, Los Angeles. For more information, please visit

Interested in learning more about songwriting at Belmont?