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Catawba College Student Derek Daisey Places Second in National BMI Foundation's John Lennon Songwriting Contest

May 8, 2007

Category: Academics, Music, Students

Derek DaiseyFor the second year in a row, a Catawba College student has been named a top finisher in the BMI Foundation's Tenth Annual John Lennon Songwriting Contest. Derek Daisey, a 20-year-old resident of Lewes, Delaware, and a music business major, tied for second place in the 2007 competition and will receive a $5,000 scholarship for his song "Where to Begin."

Catawba College 2006 graduate and one of Daisey's fellow students, Dennis Reed of Charlotte, was the first place overall winner of the 2006 BMI Foundation's John Lennon Songwriting Contest for his song "Out of Control." Reed's top place finish paved the way for future Catawba College entries to skip the state and regional levels and be submitted directly into national competition. According to Catawba College Professor of Music David Fish, that sets Catawba apart.

"The Lennon competition receives close to 1300 entries from college students across the country each year," notes Fish, coordinator of the Catawba College music business concentration and both Daisey's and Reed's songwriting teacher. "Dennis winning last year might be seen by some as a fluke. Derek's second place finish this year makes it look more like a trend. Catawba is definitely on the map now when it comes to the study of songwriting and popular music."


Sample Tracks from
All Behind Me
by Derek Daisey '09,
Catawba Student

Daisey has spent the better part of seven years writing and creating his own music. He started attending Catawba two years ago and last year, he became a national finalist in the BMI Foundation's John Lennon Songwriting Contest with his entry, "Only 17." This year, after spending seven months at Hit Music Inc. with producers Jimm Mosher and Alan Grossman, he has successfully released his first album "All Behind Me." Copies of his CD are available via his website at

Born in Ft. Myers, Fla., Daisey began singing and mastering the guitar at age 13 after having been heavily influenced by John Rzeznik and the musical styles of the Goo Goo Dolls. Listening to music, he says, offered him "a relieving escape at times during adolescence," but writing songs "liberated demons through rhymes and captivating melodies." He began constructing his own library of songs and other emotional conceptions.

Derek Daisey - All Behind MeAfter writing songs, entering contests, and even winning some awards, at age 18, Daisey teamed up with Keith Mack, the former guitarist for Scandal and Joe Cocker, to record his song, "Only 17." This song which described the many limitations and frustrations a young individual experiences at 17 years of age was the one he entered into the national BMI Foundation's 9th Annual John Lennon Scholarship Awards last year.

The 2007 judges included hit songwriter Jeff Cohen, Zomba Songs' Jennifer Blakeman, Dimensional Music Publishing's Neil J. Gillis, esteemed jazz specialist Suzan Jenkins, and Spirit Music Group's Justin Kalifowitz. The preliminary judging panel included Charles Feldman, Samantha Cox, Wardell Malloy, June Neira, and Ben Tischker, all from BMI's New York-based Writer/Publisher Relations team. Thousands of students representing schools from every state participated in the competition.

Established by Yoko Ono in 1997 in conjunction with the BMI Foundation, the John Lennon Scholarships have been made possible through generous donations from Ono with matching funds from Gibson Musical Instruments. Almost $200,000 has been awarded over the last ten years to students from select colleges, universities and music schools, and from national submissions from the National Association of Music Education/MENC chapters.


Derek Daisey's Music Featured
on TV Commercial

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The BMI Foundation, Inc. is a not-for-profit corporation founded in 1985 to support the creation, performance, and study of music through awards, scholarships, commissions and grants. Tax-deductible donations to the Foundation come primarily from songwriters, composers and publishers, BMI employees and members of the public with a special interest in music. Because both the Foundation staff and the distinguished members of the Advisory Panel serve without compensation, over 95% of all donations and income are used for charitable grants.

For more details on the BMI Foundation, Inc. and the annual John Lennon Songwriting Contest, visit the BMI Foundation website at




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