ASCAP Members Emily Bear, Hannah Dasher, Sylvan Esso, Oskari Nurminen Earn Songwriters Hall of Fame Awards

May 16, 2018

The Songwriters Hall of Fame has announced four ASCAP members and affiliates as recipients of the 2018 Abe Olman Scholarships for Excellence in SongwritingThe Holly Prize and The NYU Steinhardt Songwriting Scholar Award. 

Abe Olman Scholarship recipients: Emily Bear & Hannah Dasher

Abe Olman, for whom this program is named, was both a major figure in the music publishing community and a songwriter himself, in addition to being one of the founders of the Songwriters Hall of Fame. The Abe Olman Scholarships, given out annually since 1990, have been made possible by his family in the interest of encouraging and supporting the careers of young songwriters. 

Emily Bear accepts her Abe Olman Scholarship certificate from ASCAP's Loretta Muñoz and John Titta

Emily Bear started composing music at age 3 and was a published composer by age 4.  She made her professional concert debut at 5 and at 6, was awarded her first ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Award. Now 16, Bear has achieved groundbreaking success worldwide as a pianist, composer, and singer-songwriter. A chart-topping recording artist, she enjoys arranging, orchestrating, and performing in a diverse collection of styles, including pop, film scoring, jazz, and classical. She has performed on many of the world’s most famous stages including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Montreux Jazz Festival and the Hollywood Bowl. An Emmy award winning documentary about Bear has more than 32 million views on YouTube. She has been featured on television programs in the US and around the world. Quincy Jones states, “She is the complete 360-degree package, and there are no limits to the musical heights she can reach.” In 2016 and 2017, Bear received the ASCAP Herb Alpert Jazz Composer of the Year Award. She has performed multiple piano concertos; and orchestra's world-wide have played her original orchestral compositions. Bear recently starred in a 25-concert sold-out stadium tour of Europe, featuring a 70-piece orchestra, choir, and rock band which was filmed for three prime-time television specials. LA-based, Bear’s unique perspective and approach to songwriting enables her to move seamlessly between musical genres and has contributed to her knack for writing memorable hooks. Bear has been in great demand to write for other artists while working on her upcoming pop release.

ASCAP's Evyn Mustoe presents Hannah Dasher with her Abe Olman Scholarship certificate

A Nashville transplant by way of Coastal Georgia with a dream and a six string, Hannah Dasher is making waves in country music. With influences ranging from Dolly and Aretha to Eric Church and Tom Petty, some compare Hannah Dasher's sound to "Hot Chicken with Honey.” Hannah recently celebrated her first songwriting cut on Brad Paisley's new Love and War album. The track entitled, "Go To Bed Early”, also features Hannah on background vocals. She is currently writing for Sony/ATV Nashville and Two Black Dogs Publishing, a company formed by hit songwriter and The Cadillac Three front man, Jaren Johnston. Over the last year, Dasher and Johnston have been working tirelessly on her debut record, “Heavy,” which will be released later this year. “Hannah has a voice and personality I feel the country format desperately needs,” says producer and publisher Jaren Johnston. Her ‘Dolly Parton on cocaine’ vibe puts her in a league of her own. She is a rock star plain and simple and I can’t wait for the world to experience her.”  Catch Dasher out on the road this Spring and Summer opening for The Cadillac Three for their “Long Hair Don’t Care Tour.” 

2018 Holly Prize: Sylvan Esso, featuring ASCAP member Nick Sanborn

The Holly Prize is an award made possible by Songmasters and administered and juried by the SHOF as a tribute to the legacy of SHOF inductee Buddy Holly. The Holly Prize will annually recognize and support a new "all-in-one songwriter "- an exceptionally talented and inspired young musician/singer/songwriter whose work exhibits the qualities of Holly's music: true, great and original. 

(l-r) ASCAP's Jason Silberman, Songmasters’ Regan McCarthy, Sylvan Esso’s Amelia Meath & Nick Sanborn and SESAC’s Jamie Dominguez

Sylvan Esso's Amelia Meath had written a song called “Play It Right” and sung it with her trio Mountain Man, after which she met Nick Sanborn, an electronic producer working under the name Made of Oak. She asked him to scramble the song, to render her work his way. He did the obligatory remix, but he sensed that there was something more important here than a one-time handoff: Of all the songs Sanborn had ever recast, this was the first time he felt he’d added to the raw material without subtracting from it, as though, across the unseen wires of online file exchange, he’d found his new collaborator without even looking. Sylvan Esso then became a band and a year later, their self-titled debut arrived. Sylvan Esso represents the fulfillment of their fortuitous encounter by, once again, linking parts that too often come stripped of their counterparts. Sylvan Esso’s sophomore album, What Now, is the sound of a band truly fulfilling the potential and promise of their   debut. Everything has evolved - the production is bolder, the vocals are more intense, the melodies are more infectious, and the songs shine that much brighter. What Now is an album of the finest songs this band has ever written- produced masterfully, sang fearlessly- to articulate our collective undercurrents of anxiety and joy. 

NYU Steinhardt Songwriting Scholar Award: Oskari Nurminen (TEOSTO)

The Award is presented to a music composition student whose work holds great potential for success in the field, and embodies the art, craft, individuality and qualities of communication of the best songwriting.  

ASCAP's Loretta Muñoz with Oskari Nurminen

Oskari Nurminen is a songwriter, guitar player, and aspiring producer from Helsinki, Finland. His sound is deeply rooted in the classic and timeless melodies of singer-songwriters like James Taylor, but he also never shies away from exploring new musical frontiers through collaboration. Raised in Munich, Germany, Oskari played guitar, drums, bass, and sang in bands throughout his teenage years. But it wasn't until a trip to Nashville, Tennessee, in 2010, that he fell in love with the craft of songwriting. He hasn't stopped pursuing that love since. Oskari received a Bachelor of Arts in Musicology from Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany, in 2015. During his undergraduate career, he was also very fortunate to be able to spend a year as an exchange student at UCLA's Herb Alpert School of Music.

Oskari has worked in artist management for one of the biggest pop stars in his home country, overseen record releases as a product manager at a boutique indie label, and he had the opportunity to co-write two tracks for an album by Finnish 90s pop icon, Mika Ikonen. However, his hunger for knowledge drew him back to school, and in 2017, he started in NYU Steinhardt's unique graduate program in Songwriting. Without a doubt, Oskari is eager to see what this new chapter has in store for him. Recently, he was a semi-finalist at the Unsigned Only music competition and a finalist in the best male artist category at the International Acoustic Music Awards. He continues to hone his craft one song at a time and he is looking forward to shaping the future of popular music, while constantly trying to share his knowledge with new generations of music creators.

Find more information about all of the 2018 recipients in the Scholarship section of the website.