Taylor Swift became the youngest ever winner of the coveted Songwriter of the Year prize at the BMI Country Awards on Tuesday, November 9 night. The 20-year-old singer/songwriter was the toast of the awards show, which celebrates the most played songs on U.S. radio and television, and took the night's top prize, making her the youngest artist ever to land the coveted trophy.
The record was previously held by Bill Anderson, who won the honor in 1960 at the age of 23, and Johnny Cash, who won in 1956 when he was 24 years old. Swift also scored her third consecutive BMI Country Song of the Year title for her hit track "You Belong With Me", making her the first songwriter to win the prize three years in a row.
The "Love Story" hitmaker took to the stage and paid tribute to a close friend, whose funeral she attended just 24 hours earlier, telling the crowd, "It's been a really emotional week."
Billy Sherill was named BMI icon at the ceremony and a host of country stars including Ronnie Dunn, George Strait, Martina McBride and Faith Hill paid tribute to the record producer.
Other songwriters honored at the ceremony in Nashville, Tennessee included Keith Urban, Toby Keith, Miranda Lambert, Sugarland's Kristian Bush and Dave Haywood and Charles Kelley of Lady Antebellum.