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Bob Dylan Center Announces Inaugural Fellowship Recipients

Tega Ethan, a 25-year-old singer-songwriter from Nigeria, and Taylor Zickfoose, a 28-year-old native of Washington state, are the inaugural recipients of the Bob Dylan Center songwriter fellowship.

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An initiative of Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG) and BDC in Tulsa, OK, each fellowship includes a $40,000 project stipend, public engagement and presentation opportunities, dedicated time in the Bob Dylan Archive to study the legendary artist’s creative process, roundtrip airfare to Tulsa and accommodations, mentorship from the music publishing giant’s songwriters and executives, recording time, and more.

The two winners were selected by global panel of leading artists and songwriters, including Juliette Armanet, Patty Griffin, John Mellencamp, Carla Morrison, and Nas, and reviewed by executives at BDC and UMPG.

“Songwriters trying to make a go of it in the modern music business need the kind of encouragement and support that this fellowship provides,” comments Mellencamp in a statement. “I congratulate Tega and Taylor on being the first two recipients, and hope they write some great songs during their time in Tulsa.”

Nearly 600 works were submitted from around the world, organizers say, based on the criteria that applicants were 18 years or older and unsigned to a publishing agreement of any kind at the time of the Fellowship start date, May, 1, 2024.

Announced last August, the fellowship is to be awarded each year to two standout talents, through an initiative that identifies, mentors and develops rising talent, doing so with the resources of the BDC.

The selection process, explains BDC creative services manager Zac Fowler, “was immensely difficult, yet enjoyable the whole way through.” Adds Fowler, “We’re excited to host Tega and Taylor in Tulsa, and look forward to hearing the music they each create during their year spent focusing on songwriting here.”

The application window for the 2025-2026 fellowship is expected to open later this fall. For more information, visit bobdylancenter.com/songwriterfellowship.

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