Mountain Soul Vocal Competition

Unique Vocal Competition Honors Dolly Parton’s Songwriting in her Hometown, Sevierville, Tennessee.

2018 Mountain Soul Winner, Kelsey Keith of Murfreesboro, TN

The 15th annual Mountain Soul Vocal Competition is calling for entries.

This unique competition honors the songwriting of Sevierville native Dolly Parton by encouraging contestants from across the nation to sing one of the songs she has penned.

Competitors, male and female, choose a song written by Dolly Parton (there are over 3,000 options!) and sing it in their own vocal style (rock, rap, country, bluegrass, swing, soul, etc.) Though imitation is a form of flattery, the goal of this competition is for singers to showcase their own personal style (not Dolly’s) while singing Parton’s words.

Finalists from across the nation will compete in two divisions (age 12 and younger; age 13 and older) on Saturday, May 18, beginning at 11:30 a.m.

Finalists are selected based on audition recordings that were submitted in advance. A total of 30 singers will compete for $1,175 in cash and prizes, including a Nashville recording session at Sound Wave Studios!

“The Mountain Soul Vocal Competition does a great job showcasing new talent while also proving that Dolly’s songwriting is incredibly versatile and can easily cross musical genres,” says Amanda Marr, Sevierville Chamber of Commerce Director of Marketing and Communications. “Since Dolly Parton is Sevierville’s hometown girl, holding a competition that honors her songwriting ability was a natural fit for us. We are honored that Dollywood assists us with arranging prizes, including the autographed guitars, for the Mountain Soul Vocal Competition each year.” As far as event organizers know, this is the only vocal competition in the world that specifically honors the songwriting of Dolly Parton.

The entry deadline for the preliminary round of The Mountain Soul Vocal Competition is Friday April 5, 2019. Find applications here. Audition files, sent by mail, will be judged and 30 finalists (20 in the 13+ category and 10 in the 12 and under category) will be invited to perform during the final rounds at Bloomin’ BBQ & Bluegrass on Saturday, May 18, 2019 in downtown Sevierville. Winning competitors will take home cash and prizes including a recording session in Nashville, Tennessee and a guitar autographed by Dolly Parton.

For a complete list of the songs Dolly has written, visit

– Text & image courtesy Visit Sevierville. Photo is 2018 Mountain Soul Winner, Kelsey Keith of Murfreesboro, Tenn.

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