Alexis Hamilton-Mele receives 1st Rick Lang Scholarship

Bluegrass songwriter Rick Lang has announced that the recipient of the 1st annual Rick Lang Music Scholarship is Alexis Hamilton-Mele.

As a writer, Rick has had his songs recorded by dozens of bluegrass acts, from Junior Sisk to IIIrd Tyme Out, Donna Ulisse to Ralph Stanley II, and has six albums of his material recorded under his name.

Lang announced the program last summer, wherein he will make an award of roughly $2,000 each year to a deserving student enrolled in the Bluegrass, Old Time, Celtic and Country music program at East Tennessee State University.

Unsurprisingly, Alexis is a budding songwriter herself, and says that this award is a big boost to both her financial needs and her confidence as a writer.

“I was very honored to receive the songwriting scholarship. I try to put a lot of time and effort into my music and I felt that receiving the scholarship was a sign that I was doing something right. Not only does it help me a lot with school, but it also give me a reason to keep on working hard to make more music.

I started writing songs when I was about 6 years old, and I think that I’ve been writing ever since then. I’ve been singing for as long as I can remember. My great grandfather got me hooked on classic country music at a young age. I started learning how to play guitar around the age of 12 and was able to get regular shows around my hometown in upstate New York. In high school I got a little more serious about my songwriting and started looking for places to go to college. I found ETSU and knew that I wanted to be a part of the music program so I applied and started attending in fall of 2017.

Since I’ve been at ETSU, I’ve learned a lot about music and songwriting and I’ve had some great experiences like going to Woodsong writing retreats and being able to perform at local venues in Johnson City. I’m thankful that I have songwriting as an outlet to stressful times, and as a way to share my story. I write a lot about my struggle with O.C.D. and things I faced growing up.

I’m excited to continue to write and work with great people every day at ETSU. I hope to further my career as a songwriter, and as a musician in the future.”

Congratulations, Alexis, and well done Rick!

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.