Iconic industry leader Connie Bradley, who spent more than three decades with ASCAP, passed away Wednesday morning (March 24) in Ft. Myers, Florida.
Bradley joined ASCAP in 1976, and rose to Senior Vice President and Nashville Head. Under her leadership, ASCAP signed and supported the careers of Kenny Chesney, Dierks Bentley, Garth Brooks, Rodney Crowell, Billy Currington, Alan Jackson, Reba McEntire, Brad Paisley, Kellie Pickler, Rascal Flatts, John Rich, George Strait, Trisha Yearwood and Chris Young, among many. She led the ASCAP Nashville office until 2010, when she stepped back to take the role of strategic advisor.
Bradley was born Connie Darnell in Fayetteville, Tennessee on October 1, 1945. She grew up in Shelbyville, Tennessee, studied at Middle Tennessee State University, and worked at News Channel 5 and in the mortgage industry before starting her career in the music industry. She spent time at Famous Music/Dot Records, the Bill Hudson & Associates public relations firm, and RCA Records before joining ASCAP.
Bradley was among a handful of pioneering women in the Nashville music industry that also included Jo Walker-Meador, Donna Hilley, Frances Preston, and more.
The Music Row stalwart was honored many times for her legacy and contributions to the music industry. Bradley was awarded the Nashville Symphony’s highest honor, the Harmony Award, in 2006. She was inducted into the SOURCE Hall of Fame in 2012.
The main conference room at ASCAP’s Nashville office was named the Connie Bradley Board Room in 2010.
She received the Country Music Association’s Irving Waugh Award of Excellence in 2018. Bradley served on the CMA Board of Directors from 1983 to 2012, having been elected both President and Chairperson.
Bradley is survived by her husband, renowned music executive Jerry Bradley, and step-children, Leigh Jankiv and BMI’s Clay Bradley.
Plans for memorial services have not been announced at this time.
“As head of ASCAP’s Nashville office for more than three decades, Connie Bradley was a mentor to so many of country music’s greatest songwriters and an indelible part of ASCAP’s history. She was a maverick leader in country music with an enormous heart who passionately advocated for the songwriters she loved so much. ASCAP and country music lost an iconic leader today. Our hearts go out to her family and the large community of songwriters who loved her,” says ASCAP Chairman and President, and songwriter Paul Williams of Bradley’s passing.
“I am so saddened to hear the news of Connie’s passing. She was one of the many trailblazers, along with Frances Preston and Jo Walker Meador, for women in the Nashville music business. Her passion for artists, songs and the Country Music industry as a whole paved the way for so many. Personally, I will miss her class, her stories and her humor. I am heartbroken for Jerry, and offer my deepest condolences to him and their family during this time,” says Sarah Trahern, Country Music Association CEO.