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Connie Bradley, who worked with ASCAP Nashville for 34 years and came to lead the performing rights organization’s Tennessee office, died Wednesday at age 75.

“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,” ASCAP chairman Paul Williams said in a statement. “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.”

Bradley was considered one of the pioneering women of the music business in Nashville, She joined ASCAP in 1976 and retired in 2010, taking the role of senior advisor at that time.

Bradley received the Country Music Association’s Irving Waugh Award of Excellence in 2018, where she is seen below, being congratulated by Kenny Chesney. She had been president or chairperson of the CMA’s board of directors at various points and served on the board from 1983 through 2012.

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Kenny Chesney congratulates Connie Bradley as she is awarded the Irving Waugh Award of Excellence on Tuesday, August 14, 2018. Hunter Berry/CMA

“I am so saddened to hear the news of Connie’s passing,: said the CMA’s CEO, Sarah Trahern. “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.”

Among the artists signed and nurtured during Bradley’s time at the ASCAP helm are Chesney, Brad Paisley, George Strait, Garth Brooks, Dierks Bentley, Chris Young, Alan Jackson, Rodney Crowell, Billy Currington, Reba McEntire, Kellie Pickler, Rascal Flatts and John Rich.

A Shelbyville, Tennessee native, Bradley worked for the TV station WLAC-TV, Dot Records and RCA, among other companies, before joining ASCAP in 1976.

Bradley was a part of Nashville’s famed Bradley family. Her husband, former RCA Records head Jerry Bradley, was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame as a non-performer in 2019. He survives her, as does son Clay Bradley, a BMI exec. 

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Paul Williams, ASCAP President and Chairman (right), and Connie Bradley (right) present Alan Jackson with the ASCAP Heritage Award at the 52nd annual ASCAP Country Music awards at Music City Center on November 3, 2014 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images) Courtesy ASCAP