Fort Wayne native Courtney Leigh Heins' song “Bright Blue World” won Best Country Song of the Year at the International Music and Entertainment Association (IMEA) Awards ceremony Saturday night in Ashland, Ky.
Heins' latest album, also called “Bright Blue World,” was a nominee for Best Country Album, but did not win. The album also received Producer of the Year nominations for both producers who worked on it, but they also didn't win.
Heins, who now lives in Los Angeles, released the album in January.
She and her parents, Anita and Bill Heins of Fort Wayne, attended the IMEA Awards ceremony.
“It was a thrilling evening,” Anita Heins said Sunday night after she and her husband had returned to Fort Wayne.
Selection of award winners was based on voting by both an awards committee and by music fans, with 4/5 of the vote total from the committee.
Heins, the 1994 recipient of The News-Sentinel's Sterling Sentinel award for drama, sent a copy of her song “Bright Blue World” and the album to the IMEA Awards nominating committee this past summer. She received an email Sept. 2 notifying her of the award nominations.
In a September interview with The News-Sentinel, Heins described her songwriting as a mixture of folk, country and Americana music. She said her music on "Bright Blue World" leans more toward a pop-country sound.
IMEA is a nonprofit organization formed to promote and advocate for people and organizations in the performing arts industry, including music, theater and film, it says on the organization's website, www.imeaonline.com.