Taylor Swift became the youngest ever winner of the coveted Songwriter of the Year prize at the BMI Country Awards on Tuesday night.
The 20-year-old singer/songwriter was the toast of the awards show, which celebrates the most played songs on U.S. radio and television, and took the night's top prize, making her the youngest artist ever to land the coveted trophy. The record was previously held by Bill Anderson, who won the honor in 1960 at the age of 23, and Johnny Cash, who won in 1956 when he was 24 years old.
Swift also scored her third consecutive BMI Country Song of the Year title for her hit track "You Belong With Me," making her the first songwriter to win the prize three years in a row. The "Love Story" hitmaker took to the stage and paid tribute to a close friend, whose funeral she attended just 24 hours earlier, telling the crowd, "It's been a really emotional week."
The singer's pal Jeff Lang, from her adopted hometown of Hendersonville, Tennessee, was found dead at his apartment last Tuesday. The University of Tennessee student's cause of death is currently under investigation as police await toxicology reports.
Swift attended the 21 year old's funeral on Monday and just 24 hours later, she took to the stage at the glitzy awards show in Nashville to pick up two prizes, and she used the opportunity to pay tribute to her late friend. She told the crowd, "It's been a really emotional week… He was 21, and I used to play my songs for him first. So I would like to thank Jeff Lang."
(Photos: Filmmagic/Getty Images for BMI)