SOURCE AWARD RECIPIENT
Ima Withers grew up in Memphis, Tennessee. In 1967, while waiting to attend Dental Hygiene School, she took a summer job as a “girl Friday” at American Recording Studio working for Chips Moman & Don Crews. Among the artists with whom she was associated were BJ Thomas, Mac Davis, Brenda Lee, Neil Diamond, Ronnie Milsap, Dionne Warwick, Elvis Presley and many others.
Relocating to Nashville in 1974, Ima met songwriter/producer Norro Wilson, who had been hired by Warner Bros Records to open a Nashville Office. She became his assistant. Chief among her administrative duties was serving as a liaison between writers, musicians and artists such as John Anderson, Joe Stampley, Buck Owens, Margo Smith, Janie Fricke, Con Hunley, Rex Allen Jr., Donna Fargo, Gary Morris among others. Ima married “Dick Kent” Withers in 1976. When their son was born in 1977, she stayed home for two years.
Norro had been offered a new and exciting position by Jerry Bradley at RCA Records and asked Ima if she was ready to go back to work. It took only a couple seconds for her to say yes. She was hired as an A & R Coordinator, responsible for recording budgets, verifying label copy with correct song titles, writers, producer and publishing credits, liaison between artist, recording schedules, studio and musicians for artists such as Eddy Arnold, Mickey Gilley, Reba McEntire, Keith Whitley and Charley Pride. She also maintained a library of all commercially released recordings in Nashville.
In 1986 Norro headed Merit Music, a new publishing company, and Ima served as office manager. In 1989 when Norro decided it was time for him to slow down and produce only a couple acts, Ima continued to work for both Merit and Norro until Merit closed the next year.
Roger Sovine hired her at BMI in June, 1990 to oversee accounts, payable/receivable. She rose to General Services manager before joining the Executive Department working under Frances Preston and Faye Smith. That department worked on corporate functions and meeting events as well as maintaining a relationship with the many writers and publishers such as Keith Urban, Nicole Kidman, Taylor Swift and dozens of others.
Prior to her retirement in 2012, Ima reported to Del Bryant as his Nashville assistant.