2016 IBMA Songwriter of the Year
2017 IBMA Song of the Year
2018 SPBGMA Songwriter of the Year
2022 SPBGMA Songwriter of the Year
2022 SPBGMA Female Vocalist of the Year
With a musical past as colorful as a Van Gogh painting, Donna found her way from Nashville’s Music Row to a lily filled mountainside where the sound of the music she loves to write and sing these days was born. Wedding the love of her life, Rick Stanley introduced her into bluegrass royalty when none other than the Doctor himself, Ralph Stanley and his Clinch Mountain Boys kicked off her big Italian wedding reception with “Little Maggie” Together, Donna and Rick have been touring, writing and enjoying life linked by the love they have for mountain music and each other.
Country music fans remember Donna Ulisse from her days as an Atlantic Records recording artist in the early 1990’s with her critically acclaimed album Trouble at The Door, producing three singles and two videos. During this time in her career, she was offered the opportunity to be a guest on many national television shows, including Hee Haw, Nashville Now, Crook and Chase, Ralph Emory and NBC’s Hot Country Nights.
These days Donna Ulisse is a key figure in the bluegrass, folk and acoustic music scene as a singer and songwriter. Her single “It Could Have Been The Mandolin” from the album Hard Cry Moon topped the Bluegrass Unlimited chart at #1 for two months in a row in 2016 and the album topped the Roots Music Report chart at #1. In 2016 she was awarded International Bluegrass Music Association’s Songwriter of the Year and IBMA’s 2017 Song of the Year for “I Am A Drifter” recorded by Volume 5. Albums and awards kept coming; in 2018 and 2022 she won the award for SPBGMA’s Songwriter of the Year and also 2022’s SPBGMA Female Vocalist of the Year!
In 2019 Donna signed with Billy Blue Records, home to some of bluegrass music’s brightest stars. Her first two projects with Billy Blue, Time For Love and Livin’ Large were once again produced by bluegrass legend Doyle Lawson. The current project, Where The Mountain Lily Grows, will make the 4th production with Doyle Lawson at the helm and her 14th commercially released CD.
Donna’s appearance on RFD-TV’s Simply Bluegrass show hosted by Ricky Skaggs and Bill Anderson, and her month long stint hosting Bluegrass Ridge, a video television show on Heartland TV Network, introduced her to a wider viewing audience as her albums continued to chart prominently in the Bluegrass Unlimited charts, The Folk DJ National chart, The Americana Music Charts and Billboard Bluegrass chart. Edward Morris, writer for CMT.com dubbed her “one of the most commanding voices in bluegrass music.”
In 2012, the release of Donna’s Christmas album, All The Way To Bethlehem was called “a masterpiece” by Kyle Cantrell, host of Bluegrass Junction on SiriusXM Satellite Radio and currently BanjoRadio.com. She continues to perform this self-written musical of the Nativity in her live Christmas performances during the months of November and December.
As a songwriter, she has gratefully had her songs recorded by bluegrass artists Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver, Claire Lynch, Darin and Brooke Aldridge, The Larry Stephenson Band, Volume Five, Christy Cox, Alan Bibey and Grasstowne and The Grascals to name a few, as well as a song on the 2014 Grammy winning album Streets of Baltimore by the Del McCoury Band.
Author of the book The Songwriter in Me: Snapshots of My Creative Process and founder of Little House Songwriting Workshops has Donna busier than ever. Always eager to offer aspiring songwriters the opportunity to write with her and pro writing partners Rick Stanley and Jerry Salley, she and her husband host these exclusive workshops on her beloved Wee Farm in hopes of getting these hungry songwriters to the next level in their craft.
Bluegrass music paves the way for Donna Ulisse to continue to tour with her band, The Poor Mountain Boys, bringing her unique, original brand of mountain music to stages across the country.