/ 26 July 2022

Calling all songwriters!

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Songwriting can be a cathartic experience and being able to craft musical compositions that are completely original is a talent not many possess. But often, when songs come alive, the writer is in the background and the singers take centre stage. If you ask any serious musician they will tell you that songwriting is essential and, more than anything, takes practice and hard work. These are some of the reasons why it’s important for the music industry to recognise and award exceptional songwriting.

That’s what the International Songwriting Competition (ISC) aims to do. Established in 2002, the ISC is considered to be the world’s most prestigious songwriting competition open to both professional and amateur songwriters, whether signed or unsigned, from anywhere in the world. It is an annual contest with a mission to provide the opportunity for both aspiring and established songwriters to have their words heard in a professional and international arena. 

“Previous winners include Kehlani, Gregory Porter and Omar Sosa”

The ISC, designed to nurture the talent of songwriters and promote excellence in the art of songwriting, assembles what is probably the most prestigious panel of judges of any songwriting or musical contest, offering entrants the opportunity to have their songs heard by the most influential decision-makers in the industry.

Mariah Carey

For this year’s edition, judges include esteemed artists and musicians spanning multiple genres such as Mariah Carey, Linkin Park, Coldplay, Hozier, Gloria Estefan, Tom Waits, Danilo Perez, Trevor Daniel, The Lumineers, Rosanne Cash, Brantley Gilbert. Executives from top international companies including Atlantic, Columbia, Capitol, Motown, Sony, Warner, Arista, Curb, Glassnote, will also be on the panel.

Winning ISC has helped many artists go on to achieve greater success. Previous winners include Tones and I, Illenium, Vance Joy, Bastille, Fantastic Negrito, R.LUM.R, Gotye, Lindsey Stirling, Kimbra, Dustin Lynch, Faouzia, The Band Perry, Kehlani,  Gregory Porter, Passenger Gin Wigmore, Missy Higgins, For King & Country, Tenille Townes, Adrienne Lenker (Big Thief), Jordan St. Cyr; Tommy Castro, Andrew Bird and Omar Sosa.

Omar Sosa

Previous winners have come from diverse countries. Last year’s R&B/hip-hop category winner Idna was from Canada; Oceo from Morocco was second in the instrumental category and the world category winners Omar Sosa and Seckou Keita hail from Senegal.

South African artists are encouraged to apply for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity because along with the opportunity to further their careers and gain recognition, there is $150 000 (about R2.5-million) in cash and prizes, to be shared by 74 winners in 24 categories, including an overall grand prize of $25 000 in cash. 

“There are many songwriting competitions in the world, but ISC is the only one whose entrants have the opportunity to have their music heard by a judging panel that includes the top echelon of legendary recording artists/songwriters and high-profile music industry executives,” says Candace Avery, founder and director of the ISC. “Our judges have consistently told us how much they love listening to the new generation of songwriters and are amazed by the depth of songwriting talent – and we are grateful for their perspective and participation.”

Gregory Porter

The ISC categories include:adult album alternative, adult contemporary, Americana, blues, children’s music, Christian, comedy/novelty, country, electronic dance music, folk/singer-songwriter, hip-hop/rap, instrumental, jazz, Latin, lyrics only, music video, performance, pop/top 40, R&B/soul, rock, teen, unpublished, unsigned and world music. Entrants can submit as many songs as they like, in the same category or in multiple categories.

In addition to cash and merchandise prizes, winners benefit from a multilateral promotional campaign designed to give international exposure and attention to their songwriting achievements. 

Depending on the category, submissions are judged on the following criteria: 

• Creativity

• Originality

• Lyrics 

• Melody

• Arrangement

• Overall likeability

Production/recording quality and vocal ability are not criteria, except in the performance category.

To enter the ISC and get more information,

visit: https://songwritingcompetition.com