songwriting competition


We're delighted to announce the results of the first Words & Music song contest. We received over 80 entries, the youngest entrant was 12 and the oldest was 70 - and after listening and thinking long and hard, judges Chris Hawkins, Thea Gilmore and Nigel Stonier agreed that many of them would have made worthy winners, and even more were worthy of high commendation.

In the end, even in this most subjective of territories, there could only be one winner and Abbie Frances' "Average Disguise" was chosen. We're happy to publish some of the judges thoughts on our winners and highly commended entries here, along with a recorded message from Nigel Stonier.

1st PLACE AVERAGE DISGUISE by Abbie Frances 

Abbie Frances' dark relationship song quickly sets a mood which drew us in from the opening bars. It's completely hypnotic and well constructed but deceptively simple and shoegaze-y, It has echoes of Cocteau Twins and contemporary dream pop while boasting a quality all of it's own.. 

2nd PLACE STARS by Kirsty McLeod

A terrific chorus both melodically and lyrically and a lovely sweeping melody throughout. A singer clearly writing very successfully to her own vocal strengths. A very very close second.

3rd PLACE BUNNY BIRD by Georgia Gage 
The quirky lyrics and subject matter bely a genuine sophistication in the writing and construction. 


Listed in no particular order...

SOLE SURVIVORS by Christopher Roland Burrows 

We feel obliged to reveal that this song was desperately close to being in the top 3. An irresistible chorus that at least a couple of us couldn't stop singing. 

KILL OR CURE by Don Clarke 
Strong lyrics, excellent groove and we love the instrumental hook. 

LET YOUR LOVE SHINE ON by Stephen Skinn 
Utterly great uplifting chorus. Lovely chords in the verse too. 

LOOKS LIKE MONEY by John Lindley 
Excellent lyrics, great wordplay. The musical vibe sits halfway between Bob Dylan and Mark Knopfler which is exalted company to aspire to! 

BACK OFF by Lauren Deakin Davies
Great hook, very catchy and oozing attitude. 

CIRCLE THE WAGONS by Christian Phillips and Steve Balsamo 
A very sophisticated piece of writing with great builds.

NED OWEN by Mark Woolley 
A 'story song' loosely in the English folk tradition is a hard thing to pull off. This song does exactly that and also manages (to at least one judges ear) to capture a Robert Wyatt/Bill Fay style charm. Very poignant and well told. 

ONES YOU LOVE THE MOST by Kate Ellis and Andy Hobsbawm 
The beautiful 'lightly sketched' quality to the verse lyrics are what we think lifts this above the level of standard 'Americana' fayre. Sweet sentiment too.


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