Katie Kittermaster has joined The UK Songwriting Contest judging panels and she will be taking time out from her very busy recording and national touring schedule in 2019 to help choose the winners.
As a recent UKSC Winner herself Katie knows exactly how it feels to be an entrant in this event from her own personal experience, and she told us that she is really looking forward to helping the other judges choose the winners this year.
Katie is fast becoming one of the biggest new names in UK music since she won the Under 18s Category last year. Earlier this year she was nominated by the UKSC to be the UK representative in The Commonwealth Song Contest - and she went on to win the whole international event representing the UK with her UKSC winning song "T Shirt". She narrowly beat the Australian entry, which was also a UKSC Finalist!! Success is following success for Katie Kittermaster: she has been featured on BBC TV, is appearing in many live events over the summer, is recording her first album, and she has been signed as second headline billing in the highly anticipated national BoysLife Tour with Boyzone and Westlife stars Brian McFadden and Keith Duffy.
We are very happy and proud to have been an important part of Katie´s career so far and we look forward to working with her on the judging panels for the 2019 UK Songwriting Contest.
There is a lot more information on the UKSC website about all the judges and the great priizes on offer this year. These prizes include co writing a song with well known producer and UKSC judge Stuart Epps! Stuart has worked with some of the biggest names in the business and this will be a great opportunity to write with, and be produced by, one of the best.
Check out all the UKSC judges here and look out for more new judge announcements over the coming weeks.
The UKSC Team
We are very pleased to officially announce that the internationally successful hit songwriter Belle Humble has joined the UK Songwriting Contest judging panels.
London born Belle is a mega successful songwriter and performer with worldwide hits from Europe to Korea to the USA and hundreds of millions of YouTube views for her songs. Most importantly she is also a past UK SONGWRITING CONTEST WINNER - so Belle knows exactly how it feels to be a UKSC entrant from her personal experience.
Some of Belle´s songwriting and performing credits and successes (and there are many) include the massive worldwide hit "Cracks" with The Freestylers. Listen to it on YouTube where it has had many millions of views over various channels (over 36 million views and counting for this one link alone). She has written songs for Paloma Faith, Alexandra Burke and Joe McElderry and has had her songs featured on BBC dramas. She also wrote the massive successful K-pop hit "Russian Roulette" by the South Korean group Red Velvet which was a top three hit in South Korea, Japan and the USA and has had an incredible 200 million (200,000,000!) views on YouTube to date.
Belle is part of a new team of judges made up of succesful past UKSC entrants and they will work alongside the other celebrity judges. Check out all the UKSC judges here and look out for more new judge announcements over the coming weeks.
Here is a video that is essential viewing for every songwriter! Paul McCartney is one of the biggest influences behind The UK Songwriting Contest, and in this new interview he talks about how he wrote and recorded some of his most iconic songs. We had to share this one with you because we know all songwriters will find this fascinating and will benefit from watching!
In the interview Paul talks about the first song he ever wrote using the chords C, F, G and G7 and how he wrote songs together with John Lennon in the early days and how they never came away from a session without a new song. He tells us how he came up with the idea for Eleanor Rigby and how he found the name for that song character. He describes how George Harrison saved And I Love Her with a simple four note riff. He talks about how he comes up with song ideas and how he develops them, confiding that expressing his innermost personal feelings in his songs is so important. Around twenty songs are covered and there are some fascinating insights.
ENTER YOUR SONGS
For for the latest information, entry dates and entry forms visit songwritingcontest.co.uk
SCIENCE CONFIRMS THAT SONGWRITING IS GOOD FOR YOU
The act of creative writing, and songwriting in particular, has more benefits than most people realize.
The benefits are far reaching, affecting us both physically and mentally, and the interesting thing is that the quality of the writing has nothing to do with it. Just the act of writing itself leads to strong physical and mental health benefits and it doesn´t matter if anyone else reads your lyric or hears your composition, or if it is a commercial success or not. Just writing it is enough. The many benefits documented by researchers include long-term improvements in mood, reduction in stress levels, a reduction of depressive symptoms, lowered blood pressure, better lung and liver function and an improved immune system with fewer illnesses.
A major study at the University of Sidney (by Karen Baikie and Kay Wilhelm) on emotional and physical health benefits of expressive writing discovered just how much time spent writing is needed to make a big difference. And its not that much. They say that although the more time spent writing the better, just 15 to 20 minutes of writing on three to five occasions over the course of their four-month study was enough to make a real and noticeable difference.
Another amazing finding is that writing can even make physical wounds heal faster. A study in New Zealand found that if medical biopsy patients wrote about their thoughts and feelings for just 20 minutes for three days in a row before the biopsy their wounds healed more quickly than the people in a control group. Other studies have shown that people with asthma who write have fewer attacks than those who don't, AIDS patients who write have higher T-cell counts and cancer patients who write have more optimistic perspectives and improved quality of life.
So what exactly is it about writing that makes it so good for you? Well, researchers are generally agreed that the important thing is to express your own personal, traumatic, stressful or emotional events in your writing and composing. It seems that this is the key and it is this expression of personal events and trauma that leads to improvement in physical and mental health.
One well known researcher in this area is James W. Pennebaker from the University of Texas, Austin, USA. He is a leading authority on expressive writing and health and he says; "When people are given the opportunity to write about emotional upheavals they often experience improved health. They go to the doctor less. They have changes in immune function." Pennebaker and others believe that the act of expressive writing distances people from the upheaval and trauma in their lives and allows them the space to creatively step back and express and evaluate their personal dramas and tragedies. They stop obsessing unhealthily on those events and instead they focus on turning this into a positive creative outcome. This leads to lower stress levels, a more positive outlook and an improvement in general health.
The good news is that you don't need to be a famous or successful songwriter to get these great benefits. You just need to write! As a songwriter you probably already know that writing songs goes deeper than, well, just writing songs. We all instinctively know when we write that there is more going on at a deeper level. But now it has been confirmed by science. Every time you write a lyric or poem that expresses your feelings and your inner self, or compose a piece of music that expresses and contains a part of you, you are acting as your own personal therapist and doing your physical and mental health a huge favour. If you are a songwriter you are certainly doing something right. Keep on writing!
The International UK Songwriting Contest is now open for entries from songwriters in any country. Get full details at songwritingcontest.co.uk
The UKSC Team
EARLY DEADLINE MIDNIGHT 7 AUGUST
The deadline for entering songs in the first session of the UKSC 2018 is midnight Tuesday 7 August. After that date all songs entered will go into the second session. If you are planning to enter songs and you would like to have early results (Semi Finalist positions from session one will be announced soon in August) you need to enter them on or before Tuesday 7 August. Updates to your entries with their live position in the judging panels will appear in your personal dashboard.
TIP FOR SELF PROMOTERS
If you want to get exposure and media coverage for your work entering the first session is a good way to get it because if you make the semis you can post this early on Facebook and Twitter etc saying that your song is in the Semi Finals and has a chance to go on to the finals and win one of the major prizes, such as working with producer Stuart Epps (see below). This creates an interest and a story that people can follow. In past years many semi finalists from the first session found that they were getting good coverage that continued all through the second session until the end of the contest. (Search Google for some of these stories).
THE PRODUCTION PRIZE
As part of the Grand Prize package in 2018 Stuart Epps has agreed to work with an entrant of his choice as part of the Epps Music Productions stable of songwriters and artists. Stuart has worked with Elton John, Oasis, Led Zeppelin, Robbie Williams and many more and this is a unique opportunity to work closely with, and maybe even co-write a song with, one of the top names in the music business! This year he has been in the studio with last year´s UKSC Winner Irina Barzykina (see photo above). She says: "Participating in the UK Songwriting Contest has been an incredible experience. It is beautifully run - no pressure, just music. Recognition of my work by professional judges has brought confidence and inspired me to create and to further pursue music, and wholeheartedly adore it. I was extremely honoured to have been given the opportunity of meeting legendary Stuart Epps, talking with him about the modern music industry and working together on my new song in his studio. Yes, singing into that famous microphone! Stuart’s impeccable musical advice helped me in understanding how to deliver a song and ultimately grow as an artist. Thank you ever so much for this unforgettable experience!"
This year there are FREE ENTRY add-ons to other major international songwriting events and special discounts (for the LOTY Awards for Lyrics, the CSC event and the ISAs International Songwriting Awards event). These are listed in the UKSC entry form so make sure you tick the boxes for the special offers and free entries that you want to receive. Full details are on the contest website at www.uksongwritingcontest.com
There are also some great new prizes added this year in addition to the popular Mentoring (with chart topping songwriter Mark Cawley), Production and Studio Session prizes. This year selected entrants receive Honorary Diplomas in Music (Dip.Mus) from Music Aid International´s new Music Aid Academy and we will also be issuing up to 50 free Grade Music examinations (grade one to grade eight). There are also International Copyright Registration packages with the SCO for selected entrants. As usual there are UKSC Certificates and judges scores for every song from every entrant.
YOUR SONG DASHBOARD AND EARLY SUBMISSIONS
Every entrant this year gets a personal song submissions dashboard to list, check and track the progress of song entries. All songs entered before the 7 Aug deadline will soon be updated in your dashboard and you will able to see very early if they were selected for the Semi Finals or if they are being considered for other awards. For full details of this and all the great benefits on offer this year visit the official UKSC website at www.uksongwritingcontest.com
We wish you every success with your songwriting now and in the future,
Best wishes from the UKSC Team