The UK Songwriting Contest launches the 2023 competition with exciting new additions.
In this newsletter we introduce two exciting songwriting categories (Olympic Theme and Unsigned) and we welcome a new judge, Dr. Martin Isherwood, the Head of Music at Sir Paul McCartney´s Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts (LIPA). There is also another contest in town; the Eurovision Song Contest. And in this newsletter we outline why it is coming to Liverpool and what that has to do with the war in Ukraine.
The UKSC was founded in London in 2002 in association with The BRIT Trust and over the past two decades has become one of the most respected events in the international songwriting calendar.
In 2023 the UKSC again opens it’s doors to songwriters around the world in what promises to be another exciting year. We are delighted to welcome an accomplished new judge, Dr. Martin Isherwood, head of Music at the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts (LIPA), to the panel of judges. As the LIPA lead for songwriting and a widely published academic, Martin is a valuable addition to the contest bringing with him the expertise he has accumulated over decades in the industry.
WHAT MAKES A GOOD SONG?
In other judging related news you can watch and listen here to UKSC judges Stuart Epps and Rachel Walker Mason being interviewed on the 2nd of March about Gigi Ann Green’s 2022 Under 18s Category winning song, ‘Devil In Disguise’. If you missed the live broadcast you can watch our UKSC video and hear the judges discuss Gigi's winning song and get their insights into the judging process and what makes a good song.
As well as introducing an accomplished new judge, the UKSC will keep things interesting this year by launching two new categories for the 2023 contest: Olympic Theme and Unsigned.
The last time this category was featured was in the run up to the 2012 London Olympics when the winning song ‘When You Ride A Dream’ by Marv Conan and Brian Muni was picked up and produced by award winning record producer Mel Shaw. The song became a popular download on iTunes and Amazon Music and was widely covered in different genres from Rock to Techno. Watch a short video about the Anthem version of the 2012 Olympic winning track on our YouTube channel here. This year we have relaunched the Olympic category for the 2024 Paris Summer Olympic Games. The winning song will be promoted widely in the run up to the Games. We encourage entries from a range of styles including instrumental and lyrics only categories and we hope to see someone from the UKSC songwriting community add their voice to the biggest sporting event in the world.
If you are looking for the support of a record label to help push your music to the next level then this could be the category for you. Getting ahead in the music industry is no mean feat. Many of you have worked hard in developing your skills as songwriters and feel ready to have your songs heard by a wider audience. However, the path to a successful songwriting career can seem elusive and ever out of reach. Getting signed can provide you with the support, expertise and finances needed to get your music heard on the world stage. Songs in this category may be submitted in any genre or style but the the writer(s) must be independent and unsigned at the time of entry. Songs may be simple home demos, or they may be studio recorded and independently released through a distributor, eg Distrokid or CD Baby. If they are released this must be as a direct and independent release by the writer or artist, and not through a signing to any music company. The winner and top finalist songwriters in this category will be presented to our professional production, management and publishing contacts for consideration for signings and development.
Dr. Martin Isherwood, director of Music at Sir Paul McCartney’s Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts (LIPA), joins the UKSC panel of Judges.
Martin Isherwood is Director and Head of Music and Songwriting at the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts (LIPA). LIPA was co-founded by Sir Paul McCartney alongside Mark Featherstone-Witty (founder of the BRIT School) and it has become a centre of excellence in the performing arts. Martin has many years’ professional experience as a songwriter, producer and music entrepreneur. He has achieved top 20 UK chart success and received a number of songwriting awards including winning BBC Song for Europe in 2003. He has been Head of Music at LIPA since 2001 and he is the LIPA lead on songwriting. Martin is a member of UK Music Skills Academy and he has served on the Boards of many music organisations and urban regeneration projects. Martin has featured in a number of TV and radio programmes, panels at music industry conferences, presented songwriting papers at Higher Education conferences and published research commissioned by the Higher Education Academy. We are very pleased to welcome Martin as a UK Songwriting Contest judge in 2023. You can discover more about LIPA, the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts, at lipa.ac.uk.
Why Liverpool is set to host the Eurovision Song Contest in 2023
Liverpool is no stranger to the world of music. The city has become synonymous with the Beatles and in 2015 it was officially recognised by UNESCO as a City Of Music. But why has it been chosen to host the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest? Hosting the contest is considered an honour which is normally given to the previous year's winning country. In this case Ukraine. In 2022 the Eurovision Song Contest was won by Ukrainian group Kalush Orchestra with the song ‘Stefania’. The winning song combines and electronic drum beat, rap and a traditional Ukrainian woodwind instrument, the Sopilka. It was the third Ukrainian song to win the competition since 2004. Second place in the 2022 contest came to the UK's Sam Ryder, who rose to fame on TikTok during the COVID19 pandemic. Unfortunately, due to security concerns over the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), who organise the event, could not allow the 2023 contest to be held in the winning country. The UK was subsequently approached to host the competition as the second placed nation. Various UK cities bid to host the contest, but in October 2022 Liverpool beat favourites Glasgow to host the event. Liverpool is also officially known as Odessa's 'sister city' and they have been recognised as twin cities since 1957. The 2023 Eurovision Song Contest will be held in Liverpool between the 9th and 13th of May on behalf of Ukraine. Kalush Orchestra rapper Oleh Psiuk has been quoted as saying “We, in turn, will make all efforts to help Ukraine win next year as well, so that Eurovision 2024 can take place in a peaceful country.”