Read this page to discover the best categories for your songs. You may submit the same song in multiple categories.
Major Artists Category The UKSC has excellent connections with major music industry players and it is a first point of call for many TV and radio producers, important music events organizers, publishers and labels etc. We constantly receive enquiries from producers and media. Only this this year, for example, we worked with The Voice UK to find artists for this very popular TV show, and UKSC organisors were approached by the BBC to suggest artists for the King Charles Coronation Concert. The major artists category is where you can submit songs that you think are suitable for a well known artist. The artist can be current (eg Taylor Swift or BTS) or from a past era (eg Frank Sinatra, Elvis). In the case of current artists the UKSC will attempt to place the winning song before the artist concerned for consideration. We cannot guarantee that they will record it, but we will certainly contact them or their management and forward the songs. Lyricists can also enter lyrics into this category - see details below.
2024 Olympics The last winner of the UKSC Olympics category was signed and released as a theme song for the Olympic Games under the direction of producer Mel Shaw (Founder of The Juno Awards and President of the Canadian Academy of Performing Arts and Sciences). It was covered by several artists in different genres from Rock to Anthem to Techno and also released as an Instrumental version. The song even had its own dedicated website. Watch a short video about the Anthem version of the Olympic winning track here on our YouTube channel. We have relaunched this category for the 2024 Olympic Games and the winning entry will be promoted during the Games. Entries may be in any style or genre. Instrumentals are also accepted in the 2024 Olympics Theme category.
Singer Songwriter The popular category is for songwriters who are also singers. Songs can be in any style or genre. The only rule is that the songwriter sings their own song. In this category the performance and vocals are judged together with the songwriting. NOTE: This is the only category where the vocals are also judged. In all other categories vocals are not judged. The Hollywood and Disney Star Wars actress / singer-songwriter Bonnie Piesse, was a past winner of this category with her beautiful song entry Ariella, and she is now one of the UKSC judges. This is a very good category for those songwriters who want to make a career as a solo performing artist as it is very closely watched by those in the music industry. It is also a very useful category for songwriters who simply want feedback to see how their own voice, combined with their own song, is rated by the judges.
Lyrics Only The popular category for Lyricists. Every lyric entry also receives free entry in The Lyricist Of The Year Awards. You may add directions about musical style / production etc, or background information about the lyric (this is optional and not a requirement). Lyrics Only entries have the same chance of winning major prizes as entries in any other categories. Lyrics winner Susan Muranty received mentoring with hit songwriter and UKSC judge Mark Cawley as a contest prize and recorded in studios in Nashville with him. Susan is now a UKSC judge with special interest in the Lyrics category. A number of UKSC lyrics winners have had collaborations with other songwriters and had their songs recorded with outstanding results. For example Lyrics Winner Mick Evans had music put to his winning lyric though connections with the UKSC and Lyrics Winner John Scholfield had his winning song recorded with a melody especially written for it by another UKSC winner, Elisabeth Roberts (watch and listen here). There are many more examples.You can also enter lyrics in this category if you have a recording of the same song in another category (some people do this to see if the judges considered the lyric stronger than the music or vice versa). Lyricists can also enter their lyrics into the Major Artists category - see details below.
Unsigned Songs in this category may be in any genre or style, but the the writer(s) must be independent and unsigned at the time of entry. None of the writers can be signed to a deal or contract with any publishing, recording or management company. Songs may be simple home demos, or they may be studio recorded and independently released through a distributor, eg Distrokid or CD Baby etc, but 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 many professional production, management and publishing contacts for consideration for signings and development.
Pop This category is for chart style top 40 popular music. It includes slower pop ballads as well as up-tempo pop songs. This is the most commercial of all the categories and is for songs with mass (often younger) audience appeal. UKSC judges and producers have excellent contacts in the music industry who are looking for new pop songs. Past winners of this category have had major publishing deals and written for major artists, appeared on prime time TV and worked with some of the word's top producers. Past winners have had hundreds of millions of streams for their songs (in the case of UKSC Pop Winner Belle Humble, over a billion for her songs alone).
Adult Contemporary Artists described as AC include BRIT School graduates Amy Winehouse and Adele. Other artists and writers often referred to as AC include Ed Sheeren, Sting, Eric Clapton, James Taylor, Celine Dion, Simply Red, Bryan Adams - it is a huge and varied list and a very popular genre and category. Acoustic based singer/songwriter material is suited to this category. Younger, edgier bands, sometimes described as "Hot AC", are also welcome in this category. A large variety of music has been entered in this category over the years - listen to and compare past winners and hear the many different styles of music among the worthy winners. "Apart" by Neil Fitzpatrick, was signed to the world´s biggest independent music publishers after winning and Neil was signed through our recommendation to feature in a major Sky TV series about songwriting. Jaron Natoli was featured to millions on Australian nationwide prime time TV with UKSC judge and producer Stuart Epps. Johnny Schaefer´s UKSC winning Adult Contemporary song entry You Can´t Hide The Light was recorded by Grammy legend Melissa Manchester. There are many more examples.
Lyrics for Major Artists In response to many requests from lyricists the Major Artist category now includes written lyrics. Lyricists can submit their lyrics in the lyrics box provided on the entry form and name the major artist in the space provided for this. Read more about the Major Artist category above in the category description.
Love Songs These songs can be in any style - pop, rock, AC, country, disco, ballad, folk, opera, rock anthems, jazz, gospel - the only rule is that the song must be about love. Past winners of this category have been in many styles. The song can be about any aspect off love, from positive love experiences, to heartbreak and unrequited love. One of the past outstanding Love Song winners was What Love Is by Ken Brown. This impressed judge Stuart Epps so much that he put on his producer´s hat, re-recorded and remixed the song, added backing vocals and arrangements, and created a new master version applying the same skills he used on his well known tracks with Elton John. This is another closely watched UKSC category with many industry insiders checking out the winner. For example, the song video we made for the 2021 Love Songs winner by Azeem Alam had over 100,000 plays on YouTube alone within days of the results announcement.
Rock Recent UKSC Rock Winners, The Kut, received a lot of attention and within weeks of winning they hit the Number One position at the top of the Official UK Rock Charts. They were also nominated by the UKSC for an ISA Award and won best Rock writers in The International Songwriting Awards. All types and styles of rock are welcome and past entries include classic retro rock, Indie, Alternative, Grunge, Heavy Metal, Ballads, modern contemporary rock, Progressive and pop/rock crossover. Bands and solo songwriters may enter and recordings can be of any type: studio, bedroom, garage, live show. Rock Winner Jason Flinter´s song was chosen to open and launched LABEL EXPO in Brussels and he was asked to write the music for the Capetown EXPO SUMMIT - "All thanks to the UKSC". Winner Nathaniel Porter had personal advise from UKSC judge Richard Niles and is now pursuing a career with US band Parias Day. Winner Jaron Natoli was featured and performed his winning song to millions on nationwide network TV show Today Tonight alongside our own Stuart Epps when results were announced. Recent winners, The Kut, had their first Official Number One hit within weeks of the UKSC results announcements.
Indie Indie originally meant music produced independently without major commercial record labels or their subsidiaries, often with a do-it-yourself approach to recording and publishing. It is now also used to describe a genre including indie rock or indie pop that may not be independently produced. Most Indie music artists do not fall into a single, clearly defined musical style or genre: the indie rock movement for example encompassed a wide range of styles, from hard-edged bands, through do-it-yourself experimental bands, to punk-folk singers. This genre seems to get wider and include more variety every year and there have been some very strong and memorable entries in this category.
Crisis and Protest Songs The Crisis Songs category was introduced during the pandemic lock downs and it quickly became a very popular category. With all the troubles and crises in the world today we have extended this category to include Protest Songs. We definitely see, and strongly encourage, a return to the protest songs of past decades as we face so many major world problems caused, or ignored, by our political leaders today. All songs in any style and any genre are very welcome. We will be watching closely and will share our favourites. To submit to this category enter your recording using the UKSC entry form.
Acoustic & Folk This is for all unplugged, non electric, songs of any style including Folk songs. There have been some very impressive acoustic entry winners in the past. For example Bloody Good Xmas by Jamie Hawkins was championed by UKSC judge Richard Niles and it received so much interest on winning that it was rush released as a Christmas Single and hit #2 in the Amazon charts - see the video on YouTube.A finalist song in the Acoustic Category, Down To Earth by Kate Diaz, was picked up and used as a theme tune by Music Aid International and others and it was played at a major government events in the USA. All folk songs including traditional folk, regional styles, world folk styles, modern folk, easy listening folk/acoustic styles are welcome. Check out Dr James by Katriona Gilmore, an outstanding song in a classic old traditional English folk style, or the very topical and contemporary lyrics of the 2020 Folk winner in US American Traditional folk style. Or the powerful and descriptive imagery of the 2019 winner Kenmare Bay.
Teen There have been some impressive Teen winners in the UKSC. Jaron Natoli was only 13 when he won both the Rock and the Pop categories with his songs and and this led to him being seen and heard by millions in a special feature on the popular Today Tonight TV show in Australia (with UKSC judge Stuart Epps). When 15 year old Kate Cosentino won the Under 18s category with her beautiful outstanding song Just Remember and it caused a stir among many in the music business and hit songwriter Mark Cawley was quoted as saying he envied her writing skills and wished he had been able to write like that when he was 15. Seventeen year old Katie Kittermaster recently won this category with her song T-Shirt. She was soon performing the UKSC winning song on a nationwide tour with BoyzLife and is now enjoying a successful career with many TV appearances and sell out concerts, millions of online plays for her songs and a major international record deal with BMG. Anyone over 12 and under 20 at the time of entry may enter this category and songs can be in any style. (Co-written songs may also be entered but the main writer must be a Teen and listed first in the writing credits).
Open / All Genres This category is open to all genres as the name says. Anything and everything goes in this open category and there are no restrictions on what you may enter. The Open Category is for songs that do not fit easily into any of the other categories. Entries have included opera, classical, ethnic and world music, songs for children, educational songs, show songs for musical theatre, comedy songs and advertising jingles. Remember - anything goes. We have had some very outstanding entries in this category and some big successes - for example after winning the Open Category the song "Sempre Vicino" was covered and recorded by The Canadian Tenors and released internationally. Another past winner of this category, Natalie Chua, was signed by Simon Cowell - she was only 12 years old when she won this category and she went on to receive a Platinum Album for sales over 500,000 with Cowell's band Angelis. More recently Chris Broom´s songs, sung by Lucy Thomas, have won the Open Category and it has been announced that they will be featured in the up-coming West End Musical, Rosie
Christmas Songs Christmas Songs are among the biggest grossing songs in the world with potential for repeat sales each year and lists of the world's most popular songs always include Christmas Songs at the top. The UKSC has had many excellent Christmas song submissions over the past years. One example is "Bloody Good Xmas" which went straight to number two in the Amazon download charts after it received a cult following through the UKSC and was championed by USC judge Richard Niles. Another Christmas song winner, My Favourite Time Of Year by Leigh Haggerwood, was signed as the theme music for ITV Television´s annual Christmas appeal and playlisted in over 140,000 stores worldwide. It has had many millions of streams and was officially listed as one of the "Most Popular Christmas Songs of All Time" on YouTube.
Country This popular category is for Country music only and it has seen some outstanding entries in many different country styles in past years. The Country category includes all the many different styles and variations of country music and includes traditional country, ballads, foot stompers and pop crossovers. To see the diffferent styles htat have been entered check out the powerful winning country song He Only Broke My Heart, a good example of a contemporary pop/country style by young songwriter Molly Hunt, and compare this with the winning Country song I'm So Blue by Rob Cariddi, which has the feel of a timeless country classic from an earlier era. These are just two of the many examples of great country songs in the USC archives.
Jazz / Blues All styles of Blues or Jazz are welcome, from ballads and big band, to experimental and modern. The category is suitable for all types of jazz from traditional to contemporary jazz based easy listening, experimental jazz, or heavily jazz influenced rock band styles (eg Steely Dan). You may also enter instrumental jazz pieces in this category. Blues entries can be hard core blues, or light acoustic blues, traditional, retro, latin influenced blues, raw basic blues, complex songs or simple 12 bars. This category is suitable for all styles of Jazz and Blues and Instrumentals are also welcome. We are constantly surprised and impressed by the variety and high standard of the Jazz and Blues entries..
Christian Music All songs with Christian religious or faith theme including gospel, praise, worship etc. All musical styles are welcome in this category - traditional, modern and alternative, pop, rap, choral, soul, rock etc etc. Christmas carols may be entered in this category or in Christmas Songs (or both). Past winners have been in gospel, country, classical, pop, acapella and even electronic/dance styles.
Instrumental All styles and forms and genres of instrumental music ar welcome in this category. Classical, rock, acoustic, electric, theme music, film music, jingles or mood music, songs without lyrics, or improvisational pieces - there are no limits. Any type of instrumentation is welcome - eg a single acoustic instrument, electronic, multiple instruments, all keyboards based, live band/ensemble performances etc etc.
Electro & EDM For all styles and sub-genres of Electronic, Dance and Electro-Ambient music. These include Electronica, Trance, Atmospheric, Minimal, House, Techno, D&B, Space Music, Jungle, Hardcore, Industrial, Breakbeat, Psychedelic, UK Garage, Electro, Downtempo, Chillout, Nu-Jazz, Nu-Disco, Organic, New Wave, Dub Step, Dance Punk, Progressive, Acid Rave, Gabba, Sambass, Funk, Jump, Freestyle, Euro, Snap, Synthpop, Dark Ambient, Industrial, Ambient Dub, Ethno, Isolationist... and everything in between.
Retro This category was introduced because so many songwriters told us that they had written songs in older styles that they did not think were suitable for a contemporary song competition. This category is for these older style songs, for example 60s Pop, 80s Disco, 40s ballads, 50s Rock and Roll, 90s Brit Pop, California Surf and anything else that is in a Retro style. Check out the archives: there have beeen some great songs in this category.
R&B / Soul All contemporary R&B styles, and all Soul, Hip Hop and Urban styles of music are welcome in this category. If you think that your songs may overlap with Pop or Adult Contemporary or Singer-Songwriter or EDM / Electronic you may wish to also enter your songs in those categories. R&B is one of the most popular musical genres in the charts and we look forward to hearing your song entry in this category.
World Music World music is a musical category encompassing many different styles of music from around the globe including non-Western folk music, ethnic music, samba, latin music, music from the Indian subcontinent, traditional and country specific classical or dance music, indigenous music and all cultural mixes (eg a mix of any international style). Since the term was first used in the eighties it has grown to include many hybrid subgenres such as world fusion, global fusion, ethnic fusion and worldbeat. Instrumental entries are also welcome and so are acapella entries. There have been some very successful winners in this category.
MUSIC AID FM 2023 SPECIAL These two categories for 2023 are in association with Music Aid International, Music Aid FM and other music industry bodies. Your song takes part in the UKSC main event and is also forwarded to Music Aid International producers for examination, consideration and selection. All entry fees for these two categories support Music Aid International Projects. MA ORIGINAL SONG CATEGORY For original songs. Any style of song, including instrumental, can be entered in this category. Recent winners of this category include You Can't Hide the Light by Johnny Schaefer which was performed and released by Grammy legend Melissa Manchester and covered by other artists. Winning songs and finalist songs in this category will be promoted and featured on the popular Music Aid FM player to its many users and will feature in an MAFM Featured Artists 2023 Compilation Album. MA COVER SONGS CATEGORY Covers of your favourite songs and songwriters can be entered. This is an opportunity to pay tribute to your favourite songwriter and show how you might have presented their song. All cover songs will be examined by MA for consideration for future cover album releases. Winning songs and finalist songs in this category will be promoted and featured on the popular Music Aid FM player to its many users and will feature in an MAFM Featured Artists 2023 Compilation Album.