Every year a selection from the judges listed below help us choose the winners. Some of these top professionals have been with us for many years, some are newer, and some are past winners of the contest.
Internationally renowned British producer Stuart Epps has been a valuable and important member of the UKSC judging panels for many years. He brings a wealth of experience and expertise as a contest judge as he has worked closely with the world´s most successful songwriters, bands and performers. Stuart is well known in the industry for his work with Elton John, Robbie Williams, Led Zeppelin, Bill Wyman, George Harrison, Paul Weller, Oasis and many others.
Stuart often gets very involved with the contestants. For example he took the UKSC Pop category winner "What Love Is" by Ken Brown (which he described as "unusual, beautiful, sentimental and with poignant lyrics") and created a stunning new mix of the song at his own recording studio. He was so impressed by winner Jaron Natoli's work that he personally helped to promote this new writer and Stuart and Jaron were seen by millions on the popular Today Tonight TV show when the UKSC results were announced. He has invited UKSC winners to his own home studio for sessions, mentoring and recording with them. He has a very solid reputation in the both the UK and the international music industry.
Rachel Walker-Mason, is well known to British TV viewers as a judge on Sky TV's popular show "Sing - Ultimate Acappella" hosted by TV celebrity Cat Deeley. She joined the UK Songwriting Contest judging panels in 2019, had strong inout into the 2020 event and is active now in the 2021 event. Rachel is a very highly acclaimed songwriter and she was described by HRH Prince Harry Duke of York as "an inspiration" for her work with young musicians. Rachel has also been a past entrant in the UKSC herself (Yes! - top songwriters and professionals enter this event, not just beginners, and his shows the high standard of entries we receive) and Rachel reached the Finals in the event. As a past UKSC Finalist and participant Rachel knows the contest well and understands it from the entrants' perspective, and this personal experience greatly enriches the judging panels.
Rachel holds a Masters in Songwriting, a Bachelors Degree in music with honours, a Licenciate in Musical Theatre Performance and a Diploma in Vocal Teaching. For the last 14 years Rachel has been teaching singing, composing songs and performing across the world. Rachel has also been the BRIT awards correspondent for the BBC, and has judged choral contests, Show Choir Championships and taught masterclasses in the UK, Canada and Ireland. She also composed three musicals.
Rachel also has a strong USA and International connection and she writes songs for American Idol and The Voice alumni, for BBC Introducing artists and many others. She is an a cappella specialist and has judged The Voice Festival, Masters of Show Choir, The ICCAs and the CARA Awards. She teaches vocal workshops and masterclasses all over the world and also lends her expertise to the Team GB Olympic gymnasts, honing their musical interpretation skills and expression. You can discover more about Rachel at her website www.rachelmasonmusic.com
Teen Winner Katie Kittermaster is has become one of the big new names to watch in UK music. After winning the Under 18s Category in 2018 Katie´song was nominated by the UKSC judges as UK representative in The Commonwealth Song Contest, and she went on to win the whole international event representing the United Kingdom. She beat the Australian song entry which was also a UKSC Finalist. Success follows success for Katie Kittermaster and she was exclusively signed as the support act on the highly acclaimed nationwide BoyzLife Tour, featuring Boyzone and Westlife stars Brian McFadden and Keith Duffy. She was also signed for the Ronan Keating national concert dates, and has been featured and interviewed widely on network TV and in the press. Katie has a busy schedule of recording, promotion and personal appearances and performances throughout the year but she always finds time to be part of the UKSC judging panels.
As a UK SONGWRITING CONTEST WINNER Katie knows exactly how it feels to be a contest entrant from her own experience. She has a special interest in younger entrants, pop, singer songwriter but also has input in other categories. We are very happy and proud to have been an important part of Katie´s career and it is great to have her on the UKSC judging panels for 2019, 2020 and 2021. Visit Katie´s website here.
Susan Muranty is a songwriter, singer and artist from Sydney, Australia, who has twice won the Lyrics Only category in the UK Songwriting Contest with her Lyrics entries. She also won the UKSC Open Category as a co writer of "Stephen Hawkins Wants You To", a song that went on to become Runner Up representing Australia in the 2018 Commonwealth Song Contest after nomination from the UKSC.
Susan is a very creative and artistic person who lives on a mountain top in Australia where she writes, records and creates art works, mainly sculptures in bronze and recycled materials. She has worked with and recorded songs with renowned hit songwriters in Nashville, USA, and has been a strong supporter of the UKSC over many years. She continues to be involved in the event and is actively judging in 2021.
Susan is a great addition to the judging panels and she has special input into the Lyrics Category judging. As a past entrant she knows the contest from both sides and she has great empathy with the participants based on personal experience. Read more about Susan on her website at www.susanmuranty.com
Jamie Serafi is a talented Oscar Nominated film composer, songwriter and arranger with over twenty years' experience composing music for film, animation and theatre, including Feature Films, TV Documentaries, video games, the Tate Modern and channel identity music for Sky TV.
Jamie lives in Canada and previously worked in music for many years in England. Jamie is also the Founder and Director of some well known and highly acclaimed international choirs including the UK´s "Alive and Singing Rock and Pop Choir" and the Canadian "Cool Choir". He is a highly accomplished pianist, songwriter and orchestral arranger.
Jamie was nominated for an Oscar at the Academy Awards for his film work. Film producer Martin Percy said "Jamie Serafi is quite simply brilliant. He can weave together really beautiful pieces of music to match your film footage. Use him now before he gets an Oscar." Read more about Jamie, and see his impressive list of composer credits, at jamieserafi.com. Jamie has judged the contest entries every year since 2014 and is still very much with us and active as a judge in 2021. Jamie is known for his very detailed, constructive and knowledgable comments on songs. These are so good, professional and insightful that we sometimes even pass on his judges notes on to non-winners to help them with their career progression.
Neil Fitzpatrick is a talented British songwriter who won the UK Songwriting Contest with a song that was to become one of the most successful charity benefit songs of recent years. Since winning the competition Neil has also been widely featured in the media and was seen by many aspiring songwriters on the popular national Sky TV series about songwriters, Tin Pan Alley.
Since winning the UKSC with his song "Apart" Neil was signed to a publishing deal for the song with the world's biggest independent music publishing company, The Peers Music Group, which means that Neil is now part of an elite group of signed songwriters that includes Justin Bieber, Rihanna, Bjork, Christina Aguilera, Beyonce and Garth Brooks. Sales of Neil's UKSC winning song (performed by the British singer Michelle Lawson) have already raised over $100,000 to date for the charity Cancer Research UK - a cause close to his heart, and to which Neil has been donating proceeds.
Neil was a UKSC judge in 2019 as part of our move to have past winners on the panels. We are sure that as a past UK Songwriting Contest Winner Neil will bring his own personal experience and insight as an entrant to enrich the judging process. His powerful UKSC winning song entry was covered by Michelle Lawson in this video.
London born Belle Humble is a mega successful nternational songwriter and performer with worldwide hits from Europe to Korea to the USA and hundreds of millions of online streams 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. Belle was invited to join the UKSC judging panels in May 2019 as part of our move to involve talented and successful past UKSC entrants in the judging process.
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 over 200 million (200,000,000!) views on YouTube.
Richard Niles is an American award winning Hollywood based producer, arranger, broadcaster and author who found great success in London where he had his own recording studio. For much of his early career he lived and worked in London and his list of credits reads like a Who´s Who of music celebrities and includes Paul McCartney, Kylie Minogue, Westlife, Michael McDonald, Take That, Mariah Carey, Cher, James Brown, Pat Metheny, Ray Charles, Tina Turner and many many more. For more info visit richardniles.com
Richard was an early member of the judging panels with a very good ear for new talent and he has offered good and helpful advice to many entrants. He produced and co wrote with UKSC finalist Younee and his involvement led to BBC appearances and tours of the UK and USA for the Korean singer-songwriter. Their joint composition "Home To You" charted in the USA and won a Music Aid International Best Songwriter Award. He also championed a popular Christmas Song entry one year to help send it straight to the top of the Amazon Christmas charts. Richard is a highly qualified Doctor of Music and he has ran an acclaimed songwriting workshop with the UKSC in London. He rnow lives in Los Angeles where he is very busy in the local LA and USA music scene. He remains connected with the UKSC from his studio in California and is involved with the USA and International editions of the UKSC. Richard also runs a highly regarded music educational website with online workshops at nilescreativeworkshops.com
Multi award winning singer and songwriter Lucie Diamond first shot to fame in 2006 when she beat Dolly Parton and Faith Hill by winning Female Artist of the Year and also Country Artist of the Year at The European Country Awards. Since then she has toured the world with her music, she has had great success at the world famous CMA Country Music Awards in Nashville USA when she was invited by the CMA to represent Britain at their annual Global Artist Party and she has topped the country music charts in many countries. Lucie was described by the UK's biggest selling newspaper, The Sun, as "The UK's number one country music export". Lucie has worked with Multi Grammy Award winners Delbert Mcclinton and Albert Lee and a host of international songwriters including Garth Brooks' writing partner Kent Blazy.
Although successful in the international country music scene Lucie is also interested in other musical genres and she is expanding into other musical styles close to her heart. As a UKSC judge she has a very personal interest in the song entries as she is always looking for new material to record. She joined the UKSC judging panels back in 2014 and has helped select winners, especially in the country category, on many of the contest´s busiest years since then.
Simon Ellis is a remarkable and talented BRIT Award winning songwriter and producer who joined the UKSC judging panels in 2010. Simon is well known and respected in the music industry worldwide for his work as the Musical Director for the Britney Spears' world tour, and also as MD for The Spice Girls, Belinda Carlisle, East 17, D:Ream and Jamelia. He has also written and produced songs for many other top artists including John Farnham, Randy Crawford, Emma Bunton, Steps, Hearsay, D Side, Javine, Maria Lawson, S Club 7. He is a winner of the highly prestigious BRIT Awardfor Best Song and he has also won ITV Record of the Year and has been nominated for an Ivor Novello Award.
Simon's judging input and experience has been particularly valuable in past years in the Pop category of the UKSC as he is a proven and undoubted expert in this area. Although not active every year we mention Simon here as a courtesy as he was the judge who introduced the idea of deconstructing songs during the winners selection stage which transformed the final judging process to this day.
Marc (Kipper) Eldridge (pictured with UKSC winner Emma Fitzsimons) is one of the UK's most eminent producers and composers. He has two Grammy Awards and also an Emmy Award and his albums have sold more than 15 million copies. He is well known as Sting's producer and musical director and he produced (and performed on) Sting’s album Brand New Day and the Platinum albums All This Time and Sacred Love and produced/performed on all Sting’s musical output between 1998 and 2005. He has also worked with Stevie Wonder, James Morrison, Mary J Blige, James Taylor, Richard Marx, Clay Aiken, Chris Botti, Gary Numan, Catherine Zeta Jones and Curtis Stigers among many others. Find out more at kippermusic.co.uk
Although not currently actively judging this year Kipper has helped with UKSC judging on different years in the past, and has mentored with us (see photo with UKSC winner in his studio) so he is deserving of a mention here and his involvement was greatly appreciated.and valued. He has also produced and written scores for a number of Hollywood feature films and he first met Sting while working on the Sharon Stone movie The Mighty. Kipper works from his own studio in Surrey where he produces, writes and mixes for many new and established artistes alike. He also has his own record label, Extenso Music Unlimited - visit the website at extensomusic.com.
Natalie was a winner in the UK Songwriting Contest back in 2004 at the tender age of only 11. Winning the UKSC at such a young age quickly brought Natalie to the attention of the music industry with a large feature article about her win in the UK's prestigious The Stage newspaper and interviews on the BBC and elsewhere and she was soon signed by Simon Cowell for his band Angelis. The band were a huge success and Natalie was presented with a Platinum Album Award on national TV for sales of over 500,000 copies of the band's debut album. She was also personally presented with a Special Achievement Award from the President of the Philippines (her family's home country) for outstanding achievements in music. Her career is still based in London but she is also now very popular in SE Asia and she tours the Philippines appearing on the nation's biggest and most popular TV shows there.
Natalie is one of the past winners who became involved in judging and took part as a judge back in 2012. She said "I'm so proud of my UK Songwriting Contest win. Doing well in the contest gave me confidence in my writing and I would recommend it to anyone". Visit her Instagram page here.
UKSC judges have included many industry executives, producers, songwriters, authors, music journalists, the staff and students of The BRIT School, broadcasters and UKSC directors. Every year we call on this pool of professional and talented contest supporters to assist with the judging. The exact makeup of the panels varies each year but always includes a selection from the judges listed on this page.