Top music industry professionals, Emmy, Grammy and BRIT Award winners, Platinum Album artists and voting members of the GRAMMYS
Internationally renowned British producer Stuart Epps has been a 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. He took the UKSC Pop category winner "What Love Is" by Ken Brown and created a stunning new mix of the song at his own recording studio. He helped to promote winner Jaron Natoli and they appeared together and 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.
Recording Academy member and voting member of the GRAMMYs, Rachel Walker-Mason is also well known to British TV viewers as a judge on Sky TV's "Sing - Ultimate Acappella". She joined the UK Songwriting Contest judging panels in 2019 and has a strong input each year. Rachel is a highly acclaimed songwriter and she was described by HRH Prince Harry Duke of Sussex as "an inspiration" for her work with young musicians. Rachel was a past entrant in the UKSC herself and reached the Finals in the event so she knows the contest well from both sides and understands it from the entrants' perspective. 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 has strong USA and International connections 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
Martin Isherwood is Director and Head of Music and Songwriting at Paul McCartney's Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts (LIPA). 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
Australian born Hollywood actress and singer-songwriter Bonnie Piesse was already well known from the age of 15 as a TV actress before working on the Star Wars films with George Lucas and moving to the USA. She made the role of Beru in Star Wars her own in Attack Of The Clones and Revenge Of The Sith, and more recently she was signed by Disney for the new Star Wars series 'Obi-Wan Kenobi', alongside Ewan McGregor.
Bonnie is also a highly acclaimed singer songwriter with songs placed and featured in many movies and TV shows including the Home Box Office HBO docu-series 'The Vow' in which she was also a featured subject. She was described by Oscar nominated film director Luke Doolan as "the type of artist who’s work gets better each time you see or hear her. She has the voice of an angel and the mind of a warrior". When she is not busy at the Disney Studios acting in the new Star Wars series (or judging UK Songwriting Contest songs!!) Bonnie is working on songs for a new EP to be released later in 2022 - we can´t wait to hear it and we will be sharing it here.
Bonnie is a past winner of The UK Songwriting Contest, with her beautiful and enchanting song 'Ariella', so she knows the event well and from both sides - as a contestant and as a judge. You can discover more about Bonnie and hear her music hear her music on her website at www.bonniepiesse.com.
Michèle Vice-Maslin is an Emmy Winning, #1 hit songwriter, producer, arranger and music publisher, and you have almost certainly heard her songs hundreds of times without realising it. She composes and produces for major artists, films, television, ads, promos, games, etc and she has had numerous hit songs and cuts all over the world as well as over 5,000 music placements. Her music can be heard worldwide on radio & television every day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year. Michèle´s impressive discography and credit list is too huge to cover or do justice to here, but you can check out her bio and see her credits on her website at www.sweetersongs.com
Michèle works out of her own recording studio - Sweetersongs East - in Santa Monica California and she has her own production and publishing company - visit at MOB FORCE Productions. She is married to the highly acclaimed music producer and engineer Harry Maslin.
Richard Niles is an award winning producer, arranger, broadcaster and author who found great success in London where he had his own recording studio and worked closely with the BBC. 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 more. For more info visit richardniles.com
Richard was an early member of the UKSC judging panels with a great ear for new talent and he has helped many entrants. He produced and co wrote with UKSC finalist Younee, who was invited to meet us at Richard´s London studio and this 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 UKSC Christmas Song entry and helped send it straight to the top of the Amazon Christmas charts. Richard holds a Doctor of Music degree and he has run a songwriting workshop with the UKSC in London. Richard now lives in Los Angeles where he is very busy in the USA music scene but he remains connected with the UKSC from his studio in California and is involved with International editions of the event. Richard's YouTube channel features interviews with some of music's most successful and creative songwriters and producers including Barry Manilow, Trevor Horn, Michael McDonald, Arif Mardin, Steve Anderson and Pete Waterman. Subscribe for an amazingly valuable resource: https://www.youtube.com/user/DRRICHARDNILES
Teen Winner Katie Kittermaster is a UKSC success story. After winning the Under 18s Category in 2018 Katie´s song was nominated by the UKSC for The Commonwealth Song Contest and she went on to win that international event representing the United Kingdom. Success followed success and after winning the UKSC Katie was signed as the support act on the nationwide BoyzLife Tour featuring Boyzone and Westlife stars Brian McFadden and Keith Duffy. She was soon invited to appear as support for many well known artists including Ronan Keating began making regular appearances on major TV network shows in the UK and Europe. In 2021 Katie signed a major world wide publishing deal with the BMG Group and she now headlines her own sellout concers and she is often seen on national TV in the UK. Katie is a hard worker and she has a very 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 past UK Songwriting Contest Winner Katie knows how it feels to be a contest entrant from her own experience. She has a special interest in younger entrants, pop and singer songwriter categories 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 good to have her on the UKSC judging panels since 2019. 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 each year.
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
Londoner Belle Humble is a successful international songwriter and singer with worldwide chart topping hits from Europe to Korea to the USA and many hundreds of millions of online streams (probably over a billion in total) for her songs. She is a past UK Songwriting Contest Winner - so Belle knows how it feels to be a UKSC entrant from her personal experience, which means she can relate to the songwriters who submit their songs.
Belle´s many songwriting and performing credits and successes include the massive worldwide hit "Cracks" with The Freestylers (listen to it on YouTube) and this track and others have had many hundreds of millions of plays on the main music platforms. Belle has also written songs for Paloma Faith, Alexandra Burke and Joe McElderry and had her songs featured in BBC dramas. She also wrote the massive K-pop hit "Russian Roulette" (recorded by Red Velvet) which was top three in South Korea, Japan and the USA and has had over 300 million (300,000,000) streams on YouTube alone. Belle is currently co writing with Platinum Album artist Karen Harding, signed to a world wide deal with Universal, with two tracks on Karen´s last EP.
Jamie Serafi is a British 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 Sky TV.
Jamie is the Founder and Director of some very 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 Serafi 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 UKSC entries every year since 2014. Jamie is known for his very detailed, constructive and knowledgeable comments on songs. These are so good, professional and insightful that we sometimes pass on his judges notes on to non-winners to help them with their career progression.
GUEST JUDGES Below are some judges that are occasionally involved in the judging panels. They may or may not be active this year depending on their workload and availability.
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 known for country music Lucie is also very interested in other genres and other musical styles and listens with the ear of an artist looking for new material to record. She joined the UKSC judging panels in 2014 and has helped select winners on many of the contest´s busiest years since then.
Neil Fitzpatrick is a 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.His powerful UKSC winning song entry was covered by Michelle Lawson in this video.
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 in his studio 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 with many hundreds of millions of streams. 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. He produced and 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
We do not expect Kipper to be an active judge in 2022 but he has helped with UKSC judging in different years in the past and mentored with us (see photo with UKSC winner Emma in his studio). He deserves a mention and thank you here and his involvement is greatly appreciated. Kipper 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 was great media story and led to coverarge including a large feature article about her in the UK's prestigious The Stage newspaper and interviews on the BBC and elsewhere. This brought her to the attention of many in the music industry and she was 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 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, citing her UKSC win. Her career is still based in London where she appears on the West End stage, and she also became very popular in SE Asia and has toured the Philippines appearing on the nation's biggest and most popular TV shows.
When she was 20 years old Natalie was one of the first past winners who were invited to judge the UKSC. She said at the time: "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 include top industry executives, producers, songwriters, authors, music journalists, staff and students of The BRIT School, academics, broadcasters and UKSC directors and some are also voting members of the GRAMMYS. Every year we call on these professional to choose the winners. Unlike other contests we provide links and full details and are completely transparent about our judges - you will even sometimes see the judges promoting the contest and personally interacting with contestants on social media.