May 4, 2009 - The International Songwriting Competition (ISC) is pleased to announce its 2008 winners, including the winners in the Gospel/Christian category. Renowned for its prestigious celebrity judges, ISC received over 15,500 songs from amateur and professional songwriters from 100 countries worldwide, confirming ISC's status as the leading global songwriting event. More than $150,000 in cash and prizes is shared among the 62 winners in 20 categories, including an overall Grand Prize of $25,000 (US) cash, the largest cash Grand Prize of any songwriting competition in the world, and over $20,000 in musical equipment and services. The 2008 Grand Prize is awarded to Kate Miller-Heidke and Keir Nuttall of Brisbane, QLD, Australia for their song "Caught In The Crowd," a brilliantly quirky pop song with an emotional message about schoolyard bullying and peer pressure. The Gospel/Christian category is always one of the most highly-anticipated and exciting genres in ISC and this year was judged, among others, by luminaries Michael W. Smith; Jeremy Camp; Natalie Grant; Matt Thiessen (Relient K); Monte Lipman (President, Universal Records); and many others. Candace Avery, Founder and Director of ISC, says, "As always, the entries in the Gospel/Christian category represented a wide array of styles and is a direct result of artists exploring all aspects of the Gospel and Christian genres. It is such a privilege to be able to hear so many amazing songs every year from so many talented songwriters."
ISC Gospel/Christian Winners
Winning First Place in the Gospel/Christian category are Anadara Arnold and Stephanie Lewis (Nashville, TN, USA) for their song "What Do I Do With Your Time." Born into a musical family, Arnold attended college at the University of Syracuse in New York, where her songwriting was rekindled and affirmed when she was nominated for Best New Artist in the Syracuse Area Music Awards (SAMMY's). Her passion eventually led her to Nashville, where she signed with Spring Hill Worship and released her critically-acclaimed debut album, following that with a nomination for "Best Scripture Song" by Worship Leader Magazine. She has just released her indie sophomore album, A Little Closer, available now. Stephanie Lewis moved to Nashville in 2002 and quickly made her mark in the country music world with cuts by Emerson Drive and Blue Country. This ASCAP Songwriter of the Year's inspirational tunes were snapped up by Christian acts like Plus One, Jump Five, Avalon, and Jaci Velasquez, and her song "Adonai" won the Dove Award for Song of The Year.
Wade Iedema (Lismore Heights, NSW, Australia) is awarded Second Place for his song, "We're Not The Losers." Iedema is the force behind Lifetone, a project who aspire to make fresh praise music for the church of God. This is praise music with a difference, because Lifetone want their music to challenge the mind as well as impact the heart. Their first album, Who Hopes For What They Always Had, "... captures the attention from the first track and doesn't let go until the final note is played," according to Christianitytoday.com. SydneyAngelicans.net adds, "It's the songwriting which really stands out in this album... Wade Iedema and company have put together a good mix of indie sound and solid lyrical foundations..."
Third Place honors are claimed by Sam McClain and Donn Scott Shetler (Newmarket, NH, USA) for their song "Show Me The Way." Legendary, international performer and songwriter Mighty Sam McClain has been bringing his own brand of gospel/funk to audiences for decades. This W.C. Handy Award nominee is one of the original masters of Southern soul/blues, and has shared songs, tours, and stages with respected artists from Little Melvin Underwood to Bobby "Blue" Bland all across the globe. It's no wonder he's called "The Soul of America" in Europe. Donn Scott Shetler studied with the legendary saxophonist Archie Shep during his professorship at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, and the classical clarinetist David Kreuter. Like McClain, Shetler has played venues in Europe, Russia, and Turkey, and has played Carnegie Hall with the late Gene Pitney, and at several concerts in the prestigious New Orleans Jazz Festival with the late Johnny Adams.
In addition to these winners, 12 other Gospel/Christian songs garnered an Honorable Mention in the category:
"Are You There?" Jason Witte - Phoenix, AZ, USA
"Beautiful You" John Reilly and Reilly - Landowne, PA, USA
"Cause I Get to Love You" Bryan Weirmier - Toronto, ON, Canada
"Grace Baby" Paris Wells, Ryan Ritchie - Melbourne, VIC, Australia
"Heaven Is Waiting" Anthony Hugh Harrison, JJ Plasencio - Austin, TX, USA
"I Need A Miracle" Roma Waterman - Melbourne, VIC, Australia
"I'm A Believer" Greg Johnson, John Barner - Nashville, TN, USA
"My Divine" Geoff Fifield, Tim Fifield, Jordan Allen, Nathan Elliot-Doucet (The Contact) - Halifax, NS, Canada
"Rescued" Stephen Hinkle - Gurnee, IL, USA
"Shine" Carole Fredericks, Erick Benzi - Canandaigua, NY, USA
"The Way We Are" Shiloh-Sheray Gagnon - St Basile Le Grand, QC, Canada
"This Is Love" Todd Vaters - Spring Hill, TN, USA
For a complete list of 2008 ISC winners and to hear the winning songs, go to http://www.songwritingcompetition.com/winners.htm
Applauded for its high caliber of judges, ISC compiled a stellar panel of judges for the 2008 competition, including: Rob Thomas (Matchbox 20); Chaka Khan; Tom Waits; KT Tunstall; Robert Smith (The Cure); Ricky Martin; Loretta Lynn; Neil Finn (Crowded House); Buckcherry; T-Pain; James Cotton; Jerry Lee Lewis; Craig Morgan; Ray Davies (The Kinks); McCoy Tyner; Darryl McDaniels (Run DMC); Michael W. Smith; Chris Hillman (The Byrds); John Scofield; Mario; Black Francis (The Pixies); Youssou N'Dour; John Mayall; DJ Tiesto; Paul Van Dyk; Jon Secada; Natalie Grant; Jeremy Camp; Matt Thiessen (Relient K); Pittbull; Angelique Kidjo; "Weird Al" Yankovic; Sandra Bernhard; David Brenner; Monte Lipman (President, Universal Records); Nick Burgess (Head of A&R, Virgin Records UK); Angel Carrasco (Sr. VP of A&R, Latin America Sony BMG and President, Discos 605); Cameron Strang (President, New West Records); John Echevarria (President, Universal Music Latino); Rick Krim (Executive VP Talent and Programming, VH1); Amy Doyle (Sr. VP of Music and Talent, MTV); Kim Buie (VP of A&R, Lost Highway); Jon Pikus (Director of A&R, MySpace Records); Mitchell Cohen (VP of A&R, Verve Music Group); Bruce Iglauer (Founder/President, Alligator Records); Dan Storper (President, Putumayo World Music); Rene Bell (Executive VP A&R, Sony BMG Nashville); Peter Strickland (Senior VP, Jack Records/Warner Bros.); Steve Lillywhite (Producer - credits include U2, The Rolling Stones, Morrissey, Peter Gabriel, and more); Douglas C. Cohn (Sr. VP, Music Marketing & Talent, Nickelodeon); Cory Robbins (Founder/President, Robbins Entertainment); Betty Pino (DJ, WAMR Miami); Paul Majors (CEO/Founder Majors Music); Leib Ostrow (CEO, Music for Little People); and Dr. Demento (Radio Host of The Dr. Demento Show)
Sponsors included: Luna Guitars, Berklee College Of Music, Shure, D'Addario, M-Audio, Griffin Technology, Hear Technologies, Po Boy Drums, Thayers, Disc Makers, ASCAP, Phase One Studios, Stuph Merch, Sonicbids, Sam Ash, Alphabet Arm Design, Shari's Berries, Taxi, George Stein, Esq., The Music Business Registry, SongU.com, Sibelius, and Onlinegigs.
ISC is now accepting entries for 2009. The 2009 competition will feature a new Adult Contemporary category, the return of the Music Video category, and many new judges. Go to www.songwritingcompetition.com for more information and an entry form.
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