International Songwriting Competition

With judges including Tom Waits, Robert Smith (The Cure), Loretta Lynne and Frank Black (Pixies)and a US$25,000 first prize the International Songwriting Competition is a big deal. This year five NZ musicians have been selected as finalists.

Kiwi acts have a history of doing well in the contest. Moana Maniapoto won the 2003 competition with the song Moko, beating 11,170 other songs from 60 countries. You can find the song on her album Rua. The following year Auckland teenager Gin Wigmore (pictured) not only won the teen category with the song Angelfire (featured in the podcast) but also took out top prize with another song Hallelujah (mp3). Since then she's disappeared without trace which is a great shame given her talent.

Not content with having his 1969 song Nature selected as the best NZ song of all time, Wayne Mason entered the ISC in 2005 and reached the finals in the Americana section with the song Sense Got Out, the title track from his forthcoming third album.

This year's NZ finalists cover a range of genres. The podcast includes Mike Garner's Louisiana Hurricane (Americana), In the Gully (Pop) by Mahara Tocker and Daniel Maguire's song Bright White Teeth (Rock) performed by his band Mog. Although not normally my cup of tea the Mahara Tocker track was actually the stand out of the five to my ears. Also nominated are Radha Sahar in the Children's category and Hareruia Abraham in World Music.

You can do your bit to boost the profile of the NZ finalists by voting for them in the People's Choice category.

UPDATE: Mahara Tocker won the pop-rock category and Mike Garner took third place in the Americana section. Congratulations from Counting The Beat. Full results are available here.

Blog Only Exclusive: Radha Sahar - The Library Song

Download the Counting The Beat - International Songwriting Competition podcast


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