Spotlight On: The John Lennon Songwriting Contest

Posted by Kathleen Parrish on Sep 4, 2014 10:30 AM

1928986_506963049985_8351_nImage courtesy of Matthew Reich

Songwriters, this one's for you! With over $300,000 in prizes and the chance to play the 2015 Vans Warped Tour, the John Lennon Songwriting Contest (JLSC) is an opportunity you don't want to miss. Matthew Reich, the assistant director of the John Lennon Songwriting Contest, gave us the scoop on the organization's mission, why the contest uses Sonicbids, and his best advice for interested artists.

How did you get involved with the John Lennon Songwriting Contest?

Being a songwriter myself, I have always been aware of the John Lennon Songwriting Contest. When the opportunity came up to help other songwriters develop their work and assist them in furthering their careers – in John Lennon’s name  I quickly jumped on it.

What is the JLSC's mission?

The JLSC aims to encourage songwriters and artists to create. Through a number of different opportunities, the contest is able to assist amateur and professional songwriters in getting their music out into the world, furthering their career ambitions, and offering a shot at amazing cash awards, prize packages, and performance opportunities. The JLSC was also the catalyst for creating the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus, which is a nonprofit mobile, audio, and HD video recording and production facility in the United States and Europe. Today, all entry fees from the contest help support the Lennon Bus.

Why did you decide to use Sonicbids to find songwriters for the contest?

Sonicbids is a seamless entry portal that makes it easy for artists, songwriters, and musicians to upload content and apply for various opportunities with only a few clicks. The staff is friendly and encouraging to work with; they are also as hungry for new music as we are, so that’s a good sign!

Who are the judges this year?

Our current Executive Panel of Judges includes Fergie of the Black Eyed Peas, Bob Weir, Sean Paul, Natasha Bedingfield, as well as a number of other great artists/songwriters. We have been blessed to welcome a number of talented new judges from all different genres in 2014, such as George Clinton, Nick Hexum of 311, Switchfoot, Matthew Koma, Ben Jaffe of Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Bootsy Collins, Jim Steinman, and more.

What are the judges looking for when they review entries? Does the criteria differ from genre to genre?

When reviewing entries, the judges first look for something that moves them and catches their attention. They are mainly listening for melody, composition, and lyrics (when applicable). Production is not considered when entering your music, so feel free to send demos or fully-produced songs; both have an equal shot at success. Since great songs transcend genres, the criteria for judging each category is exactly the same.

What are the prizes for this year's contest?

In this year's contest, there are over $300,000 worth of cash awards and prizes including gear from Yamaha, Genelec, Native Instruments, Propellerhead, Epiphone, Neutrik, Audio-Technica, IK Multimedia, SSL, JamHub, SESAC, Mackie/Ampeg, Disc Makers, Musician’s Friend, as well as Guitar Player, Bass Player, Keyboard, and Electronic Musician magazines. There are also performance opportunities that entrants can win, such as touring for one week on the 2015 Vans Warped Tour, or playing other major festivals throughout the world.

What advice do you have for artists considering applying?

When you are writing music, make sure you are proud of your creation. If you are excited about getting it out into the world and everything about your music moves you, there is a good chance it will affect other people as well. Throw your heart and soul into every note and it will translate! Also, be sure to include your flavor; don’t try to be somebody else. With that being said, don’t ignore the artists and songs that have come before you. Study the greats and figure out what made them great.


Apply to the John Lennon Songwriting Contest by December 15, 2014.

Submit Your Song

Topics: john-lennon-songwriting-contest, Opportunities, Musician Success Guide


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