Friday, August 7, 2009

Debut Album from David Choi!

David Choi, a past winner of the JLSC, continues to pursue his musical dreams at full speed. His debut album, entitled "Only You," has three bonus tracks for a special Korea edition. Be sure to pick up a copy!

Interested in the full track listing? Here it is!

1. Always Hurt
2. Love
3. Won't Even Start
4. Heart
5. Something to Believe
6. Windmill
7. Let Go
8. Our Song
9. Only You
10. Don't Fade Away
11. I Can Get Used To This
12. Thief in the Night
13. Hold On
14. Enjoy the View

Korea Edition Bonus Tracks:
1. How Long
2. We'll Make It Last All Afternoon
3. Only You (cover version)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Here's a video for the winner of the Children's category from 2004, The Chip and Vince Show.

The song is called Gimmie Gimmie Never Gets, and I'd have to say truer words have never been uttered!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Rob Murat!

That's Lennon Award winner Rob Murat live at the Harlem Grill! You can see him perform at Public Theater: Joe's Pub this Friday, August 7th.
We're proud of Rob, and his accomplishments, courtesy of Joe's Pub:

"His recent accolades include live appearances on FOX and BET broadcasts, the Lennon Award in the prestigious John Lennon Songwriting Contest, and collaborations with Grammy Award winning, producer, Devo Springsteen (Kanye West, John Legend), Hip Hop group, Kidz in the Hall, and buzz worthy newcomers, Blitz the Ambassador and Amanda Diva. His music can currently be heard on ESPN and TV One programming as well as a nationwide Verizon Wireless radio ad."

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

"It was kind of a thrill to win something other than a T-shirt"

That's what 2008 Session II finalist in the Children's category, Dave Kern of the Rockaroos, says about his JLSC prize in an article from covering the group's 20th Anniversary.

Check out the article here!

The picture is also from

Monday, July 27, 2009

2007 Maxell Song of the Year Winners Have New Album Coming Out!

Interested in hearing some great sounds from past JLSC winners? Then be sure to pick up a copy of Colourslide's new album, "Everybody's Right About Everybody." This exciting new release will be available in the fall.

Until then, there's plenty of time to learn more about Colourslide, a talented rock group. Their big break came when they won the $20,000 Maxell Song of the Year prize for their entry, "Wake-Up Call." Already, these JLSC winners have performed with the likes of Natasha Bedingfield, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, Cheap Trick, and Blind Melon. They hope that their upcoming album will help them gain more exposure and maybe even a record deal.

Hear that, industry bigwigs? Colourslide might just be the next big thing!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Former JLSC finalist Shane Hines and the Trance will be auctioning off a brand new Gibson SG guitar at their performance this Friday, July 24th, at Jammin Java in Vienna, Virginia.

The proceeds from the auction will go to benefit World Hunger Year, the 501(c)(3) non-profit organization which, since 1975, dedicates their work to the elimination of both hunger and poverty.

If you are able, go out and support this cause!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Grand Prize Winner in Folk, Abbie Gardner, co-writes with Chris Stapleton

American Songwriter Lyric Contest had a recent interview with Abbie Gardner, discussing a song she had recently co-written with The SteelDrivers member Chris Stapleton entitled "Bad Leaver". They talk about the writing process, working with Chris, co-writing in general and a little bit behind what "Bad Leaver" is all about.
Abbie is not only a Grand Prize Winner in the 2008 JLSC for the Folk category, but is the 2008 Grand Prize Winner of the American Songwriter Lyric Contest.

You can check out the interview with American Songwriter Lyric Contest here.

Thanks to American Songwriter Lyric Contest for the photo!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

We Are Still Celebrating

Brian McKnight presents the Lennon Contest’s Maxell Song of the Year to Matt Cusson on stage in Dallas.
From L to R: Executive Dir. Brian Rothschild, Song of the Year Winner Matt Cusson, Maxell Pres. Masaru Kamemoto, Brian McKnight

It's been a good few days for just announced "Maxell Song of the Year" winner, Matt Cusson, and that's because the "Maxell Song of the Year" award is the highest honor bestowed in the contest, as well as the most highly anticipated accolade of the year at the John Lennon Songwriting Contest.

The winner of this highly sought-after prize receives a $20,000 check courtesy of the Maxell Corporation, an Apple Mac Pro, Cinema Display, a Mackie Mixer, a pair of Mackie Studio Monitors, and Logic Pro Software and a $250 gift certificate, for each band member, to Digital Media Academy. 

Now that's a HUGE honor and grand prize- literally.

So, once again, congrats to Matt Cusson. Your gifted talent and true devotion to your passion for music has led you to win this well-deserved title.

Feel free to post a brief acknowledgment and extend your warm appraisals to any of the Matt Cusson websites below:


Suba Sankaran On Tour in Canada

For all our fellow Canadians, you guys are in for a treat.

Former JLSC world category Grand Prize winner, Suba Sankaran, has a busy performing schedule planned for many upcoming concerts all across Canada.

A multi-talented performer, musician, composer, and educator, Sankaran has a lot going for her. Not only has she traveled extensively throughout North America, Europe, and Asia performing and sharing her rare gift to others, but she has also received numerous awards and distinctions for her scholarly work, performance, and compositions.

She is currently en route on her Canada-wide tour, performing from Ontario to Yukon. Click here to see a detailed schedule of her upcoming shows.


Kate Schutt's Stunning Performance

Former JLSC Jazz Grand Prize winner, Kate Schutt, recently gave a brilliant early performance at Canada AM, Canada's most-watched national morning news channel. Feast your eyes and ears to her spectacular performance for your listening pleasure (above).

Schutt is currently heading to Texas to kick off a string of live gigs, with confirmed locations in San Antonio, Houston, Fort Worth, and Austin. For her full schedule of dates and other details, click here.

Her latest album, "Telephone Game," was just released a few days ago, and is now available on iTunes. 

Keep it coming, Kate!


Jason Michael Carroll Records Song by Former JLSC Winner

Well, this is an honor!

Country singer and major label artist, Jason Michael Carroll, has recorded the song, "Hurry Home," written by former JLSC country category winner, Zane Williams. 

In addition, the original composition written by Williams is featured in Carroll's very own record, "Growing Up is Getting Old," as the tenth track. There is still no word yet on whether the song will become a single, but if it does, it will be turned into a video and get some playing time on the radio!

Apart from that, Williams is currently busy recording in the studio for his forthcoming album, which will be out in September. He will also be hitting the road in Texas and Oklahama with a four piece band.

Congrats on all the success, Zane!

To listen to the beautifully arranged rendition of "Hurry Home," visit Carroll's MySpace page here


Thaddeus Rex to Perform...for Free!

There's never an excuse to miss out on a free concert, right?

Former JLSC children's category winner, Thaddeus Rex, is set to perform a few free shows just for you! His upcoming show in Akron, Ohio will take place on July 12th at 3PM. He will be doing what he does best at this special public concert for the Italian-American society, which is planned to last for about 45 minutes.

But that's not all. Thaddeus Rex is set to perform much, much more thereafter, with more free shows to come! Click here to check out his scheduled performances at a location near you.

It's great to see musicians like Thaddeus Rex perform for large audiences because of their true love and passion for their music, and nothing else.

Good on you, Thaddeus Rex!


Matt Cusson Announced the Winner of "Maxell Song of the Year"!

Brian McKnight presents the Lennon Contest’s Maxell Song of the Year to Matt Cusson on stage in Dallas.
From L to R: Executive Dir. Brian Rothschild, Song of the Year Winner Matt Cusson, Maxell Pres. Masaru Kamemoto, Brian McKnight

A winner has finally been announced!

Let's all give Matt Cusson a big congratulations for all his hard work and dedication as he has rightfully earned the "Maxell Song of the Year," as well as a $20,000 check courtesy of Maxell Corporation.

He is currently embarking on a worldwide tour with R&B sensation, Brian McKnight, who believes Cusson "has an incredible gift." Cusson has also worked with Christina Aguilera, James and Livingston Taylor, Jessica Simpson, and many more notable musicians and artists. 

Apart from winning "Maxell Song of the Year," Cusson has also won the intensely competitive "Amateur Night at the Apollo" in New York City on three separate occasions. He has also received the wonderful honor and coveted opportunities to perform live for popular televised shows, such as ABC's #1 daytime television show, "The View," and "Live with Regis and Kelly.".

For more information on Cusson's big win, check out the winner page on the official JLSC website by clicking here

So, once again, let's all extend a warm congratulations to our new "Maxell Song of the Year" winner, the one and only Matt Cusson!


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

This Is A Rockin' Bus Contest

This is your opportunity to record in the same studio that artists such as the Black Eyed Peas, John Legend and Mos Def have recorded!

Submit for the opportunity to record a music video on the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus, brought to you by the John Lennon Songwriting Contest and Broadjam. One band will be selected to record their video at the Warped Tour stop at the Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View, CA on August 20, 2009 and get an awesome prize pack from the JLSC and its sponsors.

The prize pack includes:
    *One day Lennon Bus Live recording session on the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus at Vans Warped Tour
    *1 Godin Guitar
    *Maxell Prize Pack for each band member (includes CDRs, disc wipes, and other goodies)
    *One free entry into the John Lennon Songwriting Contest
    *1 year Primo MoB membership for each band member ($199/year retail)

You can either bring a pre-recorded audio track, or record a new version on board the Bus. Submissions will be reviewed and selections will be made by the staff of the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus. They will be looking for bands with not only a great sound but marketability.

Important Dates:
Winners announced: July 17, 2009

Please note: This opportunity is open to bands with a maximum of five members, as only five members will be able to get onto the Warped Tour grounds, where the bus will be, to record their video. There are no regional restrictions, but the selected artists are responsible for their own travel arrangements and expenses and should be available to be in the city they apply for on the date outlined above. Artists should also plan to bring minimal gear with them – The John Lennon Educational Tour Bus staff will let selected artists know what gear is available to help determine what bands need to bring with them.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Luisa Sobral to Release New Album After Finishing Studies

Former JLSC jazz finalist, Luisa Sobral, has been studying hard as she is finishing up her degree at the reputable Berklee School of Music in Boston, Massachusetts.

Upon finishing her degree, Sobral plans to release her first ever album in August. 

What an inspiration! We can't wait to hear it, Luisa!


California Welcomes Early States with Open Arms

Rock band and former JLSC rock finalists, The Early States, have jet-setted to California early June, and have been playing a number of gigs for their beloved fans.

Led by 19-year old frontman Zack Gray, The Early States has managed to reach notable success after the release of their debut EP, "Powerlines," which features seven original tracks. Their unique sound has been described to be a blend of U2, fused with minor influences from Radiohead and Augustana.

To watch The Early States live in sunny California, click here for dates.


Emily Hurd New Album in the Works

Former JLSC R&B Finalist, Emily Hurd, took to her official blog recently and discussed her most recent projects, stating:

"I won't be playing shows again until late July, and I may not book too many more in 2009. I'm continuing to pour myself into the arrangement of my next album, which is taking up more of my days than I could imagine. But what a labor of love. I'm anxious to work on it everyday."

Sounds good to us! We can't wait to get our hands on Emily's next CD! We already know it's going to be a masterpiece.

Good luck, Emily!

To view the last of her performance shows for 2009, visit Emily's MySpace page here for all the details. Try and make one if you can!


Great Review of Brother Joscephus and the Love Revival Revolution Orchestra

Click here to read a refreshing review on former JLSC R&B finalists, Brother Joscephus and the Love Revival Revolution Orchestra, written by Wildly's World Music Blog. Based on a first-hand performance experience, Wildly's World Music Blog gave the soulful 11-piece band 5 stars out of 5, touching on Brother Joscephus's "message of universal love, harmony and peace wrapped up in some of the warmest feel good music you can find." The beginning of the review can be found by scrolling down about halfway down the page.

If the review has made you itching to watch the band live, visit their MySpace page here to view their upcoming shows, which will mostly be taking place in the city that never sleeps, NYC. 

Excited yet?


Jazzy Miss Tess Currently on Nation-Wide Tour!

Former jazz category finalist, Miss Tess, has scheduled a myriad of upcoming shows!

Aiming to bring back jazz to the forefront of the 21st century, the jazz crooner has definitely caught the eyes of many over the past few years, winning titles and accolades along the way. Her "modern vintage" style and natural charm has managed to win over many fans, with her raspy, seductive voice and signature look: sporting her distinctive collection of fancy hats.

With performance dates from now until late November, click here to view a complete calendar of Miss Tess' exquisite shows. She will no doubt be coming to a location near you!


David Leask to Perform All Over Ontario

Like many former JLSC winners and finalists, Scottish Canadian singer-songwriter, David Leask, has been persistently performing across Ontario, and is still carrying on with his unrelentless journey. He has live dates planned up until October, as he continues to share his soul and gift of music to other music lovers.

Leask's musical style can be described as an infusion of celtic-soul and country-pop-rock, as it aims to touch people's souls. His musically rich and powerful songs evoke consummate professionalism, as his music sensibilities naturally manage to captivate large audiences.

To view Leask's full schedule of live performances, click here


Railbird to Perform in New York

Thinking about venturing off to the Big Apple anytime soon? If so, then you're in luck.

Psychedelic-inspired indie band, Railbird, are set to perform four unforgettable shows this summer, with their first performance starting tonight at 8PM in Albany, and then ending with a bang in their hometown of Saratoga Springs on September 24th. 

Led by former JLSC folk finalist and frontman- or should I say, frontwoman, Sarah Pedinotti, Railbird has been gaining press recognition, while attracting a solid fan base as they continue to perform their folk-infused indie songs.

Check out their MySpace page here for all the details of their show dates. Rock on!


Dave Gunning to Perform a String of Shows

Former folk category finalist, Dave Gunning, has already kicked off a string of performances and gigs, with many more to come!

Gunning has already gained a reputation as one of the rising folk musicians across the nation, as well as being on the verge of international recognition. He has won numerous honors and titles, with an abundance of accolades from the press.

He is currently busy hustling through the musical venues of Nova Scotia, singing his heartfelt originals and gracing the stages. His shows are currently planned to continue until the end of August.

Click here to see a complete schedule of his forthcoming performances.


Flannery Brothers Prepping for Album Release

The Flannery Brother's are releasing a new abum!

Former JLSC Grand Prize winners, the children songwriter's have been actively recording in the studio, as well as performing a few shows in Maine. All their hard work has truly paid off, and now, they are finally prepping to release their debut album, "Love Songs for Silly Things."

You can click here to pre-order a copy, and be one of the first to listen to their new material!


Thursday, July 2, 2009

Spotlight: The States

The States are no ordinary rock band. With a heavy classic rock influence and an alternative rock twist, the band have a plethora of upcoming performances and gigs lined up for the forthcoming few months, lucky for us.

Not only did The States win the JLSC Grand Prize back in 2006, but they also managed to snatch the winning title for the International Songwriting Contest, and the Make a Music Video at the Warped Tour, presented by the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus and Sonicbids.

Their next performance will take place on July 9th in the Rack N' Roll Cafe at Stamford, Connecticut, 8PM. And from that point on, they will be doing what they do best nation-wide, until late September.

In addition, the dynamic trio have a special treat prepared for all Warped Tour fanatics, as they will be set to play a special performance at the Comcast Center for the John Lennon Bus Warped Tour Event in Mansfield, Massachusetts, July 21st at 12 PM. 

Check out their MySpace page for a complete list of dates, so you can catch this rockin' band at a location near you. These are shows you don't want to miss. 


David Choi Pays Tribute to King of Pop


With the sudden passing of Michael Jackson just last week, former JLSC winner and YouTube sensation, David Choi, has recently posted a video of himself singing, "The Way You Make Me Feel," honoring the pop icon.

Choi exclaims to being an avid fan of the King of Pop, as he truly inspired him in becoming the pop musician that he is today.

Watch the wonderfully sung cover of "The Way You Make Me Feel" (above), and click here to watch more videos of David Choi.


House of Echo is Performing!

Come see a former JLSC winner!

GarageSpin Interviews Brian Hazard of Color Theory

Click here to read an in-depth interview with Brian Hazard of Color Theory, who is also a former 2008 JLSC Grand Prize Winner.

The interview touches on many fascinating details regarding Color Theory, as Hazard spills the beans on winning the JLSC, his inspirations, the songwriting process, his overall success as a growing musician, and much more.

It's a must-read!


Matt Cusson to Perform with Brian McKnight!

Former JLSC Grand Prize Winner, Matt Cusson, is undoubtedly living his dream.

If you're in the Texas area, Cusson will be performing with the one and only Brian McKnight on July 8 and 9, at 8 PM. The following night, Cusson and McKnight will be jet setting to Oklahoma to perform one last show. The venues will be announced shortly. To check out more performances by Cusson, visit his official myspace page here.

It all started in 2007, when not only was Cusson asked to play keys and sing background for McKnight on his World Tour, but Cusson had the once in a lifetime honor to be featured in one of his shows. The fitting duo sang the classic, "Still In Love," with both of them each in front of a piano.

And before you know it, Cusson won the JLSC Grand Prize in the Jazz category the following year.

As he is currently embarking on a worldwide tour, passionately singing his songs alongside legendary stars like Brian McKnight, it is safe to say that Cusson is definitely a rising star in the making. 

Good on you, Matt!


Who Gets Credit?

Every songwriter out there will always secretly ask themselves who is most entitled to receive songwriting credits, which can oftentimes lead to a sticky situation.

Drummer of the former JLSC Grand Prize Winner band, John Ripley, has also wondered about the exact same thing, and who exactly should be eligible to receive credits for a song. 

Check out this great article written by songwriter, Bob Kauflin, and how he divulges the answers to some of the questions posed by John Ripley himself regarding song writing credits.

It's a great read, and who knows, this article may even save the day and get you out of a troubling awkward situation.


David Llewellyn Stays On Top of Things

Former Folk Grand Prize winner, David Llewellyn, has been one busy bee!

After teaching songwriting at a retreat in Crete last month, Llewellyn will be venturing off to Smithsonian in D.C. to sing the Star Spangled Banner live on Frank Hennessy's BBC Radio Show on the 4th of July. What an inspiring way to get into the Independence Day spirit!

But that's not all. After, Llewellyn will be hustling and working hard in the studio to record a new album in the coming months, while actively booking festivals and gigs for 2010.

This means we'll be hearing a lot more of David Llewellyn and his new material. Yay!

Keep it up, Dave!


The Lovell Sisters' New Album, Time To Grow, Now Available

Listen up, country lovers!

Former JLSC Grand Prize winners, The Lovell Sister's, have just released their newest album! Titled "Time To Grow," the album features five original songs, with the 2008 finalist song, "Time To Grow," as well as the 2008 JLSC Grand Prize winning track, "Distance." 

The album truly channels the trio's everlasting passion for their music.

"All three of us have different personalities, different strengths and weaknesses,” concludes Megan, the middle child of the band. “But we take care of each other, and our various strengths help lift each other up. As sisters, we’re very much on the same wave length and I think people can really see that in the way we interact on stage.”

Go pick up a copy of "Time To Grow" today!


Session II 2009 is Wide Open!

Remember, dear songwriters, that although the Session II 2009 deadline is still months away, now would be a great time to get started. Whether it's seeking out inspiration or putting pen to paper, it couldn't hurt to start pouring out your creativity onto the table. 

This year's grand prize, after all, includes a $20,000 check, an Apple Mac Pro, a once in a lifetime opportunity to perform at the Warped Tour for a week, and much, much more. Just sayin'.

So what are you waiting for? Get crackin' on that tune or on those lyrics to get a chance to win the biggest JLSC prize up to date! 

The Session II deadline is December 15, 2009, with winners announced on March 1, 2010. For more info, click here. Best of luck!


Spotlight: Former Winner Chris Ayer

If anyone knows that hard work pays off, it’s Chris Ayer, a 2006 winner of the John Lennon Songwriting Contest.

Chris Ayer, originally from northern California, felt so strongly about his passion for music that he eventually moved to New York City to further develop his musical talents. His pursuits came to fruition when he submitted his song, “Evaporate,” as an entry to the John Lennon Songwriting Contest three years ago. As K. Oliver from the West Columbia Free Times in South Carolina reports, Ayer’s song is “a confessional piece of soul-bearing that looks outward as much as inward.”

Now, Chris Ayer continues in his musical endeavors by composing and performing new works. Best of luck, Chris!

Oliver, K. “Free Times.” West Columbia, SC, 30 June 2009 edition.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Abbie Gardner Co-Writes with Chris Stapleton

Not only did our beloved Abbie Gardner win the John Lennon Songwriting Contest in the Folk category back in 2008, but she also found out that she won the Grand Prize in the American Songwriter Lyric Contest shortly thereafter.

And now? The singer-songwriter has forged ahead into the musical platform, experimenting with new creative ideas and welcoming potential learning opportunities that may come her way. One such occasion includes co-writing a song with hit recording artist and bluegrass singer, Chris Stapleton.

The song, titled, “Bad Leaver,” fosters the instance when one doesn’t have that urge to leave a place or situation, just because. It aims to captivate the notion that sometimes one doesn’t want something to come to an end, and therefore, becomes a “bad leaver,” as the song title suggests.

“You know something’s not right, but you’re sticking around because you’re just not good at leaving,” states Gardner, on what the song is about.

Although apprehensive at first, Gardner exclaims that her first co-writing experience with Stapleton soon turned out to be one with instant chemistry. Realizing their similar styles and how comfortable she felt around him, they both opted for a more emotional approach towards their songwriting partnership, as opposed to a more structural method.

“I love that they’re not just strict country, strict bluegrass,” Gardner gushes, on Stapleton’s band, The SteelDrivers. “I think that he really thinks out of the box.”

And when asked if she would like to co-write with Stapleton again, she replied with a simple and effortless, “Yeah, of course.”


To read the full interview in its entirety, pick up a copy of the July/August 2009 edition of the American Songwriter. 



American Songwriter July/August 2009 Edition

The Flannery Brothers Perform at Their Old Elementary School

It's always nice to stumble across an article about a former JLSC contestant to see that they're continuing to write music and share their gift to others. 

Former Children's category Lennon award winners, the Flannery Brothers, were both recently featured in an Asbury Park Press article highlighting their memorable performance at their old elementary school in Oceanport, New Jersey.

Although you wouldn't expect this dynamic duo to muster up tunes with names like, "Broccoli Yet," or "The Sunglass Song" at first glance, The Flannery Brothers have managed to receive enthusiastic reviews and honorable mentions.

"We're trying to make the world a better place by making genuine, honest, fun music for an audience that is oftentimes neglected. The priority is there. To make people happy is a much better way to be happy yourself," states Dan Flannery, on the real reason for his essence of success.

The kids at Wolf Hill Elementary School could not have been more delighted to be treated to an upbeat and fun-filled performance.

Keep it up, guys!



Hey everyone,

Welcome to the John Lennon Songwriting Contest blogspot page! Here you can find the latest news and updates on the JLSC, an International songwriting contest for both amateur and professional songwriters alike. We are open year-round, and feature two sessions. Our topnotch panel of executive judges feature professional artists, such as Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas, Natasha Bedingfield, and The Veronicas. So what are you waiting for? Submit your songs for a chance to win some amazing prizes, and better yet, $20,000 in cash courtesy of the Maxell Corporation, a prize defiantly worth bragging about. For more details on how to submit your music, visit our official website at

Over the years, we've encountered some notable winners with bright futures ahead of them. In addition, we have just recently determined our winners for Session II 2008, and are very pleased to acknowledge the caliber of their work, as well as their hard work and devotion towards their passion for music. Please take some time to check them out at, and to listen to the awe-inspiring songs that these talented musicians have composed.

Currently, Session II of 2009 is now open, with a deadline of December 15, 2009. The winner will be announced on March 1, 2010. For those of you who have submitted songs for Session I, they are currently going through the John Lennon Songwriting Contest process, and winners will be announced on September 1, 2009. So, dear songwriters, if you're either anxiously awaiting for the big announcement or busy seeking out inspiration to write and submit your own song, we wish you the best of luck!