Tuesday, December 14, 2010

JLSC Winner, Greg Sczebel, releases a Christmas single!

Greg Sczebel, previous winner of the Gospel category and winner of the Toby Gad Fly Away, has released a Christmas single, “A Little More Time With You.” Available now exclusively on http://gregsczebel.bandcamp.com/ . Go get it!

Matt Cusson, 2008 JLSC Song Of The Year Winner, to release new album Jan. 11, 2011 on Spectra Records

A note from Matt:

“Hey all!

Happy holidays to everyone! Just wanted to quickly remind you that:

"One of Those Nights" has been released as a sneak preview by Spectra Records to Itunes and Amazon. Pick up your copy today!!! Street release date is Feb 14th so be on the lookout! It's peaked at #11 on jazz charts for Itunes and Amazon, and with your help we can get it to #1. Attached is cover for the CD. Matt's debut self-titled album will also be in stores on Jan 11th, and will be available online at Target, Best Buy, Borders...etc.

ALSO, Dec 15th, Pittsfield, MA at the Colonial Theater, Matt will be bringing some of his most talented friends to perform in his hometown. Don't miss it if you're in the area! Matt will be singing some of his favorite Christmas songs, as well as a couple tunes from his debut CD and a one or two never before heard songs. Pick up your tickets at https://tickets.thecolonialtheatre.org or by calling (413) 997-4444. Get them soon because they are selling fast! Attached is the flyer.

Matt is currently in Europe performing in Amsterdam, Paris, London, Zurich and Stockholm. Look out for a possible promo tour for "One of Those Nights' next year, and most importantly, the 2nd album will be finishing up!

Happy holidays to everyone. We will catch up with you in the new year!

Best wishes!”

Lunic needs your help - VOTE VOTE VOTE!

A note from Lunic:

“Hey guys,
We need your help. Please vote for us every day from now until Dec. 20th so we can go on tour! We're a finalist in two competitions this year, and we're very close to winning them both. So please vote & tell your friends. Don't forget to check your spam folder. Thank you!!
Kaitee, Megan, Arya, Tyler, & Nick”

1. Jansport: SXSW Showcase - Austin, TX
- VOTE LINK (http://jansport.sonicbids.com/BandDetails.aspx?b=23825&sr=false&bn=Lunic)

2. Converse: US Tour
- VOTE LINK (http://getoutofthegarage.sonicbids.com/BandDetails.aspx?b=20722&sr=false&bn=Lunic)

- lunicmusic.com

JLSC Winners, the Flannery Brothers, released a CD and is giving away an album for FREE!

A note from Flannery Brothers:

“On October 18th, we released our newest CD, The New Explorers Club, to rave reviews. To celebrate its release, we are giving away another full album absolutely free from www.flannerybrothers.com.
It's called Dance Songs for Silly Kids and it includes a remix of the song "One Wasn't Enough" which was a Lennon Award winner a few years back.“ - Flannery Brothers

- flannerybrothers.com

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Musician's Friend presents: The John Lennon Songwriting Contest Video Challenge!

This is HUGE and.... ready for it... FREE!

Now is the time to share your music video with others! Who knows, it may land you a Recording Session on the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus, a new Gibson Guitar, Audio-Technica mics, or some serious attention generated from movie screens across the nation!

It doesn’t have to be a professional recording, grab a video camera and share your music with the world! Check out details below and click through to the Musician’s Friend facebook page.


Friday, November 12, 2010

30th Annual John Lennon Tribute @ Beacon Theater Tonight, presented by Theatre Within

Conceived from his passing, John Lennon’s life and spirit was honored by a gathering of mourning artists and appalled friends. Since, the gathering has become an annual tribute benefiting music communities, sending positive life messages, and honoring the great life we all miss so much.

This year, the Tribute will benefit the Playing For Change Foundation. This foundation’s goal is to “Create positive change through music education for all musicians and their communities.” (playingforchange.org)

If nothing about this event has caught your attention as impressive or inspiring yet, maybe understanding who is performing and attending will change your mind. Jackson Brown, Patti Smith, Cyndi Lauper, Aimee Mann, Keb’ Mo’, Joan Osborne, Martin Sexton, Taj Mahal, and many more will each perform one or two John Lennon songs!

Check out more on the event and it’s background here: www.lennontribute.org

Friday, November 5, 2010

WINNER UPDATE: Village Kid announces last show of 2010 before heading into the studio.

JLSC Session I, 2010 Jazz Grand Prize winner, Village Kid, is gearing up for their last show of 2010 at The Velvet Lounge near Perth, Australia. The show is next Thursday, November 11 at 8pm!

Village Kid, forming late in 2009, has already tackled what many bands would consider a successful first 5-10 years or even a career. Usually, bands this young are still trying to pull their own weight at open mics and hole-in-the-wall bars. Maybe getting a gig as an opener for an opener, or being some sort of cover band should be where they are at in their career, right? Nah… Village Kid has already burned through a tour with Thirsty Merc, supported The Black Sorrows, won the JLSC, and released their debut EP, “Colourful Girl,” to a sold out crowd at The Paramount in Northbridge, Perth.

To finish a huge first year, Village Kid will be heading into the studio this December to record their next EP. So, look out for their EP sometime next year. Or, knowing Village Kid, it might just find you.

“Village Kid are really, really good.” – X-press Magazine, September 2010

“Aaron Malone is a damn good vocalist.” – Spaceship News, June 2010

“These guys have some real talent for playing and writing.” – Drum Media, May 2010

source: www.villagekidband.com

Announcement Update: Monday, Nov. 15 winners TBA on jlsc.com

Thanks to everyone who submitted a John Lennon inspired song to the special 70th Birthday Anniversary Songwriting Contest. We are currently listening to your entries and Yoko Ono will select the big winner! Winners will be announced Monday, November 15 on jlsc.com.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

In honor of John Lennon's 70th Birthday anniversary, upload your Lennon inspired songs! Winner selected by YOKO ONO!

Contest Period: Sept 23rd - Oct 29th, 2010
Winner Announced: November 15th, 2010
One Winner And Two Runners Up Awarded.
All Genres are accepted.

Enter your Lennon inspired song from any genre into the John Lennon Songwriting Contest between September 23rd and October 29th, 2010 and you'll also be entered for the chance to win a new electric Epiphone "Inspired By" John Lennon Casino guitar (MSRP $1665) and GHS Strings, or one of two Sibelius and Apple iPod Shuffle prize packs as runner up!

This special opportunity also automatically enters your song into the John Lennon Songwriting Contest's open Session II, 2010 at no additional cost! Making you eligible for the biggest prize package to date, totaling over $275,000 in cash and prizes. An international songwriting contest that began in 1997, the John Lennon Songwriting Contest is open to amateur and professional songwriters who submit entries in any one of 12 categories. The JLSC features two Sessions - with 72 Finalists, 24 Grand Prize Winners, 12 Lennon Award Winners and 1 Song of the Year.

Monday, October 4, 2010

WINNER UPDATE: Lemon Sun performs "Same Old Ground"

JLSC Rock Grand Prize Winner's, Lemon Sun created the ultimate foot stomping, make you want to sing at the top of your lungs song when they wrote "Same Old Ground". We are not the only one to sing praises of Lemon Sun's genius. Check it out!

"The stomp and swagger is innately here, draped in flourishes both familiar and intangible. For each instance of soul drenched vocals there’s a jangly guitar riff or a circus-like vibe in the mix. For all the stomp the band delivers it probably wouldn’t sound right without the scratchy, throaty vocals of Rob Kolar who croons as good as he can let loose." BOOTLEG MAGAZINE

"With grinding guitars that circle the music with a punch to the gut and pinch to the cheeks, you can’t help but sing along." URB MAGAZINE (Cherri Moon)

"As hard-charging brilliant as anything I’ve heard in that venue in the last decade-plus." LA RECORD (Ron Garmon)

"There's a very simple thing going on here. Effortless charm...Lemon Sun are a versatile local pop outfit with a sound that employs all your fave 60's-jangle-harmony-beat conventions without the tired retro smarm. It's ridiculously pleasant, charismatic guitar-pop without pretense. Refreshing. Keep it simple, silly!" AMOEBA RECORDS (Joel Black)
Read more: http://www.myspace.com/lemonsun#ixzz11QVLyRpZ

Monday, September 13, 2010

WINNER UPDATE: Peter Černohorský Rocks With Tommy Lee

2009 Session II Country finalist Peter Černohorský will appear on rocker Tommy Lee's
new single "Time Bomb" . The Vancouver based guitarist and songwriter's solo was
handpicked by Tommy and producer Scott Humphrey.
Lee's new album A Public Disservice Announcement with his band Methods Of Mayhem
was recorded using submitted parts from musicians around the globe.
"I am truly honored to be part of this groundbreaking record," Černohorský says.
"There has even been talk of me hitting the stage with Tommy when the tour comes through town."
The album will be released worldwide September 21.

*Watch Tommy Lee listen to Peter's Submission*

Vancouver Province Article


Friday, August 27, 2010

GuitarTown Takes Over Sunset Strip

This August Gibson Guitar and The Sunset Strip came together to create the public arts project titled GuitarTown. This primarily outdoor exhibit features 25 ten-foot tall fiberglass Gibson Les Paul model guitars which line The Sunset Strip. Each guitar is designed to celebrate iconic musicians and locations who made the 1.6 miles so popular.
Each guitar was created by a local or nationally acclaimed visual artist depicting a musician, personality or artist unique to the Strip's history and Gibson Guitar.

Source: http://www.chinashopmag.com/2010/08/guitartown-invades-the-sunset-strip/

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Lennon's Lost Letter

It could be said that there is nothing more inspiring than words of encouragement. It could also be said there is nothing more tragic than words of your hero falling upon def ears.

A British folk signer by the name of Steve Tilton received a letter from John Lennon and Yoko Ono 34 years late. The message: “Being rich doesn't change your experience in the way you think.”
"The only difference, basically, is that you don't have to worry about money -- food -- roof etc.
"But all other experiences -- emotions -- relationships -- are the same as anybodies, I know, I've been rich and poor, so has Yoko (rich -- poor -- rich) so whadya think of that.

"Love John and Yoko."

Steve Tilston was a rising star (who like most of us) questioned the impact money would have on his life. It was 1971 when Tilston then 21 years of age, shared his thoughts in an interview in the pages of a magazine called ZigZag. It was this article that moved Lennon to pick up his pen and share honest words of encouragement.

The tragedy of this story is that the letter never made it to Tilson, but rather surfaced in 2005 in an American collectors possession. Knowledge of the letter became public when the collector reached Tilson to discuss the letters validity.

Tilson’s reaction to the prized possession he never knew was rightfully his? "It was so frustrating because Lennon even included his home phone number on the top of the letter," "I know it's silly but I wanted to ring him up across the ages."
Tilson also added that he: "felt rather angry to start with to think that someone had just sold the letter rather than passing it on to me, but you have to let these things go."

Perhaps the saying “you don’t know what you’ve got till its gone” is like pouring salt in a wound in this case, but I do believe although John’s letter did not reach Tilson in a timely manor, perhaps the message still did. John’s music was not just powerful, it was a letter of inspiration to us all.

Source: http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/entertainmentbritainmusicpeoplelennon

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Please Vote for Jackie Evancho on "America's Got Talent"

2009 Session 1 Grand Prize Country Winner, Dave Tough’s song writing partner, James Breedwell, just landed a cut with the over night sensation on “America’s Got Talent”, ten year old Jackie Evancho. After wowing judges with her inspiring opera performance, Jackie’s future looks very bright, as does her chance to win the talent contest.

Jackie’s performance made her the most-searched person on Google Wednesday morning, and put her in the ranks of great performers such as Charlotte Church. Do you think shows like “America’s Got Talent” are a good way to expose artists like Jackie? Would you ever consider audition for said programs?

Please vote for Jackie Evancho on “America’s Got Talent”!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

WINNER UPDATE: Patricia Vonne embarks on European tour

After four albums, an impressive touring schedule, and eight years in the industry, 2009 John Lennon Songwriting Contest Session 1 Latin Grand Prize winner, Patricia Vonne, is a seasoned veteran in the world of Latin music. Her transcendent career has combined the styles and genres associated with Texas with an innovative and exciting Latin flair. Vonne’s amalgamation of styles has earned her the title of the “Renaissance woman of Austin, Texas” by the New York Times, as well as comparisons to Calexico, The Mavericks, Lucinda Williams, and Nick Cave. This fall, Vonne will embark on her 19th tour of Europe in support of her most recent album “Worth It”. Recorded with notable Austin producer, Carl Thiel, this album is a continuation of Vonne’s exciting and intriguing musical career, and is a medium for further exploration. Featuring songs such as “Gin and Platonic” and “Castle Walls”, Vonne’s LP combines passionate love songs with heartfelt tales of empathy for a troubled friend.
“Worth It” showcases the musical talents of Robert LaRoche, founding guitar player and collaborator formerly of Virgin Recording artists "The Sighs", "drummer Dony Wynn (who has toured and recorded with stars like Robert Palmer and Brooks & Dunn, among many others) and bassist Scott Garber (whose many credits include work with Giant Sand, The Indigo Girls, Timbuk 3, Alejandro Escovedo, The Silos, The Sidewinders/Sand Rubies and Ronnie Lane, to name some but hardly all). Furthermore Rick Del Castillo of Austin’s Del Castillo brings his “wondrous gut-string flamenco guitar playing” to the mix, San Antonio’s Joe Reyes “burns on electric guitar”, and Austin pop-rock maestro Darin Murphy “wails on harmonica.”
Vonne plans to continue touring in the late summer and fall of 2010. Describing one of her performances, Maverick said "nothing could have prepared me for this extraordinary gig. You know how it is when you’ve seen the best gig in your life? Well, for me it’s probably still Led Zeppelin at the Royal Albert Hall in 1969. But this one came mighty close…." Vonne will be playing at Sam’s Burger Joint with The Texas Tornados in San Antonio, Texas on August 13, Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, Iowa August 18-22, Buddy Holly Center’s Showcase 2010 in Lubbock, Texas on September 2, Texas on Tour in Denver Colorado on September 3, and The Continental Club in Austin, Texas on September 24 before leaving for Europe.

SOURCE: http://www.patriciavonne.com/

Monday, August 9, 2010

FINALIST UPDATE: Lunic to release new single!

Lunic, an indie rock band fronted by violist/songwriter Kaitee Page, has described their sound as an “in-your-face Paramore meets Flogging Molly meets early Alanis Morissette.” With such a myriad of influences, it’s hard to categorize this up and coming New York-based band. Nevertheless, their expansive sound has won them an abundance of acclaim, and positions at many festivals and prestigious venues all over the country. These include South By Southwest, Summerfest, Surface Unsigned Music Festival, as well as opening gigs for Moby, Creed, Company of Thieves, Dredg, Meiko, Bell X1, and Hypernova. Lunic’s debut album “ Lovethief” was released on May 14th, 2009, and was funded completely by Lunic fans via crowd-sourcing website, Sellaband.com. This method of album funding gained recognition through ABC’s Good Morning America and the New York Times, and has paved the way for many independent artists.
Lunic’s new single, “Oh No Yoko!” is done recording, and ready for release. However, in order to release it, Lunic needs to raise at least 50% of their goal on Sellaband.com. Currently, they have sold 29% of their desired amount. To pre-order their new CD for $10, and listen to a preview of “Oh No Yoko!” visit sellaband.com/lunic. Lunic will be playing on August 13 at Valentine’s in Albany, NY, August 14 at Nickstock in Owego, NY, and August 21 at WEQX Unplugged in Saratoga Springs, NY. Furthermore, they will be playing Midpoint Music Festival with notable bands such as Phantogram, Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, and Margot and the Nuclear So and So’s.

SOURCE: http://lunicmusic.com/fr_home.cfm

WINNER UPDATE: Brian Swartz performance at Hollywood Bowl

After starting his own group in 1996, recording a live album and a tribute to Chet Baker, and playing in some of Los Angeles’s best swing bands, Brian Swartz has secured a position as one of the most promising names in contemporary jazz. Swartz’s quintet has featured some of LA’s best jazz musicians such as saxophonists Keith Fiddmont, George Harper and Ben Clatworthy; pianists Brad Mehldau, Billy Childs, John Beasley, Bob Florence, Theo Saunders and Bill Cunliffe; bassists Jeff Littleton, Kevin Axt, Jeff D’Angelo and Darek Oles; and drummers Lorca Hart, Dick Weller and Aaron Serfaty. Along with regular performances, Swartz teaches private trumpet lessons to many young Los Angles trumpeters. Swartz’s jazz composition “Down with Downs” was chosen as a Grand Prize winner in Session 1 of the 2009 John Lennon Songwriting Contest.
On July 28th, Swartz had the pleasure of performing at the Hollywood Bowl with the Dave Douglas Big Band. Dave Douglas is one of today’s most influential and prolific jazz trumpet players/composers. The performance also featured bassist Dave Holland’s Big Band and the Count Basie Orchestra.

SOURCE: http://www.allaboutjazz.com/php/musician.php?id=1080

Friday, August 6, 2010

WINNER UPDATE: Peter Torsiello & Liliana de Leon Have Hopes for Music Licensing

At the age of 16, Peter Torsiello had no idea that his song “Telephone’ll Have to Do,” written for his high school sweetheart, Liliana de Leon, would have such a large impact on their future. Not only did the song expose the musical chemistry of two talented artists, it was also licensed as a full feature for a 60 second spot in the primetime ABC series “Third Watch.” As their romantic relationship culminated in a marriage, Peter and Liliana’s musical connection was blooming into the popular Latin band Florypiedra. Combining Mambo and Flamenco into a style they called “Mambenco,” Florypierda has helped pave the way for many up and coming Latin musicians and have lent their craft to education and musical direction.

Recently, Peter and Liliana created a full evening presentation at the prestigious Herberger Theater with elementary school students from Phoenix, AZ. After teaching with the conservatory for over a year, Peter considers this to be one of his biggest accomplishments. Peter is also the Director of Music at Our Lady of Malibu Catholic Church in Malibu, CA and leader of St. Paul the Apostle’s contemporary music group on Sunday evenings in Los Angeles. Furthermore, Liliana has released an instructional DVD on all aspects of Flamenco choreography. In 2009, Peter and Liliana won the Lennon Award for their Latin composition “Vamo Ya,” which they hope to one day license to television and film. Florypiedra continues to tour, and regularly plays at de la Cruz Bistro in Mesa, Arizona.

SOURCE: http://www.florypiedra.com/florypiedra.html

WINNER UPDATE: Jeffrey Pepper Rodgers Will Release Instructional Guitar DVD

Jeffrey Pepper Rodgers is an extremely prolific contributor to all aspects of the music business. As a musician, writer, and editor, Rodgers has found an abundance of success through his published articles, full length CD’s, and books. Rodgers is also the founding editor of Acoustic Guitar Magazine and has interviewed rock legends such as Jerry Garcia and Elvis Costello. Furthermore, Rodgers teaches courses on songwriting and magazine editing at Syracuse University. He has also started a songwriter concert series and the Words and Music record label. Rodgers was a 2008 John Lennon Songwriting Contest Lennon Award winner in the Country category for his song “Fly.”

Heavily influenced by the musical style and direction of the Grateful Dead, Rodgers decided to begin incorporating some of their classic compositions into his live performances. These performances inspired the recording of “Dead to the Core,” a stripped down, acoustic album of Grateful Dead Covers. In addition to the LP, Rodgers taped “Learn Seven Grateful Dead Classics for Acoustic Guitar” (Homespun Tapes), with instruction on how to play all of the songs on the album, plus “Friend of the Devil.” The DVD is due for an August, 2010 release.

SOURCE: jeffreypepperrodgers.com

News and Updates: Session I Announcements, Facebook, and the Gulf!

The weeks since the close of Session I 2010 have flown by, and September 1st quickly approaches. We know it has been a long wait for our contestants, but in about three and a half weeks your waiting will be at an end. Our esteemed judges are still in the midst of the adjudication process, listening and re-listening to your songs as they narrow down the multitudes of entries into just a few top choices. Hang in there a little longer – we are as excited to hear the judges’ selections as you are! As you wait on the edge of your seats, why not pass the time by listening to past winners from the 2009 contest?

We know that you love reading our blog and following us on Twitter, but we also have a Facebook page, and we want you to be a fan! On September 1st, we are going to randomly select one of our Facebook fans to receive an Apple iPod Shuffle. Follow the banner below to our page, and be sure to click “like” so you have a chance at this great prize.

Many of you are already aware of the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus, a non-profit vehicle outfitted with state-of-the-art video and audio equipment from our sponsors that travels the country to help promote music education. This month, the Lennon Bus is in the running for a $250,000 Pepsi Refresh grant to help communities on the Gulf Coast. Click here to read about the bus’ Oil on Canvas project and how it will benefit Gulf communities. Please tell your family and friends about this great opportunity for the bus and vote once a day! Only the top two projects with the most votes will receive a grant, and the bus needs YOUR help!

HONORABLE MENTION UPDATE: The Premiere Praised by Critics

In addition to choosing one grand prize winner and three finalists for every musical genre in the John Lennon Songwriting Contest, judges also identify five artists to receive honorable mentions in each category. Among others in the Hip-Hop category of Session II 2009, The Premiere, consisting of David Jackman and Adam Wilkey, was chosen as one such honorable mention for the duo’s song, “Unexplained Freedom.”

The band from Arizona, who describes their musical style as a cross between “hip-hop electro rock” and “new wave grunge rap,” cites early Green Day albums as a source of inspiration. Their debut album, “London Paris New York,” was released to a plethora of positive reviews from music publications. The Phoenix New Times lists The Premiere as one of Arizona’s top twelve hip-hop acts and declares their “phenomenal album” to be “a monster mash-up of rap, rock, and new wave.” Java Magazine’s remarks are in a similar vein; writers from that publication believe that The Premiere is “teetering on the brink of stardom.”

For hip-hop fans everywhere, The Premiere is clearly a group to watch in the coming years. The duo will release a new album in 2010, entitled “Antennae,” so those interested should be sure to track down a copy.

SOURCE: http://www.myspace.com/thepremieremusic
SOURCE: http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Premiere/12426867427525

Thursday, August 5, 2010

WINNER UPDATE: Abbie Gardner Performed at Merlefest 2010

Abbie Gardner grew up in a home filled with music; her father, Herb Gardner, is a jazz pianist and trombonist. He is also the man responsible for helping Abbie find one of her current favorite vocalists and musical inspirations: Billie Holiday. Abbie began her musical endeavors as a classical flutist, but she found her true passion in 2004 when she started playing Dobro.

Since switching instruments, Gardner has released several independent, full-length albums. She also spends much of her time playing with an Americana group, Red Molly, which has also released albums of its own. The last six years have been filled with success for Gardner. Red Molly has spent much time at the top of the Radio & Records Americana chart, and Gardner herself was named a Grand Prize Winner in the Folk category of the 2008 John Lennon Songwriting Contest for her song, “The Mind of a Soldier.” Gardner went head-to-head in a fan vote-off against the other Folk winner of that year’s contest, David Llewellyn, but it was Gardner who ultimately won the Lennon Award for the category.

Gardner continues to thrive in the music community. This past May, she performed at the well-known Americana music festival, Merlefest, to an audience of over 70,000. Gardner has also begun her lifelong dream of attending music school, a testament to her devotion toward music.

Though attending music school is a time-consuming activity, Gardner still has plans for several performances later this year. Check the list below to see if she will be playing at a venue near you.

09/12/10: Jalopy Theater w/ Pat Wictor (Brooklyn, NY)
10/22/10: Poughkeepsie Tennis Club w/ Craziest Dream Band (Poughkeepsie, NY)
11/28/10: Perks and Corks w/ Marc Douglas Berardo (Westerly, RI)

SOURCE: http://www.abbiegardner.com/
SOURCE: http://www.myspace.com/abbiegardner

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

WINNER UPDATE: Matt Cusson Signs with Spectra Records

It was announced last month that folk duo Madison Violet had won the 2009 Song of the Year award, the highest honor that the John Lennon Songwriting Contest offers. The JLSC staff looks forward to Madison Violet’s continued success in years to come, both on tour and in the recording studio.

Winning the Song of the Year is a huge milestone in an artist’s career. 2008 Song of the Year winner Matt Cusson would surely agree with this statement, as his musical endeavors have continued to flourish since last July, when he was surprised by his touring partner, Brian McKnight, the JLSC executive director, Brian Rothschild, and Maxell president, Masuru Kamemoto, with the $20,000 prize check.

In recent months when not on tour, Cusson took his talents to television where he performed as part of the house band on The Brian McKnight Show. Now he is back on the road – Cusson was selected to sing as part of the international “Man in the Mirror” tour, a Michael Jackson tribute currently in Europe. Performers on tour have hopes that “Man in the Mirror” will add dates in America and Asia in the future.

On Thursday, July 22, 2010, Cusson announced some of his most exciting news yet: Spectra Records has signed him to an international distribution deal for the song that earned him his JLSC prizes, “One of Those Nights.” This is a truly exciting adventure for Cusson, and with the great potential for success of his single on Spectra Records there is a possibility that he could release a full album through the label.

SOURCE: http://spectrajazz.blogspot.com/2010/07/spectra-jazz-signs-john-lennon.html

Warped Tour Winners K-Será Work With Creative Allies

Each year, the John Lennon Songwriting Contest holds a mini-contest, the winner of which gets to perform on a leg of the Warped Tour during the summer.  2010's winners, K-Será, teamed up with Creative Allies to find a designer for their T-shirts and posters. Check out the great video below for some of the action on board the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus!

Monday, August 2, 2010

FINALIST UPDATE: Casey Desmond Performed in Private Industry Showcase

Casey Desmond, a finalist in the 2005, 2008, and 2009 John Lennon Songwriting Contest (Pop, Electronic, and Pop categories, respectively), has had quite a bit of exciting news to share recently. In addition to a slew of songwriting titles she has earned over the past several years, numbering more than twenty placements in various contests, Desmond’s music has been used in a variety of television programs, and she has shared the stage and/or collaborated with many big names in the music industry: Amy Winehouse, Duffy, David Cook, Johny Lange, Ed Kowaszyk (from The Live), The Motels, Luka Rossi, and Kate Voegel. To top it all off, Desmond was recently hired as a composer for Oprah’s HARPO productions and Studio 51 film library.

Desmond’s long list of accomplishments has garnered her attention from top producers, such as Anthony J. Resta (Elton John, Collective Soul, Shawn Mullins, Duran Duran), and songwriters, such as Robert Ellis Orral (Taylor Swift, Lindsay Lohan, Love and Theft). And her high quality music doesn’t end in the recording booth – Desmond puts careful thought into her live shows. She has an education in illustration and fashion design, which helps inform the 80’s electropop style of her stage shows; David Bowie, Cyndi Lauper, and Blondie are some of her inspirations there.

Desmond will release a new EP this fall called “Heart Shaped Faces.” On July 28, 2010, she held a private preview party at The Canal Room in New York City where those in attendance got to hear some of her new songs for the first time. According to Desmond, the event was “geared toward giving fans, press, labels, and publishing companies a taste of what’s to come.”

SOURCE: http://www.myspace.com/caseydesmond

Help Provide A Voice for the Gulf Community

Many of you are probably aware of the Pepsi Refresh Project, which awards a $250,000 grant to a cause that earns the most votes from the public. We are pleased to announce that the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus is one of the causes in this year's project. The bus travels all over the United States each year, giving students the opportunity to learn about music production and helping them to pursue careers of which they might not otherwise have been aware. If awarded the grant, the bus and its staff will participate in a project called "Oil on Canvas," in which students will use the facilities on the bus to express themselves through artwork. These paintings will be auctioned off and the funds will go toward areas affected by the oil spill in the gulf.

The John Lennon Educational Tour Bus needs your help. Please sign up on the Pepsi Refresh Project and vote for the bus every day! Voting ends on August 31st, and $250,000 will be awarded to the two causes with the most votes.

WINNER UPDATE: Color Theory Releases “The Individual Edition CD”

Brian Hazard claims that he started learning music “relatively late” in life at the seasoned age of thirteen. Though it’s true that many musicians pick up their first instrument at a younger age, Hazard’s supposed disadvantage hasn’t set him behind his peers. After being trained in classical piano and listening to a lot of Depeche Mode, Hazard has used his musical abilities in combination with his love for computers to create a style of music that he calls “electronic indie piano pop” and performs under the name Color Theory.

Since the mid-1990’s, Color Theory has released eight albums: “Sketches in Grey” (1994), “Tuesday Song” (1997), “Perfect Tears” (1999), “Life’s Fairytale” (2001) “Something Beautiful” (2002), “Color Theory Presents Depeche Mode” (2003), and “The Thought Chapter (2008). In addition to this prolific track record of album releases, Color Theory also earned a Lennon Award in the 2008 John Lennon Songwriting Contest for the Electronic song, “If It’s My Time To Go.”

Color Theory is set to release another album, entitled “The Sound,” this week, but this record sets a new standard for the artist’s creativity; in addition to giving buyers “The Sound,” Color Theory also made available a limited edition, personalized CD of unique mixdowns of each of the songs. Only twenty copies of “The Individual Edition CD” were released, making the album a true collector’s item.

For more information about ordering Color Theory’s “The Sound,” click here.

SOURCE: http://colortheory.com/
SOURCE: http://www.myspace.com/colortheory

Friday, July 30, 2010

Television: A Great Way to Expose Artists

Television has always been an important medium through which artists can raise awareness about their music. Without “The OC,” Imogen Heap’s “Hide and Seek” may never have been introduced to mainstream audiences, and void of “Entourage” exposure, Cold War Kids would be significantly less well-known. Licensing music to television is mutually beneficial, as the artist reaches new audiences, and the show is not expected to pay exuberant fees. Shows like “Gossip Girl” and “Scrubs” introduce the masses to music that they would not ordinarily hear on their local hit radio station, and spark exciting conversations about the soundtracks of last night’s episodes. Furthermore, theme songs are a lucrative method of showcasing the talents of various composers and songwriters.

Several John Lennon Songwriting Contest winners have gone on to license their music for television. Among these are The Swear, Laura DiStasi, Gaby Moreno, and Andrew Belle. Because they lent their music to popular network television programs, these artists have inspired many to research their songs, and subsequently buy their music.

The Swear has been featured on “Jersey Shore,” “Sex Rehab with Dr. Drew,” “View of the City," “A Decade of Cribs," “Disaster Date,” “Valemont,” “Always Wasted,” Converse commercials, “Tool Academy,” “Cribs,” and many more programs. Laura DiStasi’s music has been featured on “Melrose Place” and “Mercy”. Along with her Emmy nominated theme song for “Parks and Recreation,” Gabby Moreno’s music has been featured on “Lincoln Heights,” “The Hills,” and “Ghost Whisperer.” Finally, Andrew Belle’s songwriting talents have been showcased on “One Tree Hill,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “90210,” and “Pretty Little Liars.”

As a suggestion, to safely and securely license music, one should research reliable internet resources for assistance. In order to copyright music, one should visit eCO Online System and create an account. A tutorial on how to properly copyright can be found here.

SOURCE: http://www.musicbizacademy.com/internet/how2copyright.htm
SOURCE: http://www.seventeen.com/cosmogirl/andrew-belle-unsigned-find
SOURCE: http://gabymoreno.ning.com/
SOURCE: http://www.last.fm/music/Laura+Distasi
SOURCE: http://www.theswear.com/news.cfm
SOURCE: http://www.lauradistasi.com

Thursday, July 29, 2010

JLSC Facebook Page: Become A Fan

In addition to our blog, the John Lennon Songwriting Contest wants to keep you up to date on Facebook as well. Our new Facebook page has some great content, including current contest news and pictures of past winners and finalists. Plus, as an added bonus, the JLSC will be selecting at random one of the fans of the page to receive one Apple iPod Shuffle. For a chance to win, click on the banner below and click "like." Be sure to tell your friends to do the same!

WINNER UPDATE: The Swear to Be Featured on “The Jersey Shore”

Eight years ago, a rock musician by the name of Elizabeth Elkins was a Grand Prize Winner in the 2002 John Lennon Songwriting Contest for the song “Deception Bay.” Now, Elkins continues to pursue her musical dreams by performing with alternative rock group The Swear. Thus far, the group has released two albums – “Every Trick’s A Good One” (2005) and “Hotel Rooms and Heart Attacks” (2008) – and has been the subject of many positive reviews. Guitar Player Magazine captures the essence of their unique sound by naming the group “rock warriors with a total command of meaty riffs, feedback swells, dynamics, and churning, crunching chords.

The Swear has a long list of accomplishments, including endorsements from Gibson Musical Instruments, GHS Strings, Ampeg, Paiste Cymbals, Pearl Drums, and Vic Firth Drumsticks. Their music has already been featured on a variety of television networks, including Fox, ABC, the CW, the WB, FX, TNT, The Discovery Channel, CNN, and VH1. Tonight, they will add MTV to the list. Their song, “The Violence Rings,” will be part of the soundtrack on the highly anticipated season premiere of the hit television show, “The Jersey Shore.”

After tuning in to hear The Swear on MTV tonight, fans in the Atlanta, GA area should be sure to see the band live at one of their upcoming tour dates. See the list below for a venue near you.


7/31/10: North River Tavern (21+) (Atlanta, GA)
9/24/10: Lenny’s (21+) (Atlanta, GA)
10/23/10: Downtown Sounds at the Hard Rock Café (18+) (Atlanta, GA)
11/12/10: Vinyl (18+) (Atlanta, GA)

SOURCE: http://www.theswear.com/
SOURCE: http://www.myspace.com/theswear

WINNER UPDATE: Yoko Ono Blogs about Madison Violet!

As many music fans are already aware, Yoko Ono maintains her own blog on her website, imaginepeace.com. In response to the announcement this week that Madison Violet were named the Maxell Song of the Year winners, Ono posted about the folk duo and included a great video of one of their performances of the winning song, "The Ransom." To see the full blog post, click here, or watch the embedded video below.

SOURCE: http://imaginepeace.com/archives/11837

FINALIST UPDATE: Joanie Leeds Receives Nomination from Nickelodeon

Children’s music singer/songwriter Joanie Leeds found the start of her musical career to be a challenge, as most beginning artists do. Long before she was named a finalist in the Children’s category of the Session II 2009 John Lennon Songwriting Contest for her song “I’m a Rock Star,” Leeds spent many of her days bouncing from gig to gig around local venues in New York City. She finally realized her passion for children’s music when she got a job at a Gymboree in Manhattan and was able to earn a paycheck by working and singing with kids. After a stint on the birthday party and pre-school circuit, Leeds had enough music to fill three full-length albums.

At present, Leeds tours as part of the group Joanie Leeds & The Nightlights. Members include Leeds (guitar/vocals), Dan Barman (drums), Scott Stein (keys), Matt Aranoff (bass), and Thomas Bryan Eaton (electric guitar). The band, now a well-known group in the children’s music community, has performed at such venues as the Brooklyn Children’s Museum and XPoNential Fest in Camden, NJ. After releasing a DVD entitled “City Kid Live,” Joanie Leeds & The Nightlights were honored with two first place and one second place National Telly Awards, which recognize local, regional, and cable television commercials and programs; other recipients have included Bon Jovi, CBS, AT&T, and Comedy Central.

The group’s most recent honor comes from one of the most well known children’s television networks. Nickelodeon’s Parents Connect has just nominated Leeds and her band for the “Best Party Entertainer” award. The winner is determined through fan votes. Anyone wishing to support Joanie Leeds & The Nightlights’ can vote for the group at the Parents Connect website. Voting closes August 31, 2010.

Joanie Leeds & The Nightlights continue to maintain a full touring schedule on top of their other activities. For those interested in seeing a performance, check out their complete list of tour dates.

SOURCE: http://www.joanieleeds.com/citykid/index.html

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

WINNER UPDATE: SoulStice Collaborates for International Concept Album

In 2009, SoulStice was named a Session I Grand Prize Winner in the Hip-Hop category of the John Lennon Songwriting Contest for his song “Strange Kinda Love,” but this title was only one stepping stone on his rise to success. His 2005 debut album “North by Northwest” was released to many positive reviews and critics were quick to call his music “enlightened.” With a growing fanbase across the globe, SoulStice was given the opportunity to share the stage with such artists as John Legend and Wu-Tang Clan, and in 2008 he was invited to join the prestigious Recording Academy.

In addition to his thriving music career, SoulStice has also gotten involved in social activism as one of the newest members of the NOH8 campaign. This campaign for marriage equality was founded in response to California’s Proposition 8 and is described as a “photographic silent protest movement.”

Recently, SoulStice has focused his efforts on creating an album with fellow artist SBe. The two musicians have collaborated with artists in the U.S., Canada, Ireland, Belgium, France, Germany, the U.K., and the Netherlands. The record, fittingly named “Beyond Borders,” shows music’s potential for universality. For those interested in learning more about this incredible international endeavor, visit the website here.

Think you might be the next hip-hop artist to watch? Enter your song into the JLSC.

SOURCE: http://www.thinkbeyondborders.com/
SOURCE: http://www.myspace.com/soulstice
SOURCE: http://www.baltimoreblack.com/articles/2010/soulstice_joins_NOH8_campaign.php

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


The pair surpassed thousands of entries with "The Ransom" to take top annual prize.

New York, NY (July 27, 2010) – The Alternative Country duo, Madison Violet, has been announced the winner of the coveted “Maxell Song of the Year” from the 13th annual John Lennon Songwriting Contest for their original composition, “The Ransom." The duo made up of Brenely MacEachern, who sings the lead vocals on the track, and Lisa MacIsaac, who sings the harmony, will be awarded $20,000 courtesy of Maxell, in addition to other prizes.

Known for their extensive touring routine, Brenely started writing the song in Australia nearing the end of a 2 month long trip when she was longing for home. Lisa later helped her finish the song in Grenada. The pair recorded the song in Pro Tools with an acoustic guitar, a snare kick and hi-hat, an upright bass, an organ and a lapsteel guitar.

Both hailing from Scottish small towns in Canada, Brenely and Lisa have chosen a musical path that channels their parent’s vintage record collection that compromised the likes of Neil Young and Dolly Parton.

A total of over $275,000 in cash and prizes will be distributed this year by the year-round contest open to both amateur and professional songwriters. Visit www.jlsc.com to listen to Madison Violet’s winning song, download their photo and enter the current contest.

Monday, July 26, 2010

WINNER UPDATE: Taron Cochrane and Chazz Valentine Featured in Regina Leader-Post

In March 2010, the John Lennon Songwriting Contest announced the winning entry in its first ever love song mini-contest. People across the globe entered their best compositions in hopes of being named the winner, but the title ultimately went to the duo of Taron Cochrane and Chazz Valentine for their song, “The Brightest Star.” Since then, they have received much recognition for their efforts, and most recently they have been featured in the Regina Leader-Post newspaper in Canada.

In 2009, Cochrane was preparing to marry his fiancée, Jenna Brown, and he wanted the song at their wedding to be truly their own. He set to work on writing the lyrics, but as a graphic designer he felt he lacked the musical experience to record the vocals and instrumentation himself. It was then that he contacted Chazz Valentine, an artist from New Zealand with whom Cochrane had previously been acquainted when doing some design work for Valentine’s band, The Rabble.

Over the next several months, Valentine and Cochrane communicated via email to put the song together. Through their determined teamwork, “The Brightest Star” was completed in time for Cochrane’s October wedding to Brown, and it continues to inspire other couples around the world. Cochrane reports that the love song has been used in weddings besides his own.

In addition to helping happy couples celebrate their special day and being named a winner in the JLSC’s Valentine’s Day themed mini-contest, “The Brightest Star” has also claimed a place on the music charts in New Zealand. Thus far, it has reached a peak #3 position on the singles charts and continues to receive significant radio play.

The full Leader-Post article about “The Brightest Star” can be found here.

SOURCE: http://www.leaderpost.com/opinion/Love+Shines/3318490/story.html

WINNER UPDATE: Jaffa Road Plays Canadian Music Festival

Collaboration is key in the creation of innovative and original music. The utilization of several creative minds in a musical endeavor can yield a final result that an individual could never have imagined. Toronto-based World Music band Jaffa Road is a perfect example of the importance of a group effort, as they have combined the talents of many notable musicians to create an exciting breed of World Music. The band consists of Aaron Lightstone (guitars, ud, saz, synthesizers), Aviva Chernick (vocals), Chris Gartner (bass, co-producer), Jeff Wilson (percussion), and Sundar Viswanathan (sax), with guest artists including Chris McKhool-violin (Sultans of String), Ravi Naimpally-Tabla (Tasa), Ernie Tollar-nay, bansuri (Tasa, Maza Meze, Maryem Tollar), Aaron Bensoussan-vocals, (Uri Caine’s Zohar), and Dr. George Sawa-qanun (Traditional Arabic Music Ensemble).

Jaffa Road combines sacred and secular Jewish songs, Classical Arabic and Indian music, modern jazz, rock, pop, and dub music to create a sound that is extremely unique and difficult to replicate. This amalgamation has allowed Jaffa Road to record with many influential Canadian musicians in the jazz, pop, rock, and world music genres. “Sunplace,” Jaffa Road’s debut album, climbed to the #1 spot in the CUIT World Music charts. Furthermore, the band was given runner up status in the “We are Listening Worlds of Music” contest, as well as a Lennon Award in the 2009 World category of the John Lennon Songwriting Contest for their song “L.Y.G.

In addition to their new album release and JLSC title, Jaffa Road was also in attendance at the Juno Awards in April for their nomination of "World Music Album of the Year." Though they didn't take home the Juno, the group did win "Best World Music" at the Toronto Independent Music Awards. Earlier in July, they also had the honor of playing at the Rocking Walrus Arts Festival; located on the shore of the Arctic Ocean, this event is known for being the most remote arts festival in North America.

For those interested in hearing Jaffa Road's unique sound, the band will be playing at the “Indulge your Scences” Festival in Metro Square, Toronto on July 29th.

SOURCE: http://jaffaroadmusic.squarespace.com/

Friday, July 23, 2010

WINNER UPDATE: Bignic Racks Up Songwriting Titles

Beginning his career with various compilations and computer game/television soundtracks, Canadian electronica act, Bignic, has made quite a splash in the world of electro, house, and bigbeat music. In 2007, Bignic won the "Best Electronic" award at the 2007 Ontario Independent Music Awards for his song “Inexplicable.” Bignic’s other accomplishments include “Third Place Electronic" in the 2008 International Songwriting Competition ("The End of Something Big") and a position as a Finalist in the 2008 Great Lakes Songwriting Contest and a Semi-Finalist in the 2008 UK Songwriting Contest. Bignic also has placed five songs on the Billboard top 500 in Billboard World Song Contest. Bignic was a Grand Prize Winner in the John Lennon Songwriting Contest for his electronic song “Phone.” Bicnic’s fourth LP features the aforementioned award-winning songs, as well as 17 other exciting electronica songs. The album is available for purchase on Bandcamp, Itunes, and Amazon, along with four other full length studio LP’s from Bignic.

SOURCE: http://www.thebignic.com/music.php

FINALIST UPDATE: Greg Sczebel in PEAK Performance Project 2010

Greg Sczebel has had a very exciting year. In addition to being named a Session II 2009 finalist in the Pop category for his song “How Am I Supposed to Breathe?,” he also beat some stiff competition to win the John Lennon Songwriting Contest’s Toby Gad Experience. Sczebel will have the opportunity to work with Gad – a renowned producer responsible for hits from artists such as Beyonce and Fergie – to write and record a song.

Sczebel, who resides in British Columbia, Canada, might not necessarily call 2010 the year of his big break. His career has been steadily garnering more interest among members of the music community.  Looking back to previous years, Sczebel was a JLSC Gospel/Inspirational Grand Prize Winner in both 2004 and 2007, and he won a Juno Award (2005 Contemporary Christian/Gospel Album of the Year) for his debut release, “Here To Stay.” He has performed with the likes of Paul Brandt, David Foster, Michael Buble, and Colin James – no small accomplishment for any aspiring musician.

After his successful debut record, Sczebel released his sophomore album in October 2009: “Love & The Lack Thereof.” He reports that his goal with this most recent album was to create something “soulful but modern, original yet familiar.” His musical inspiration comes from a variety of artists, ranging from The Beatles and Stevie Wonder to Kanye West and Mark Ronson.

In one of Sczebel’s most exciting achievements yet, he has become one of twenty finalists that are competing for 100.5 The PEAK Performance Project 2010. The goal of the project is to launch the careers of artists in British Columbia, and the top twenty artists take part in a vigorous artist development program. In the final round of the project, public votes along with judges’ consideration will determine the artists’ official placements. All candidates for the project must be residents of B.C., and the prizes range from $100,500 for the eventual first place winner to $5,000 for the artist ending in fifth place. All artists receive an initial $3,500 of development funding.

Winners for the PEAK Performance Project will be announced in November 2010. Fans can follow Sczebel’s and the other top nineteen artists’ progress at the project’s website.

SOURCE: http://www.facebook.com/gregsczebelmusic?v=info

SOURCE: http://p3.fm/

WINNER UPDATE: David Llewellyn to Host a Songwriting Retreat

Hailing from the coal mining valleys of South Wales, David Llewellyn grew up with an active imagination and zeal for music. By the age of seventeen, this fervor led him to a life outside of his humble beginnings, and encouraged him to depart from Wales for an exciting musical career. David came to Nashville, Tennessee in 1991, and was signed to a Music Row publisher in 1996. With its roots in Davids upbringing, and its technique developed through his new American experiences, David's songwriting soon caught the attention of many musical peers. Eventually, David began playing notable festivals such as the Kerrville Folk Festival in Texas, and was the recipient of its coveted "New Folk" award. Davids self-titled LP was released in 2004 to critical acclaim and radio attention, and his 2007 release "Limited Edition" quickly sold all of its printed copies. In 2008, David won the John Lennon Songwriting Contest's Lennon Award for his folk song "Take Us Down."

New tracks and improved production are in the works for "Limited Edition" and a full release is expected in the fall. In addition, David is working on a new full length CD. Furthermore, Recently, David recorded a radio show with BBC in Wales. In October, David will host a songwriting retreat in St. Croix in the Virgin Islands. Anyone interested in attending the retreat should contact David at David@davidllewellyn.com.

SOURCE: http://www.davidllewellyn.com/index.html

Thursday, July 22, 2010

WINNER UPDATE: Debra Gussin to Pen Lyrics for Upcoming Musical

Earlier this year, it was announced that Debra Gussin and co-writer Rick Howard were the grand prize winners of the Country category in Session II of the 2009 John Lennon Songwriting Contest for their song, ““Is That You?”. After facing-off against the Session I 2009 Country Grand Prize Winners, JD Dohnal and Dave Tough, Gussin and Howard also took home the coveted Lennon Award, making them one of the twelve artists currently in the running for the Maxell Song of the Year Award.

In recent years, Gussin has made quite a name for herself. In addition to a slew of accomplishments in various songwriting contests, Gussin has worked with many industry veterans, including Paul Williams, Marty Panzer and Don Grady. In her past she has been honored with several musical scholarships and was the first ever recipient of the Lifetime Barry Manilow Scholarship Award.

More recently, Gussin’s song, “This is Our Time,” was chosen as the official graduation song for UCLA Extension. She worked with co-writer Dale Effren on the lyrics, and the song premiered on June 29th in Los Angeles; Erich Bergen of the musical, “Jersey Boys,” performed.

Now, Gussin extends her talents to write songs for the stage. She has been named the lyricist for “TURMOIL! A New Musical.” In addition to this great honor, Gussin is also on the Board of Directors for the Academy for New Musical Theatre.

With so many achievements already under her belt, Gussin is certainly one to watch in the coming years.

SOURCE: http://www.myspace.com/debragussin

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

WINNER UPDATE: Expect James Tormé’s New Album in August

With a new album due for Summer 2010, worldwide concerts with esteemed musicians, and a plethora of praise from notable names in the industry, James Tormé has secured a position as an exciting and promising new act in vocal jazz. Combining elements of R&B, Big Band, Swing, and intimate ballads, James’s style is both unique and versatile, and it has caught the attention of many influential colleagues. James was surrounded by music as a child and was introduced to inspirational artists such as Steely Dan by his father, three-time Grammy Award winning Jazz composer and vocalist, Mel Tormé. Following in his father’s footsteps, James decided to begin a career as a vocalist, using both original material and covers in his performances.   James was recently named a Session II Grand Prize Winner and Lennon Award Winner for the jazz category in the 2009 John Lennon Songwriting Contest. Previously in 2007, James won the Chuck Niles Jazz Music Award, and subsequently signed with E1 records in 2008.

James upcoming album “Love for Sale” has been highly anticipated in the jazz community. The CD showcases James’ skill in singing both jazz standards, and pop tunes, with his own distinct style. Although the album pays homage to the music that inspired James, “Love for Sale” is more of an evolution and amalgamation than a replication. His newest LP will feature originals such as “One or the Other,” classic jazz standards like “Autumn Leaves,” and contemporary pop songs such as Michael Jackson’s “Rock with You.” The album has been slated for a release in the summer of 2010, and James’ music can be heard on various radio stations such as Smooth Jazz 94.7 and KS BR-FM.

SOURCE: http://www.jamestorme.com/

WINNER UPDATE: Patricia Vonne Has Packed Fall Tour Schedule

Session I 2009 Latin winner Patricia Vonne is no newcomer to the music scene; she released her first album eight years ago. Since then, Vonne has dropped three additional albums: “Guitars and Castanets,” “Firebird,” and “Worth It.” Since she first started writing music, newspapers and magazines have been quick to give her glowing reviews. Publications such as The Austin Chronicle, The Houston Press, and The Sun rave about this Texan songstress, claiming that she has “talent to melt the coldest heart.”

Vonne cites her upbringing as one of her sources of inspiration. One of ten children, she grew up in San Antonio in a bilingual household. Her mother’s past-time of singing to her children in Spanish no doubt helped shape Vonne’s current interest in Latin-styled music. Her older siblings helped to nurture her musical tastes; her elder brother, director Robert Rodriguez, often collaborates on her songwriting, leading to tracks that have been featured in films such as “Once Upon a Time in Mexico.”

Like many people in the creative community, Vonne’s artistic interests are not limited to just music. In previous years, she has tried her hand at acting, landing roles in films such as “Sin City” and “Spy Kids.” However, in between the occasional movie, she leaves plenty of time in her schedule for touring. This fall, she will perform not only in the United States, but around Europe as well.

If you are interested in seeing and hearing a truly talented Latin musician perform live, check out Patricia Vonne on one of the dates below, or visit her website for more information.


07/24/10: Benson-Carr Auditorian @ Wild Basin Preserve (Austin, TX)
07/28/10: 2010 Takin Texas Tour (Round Rock, TX)
07/29/10: Antone’s 35th Anniversary (Austin, TX)
08/03/10: Justin Herman Plaza (San Francisco, CA)
08/13/10: Sam’s Burger Joint (San Antonio, TX)
08/18/10: Iowa State Fair (Des Moines, IA)
09/02/10: Buddy Holly Center’s Showcase 2010 (Lubbock, TX)
09/03/10: Texas on Tour (Denver, CO)
09/24/10: The Continental Club (Austin, TX)
09/29/10: Franziskaner (Bad Salgau, Germany)
09/30/10: Gwolb Music Club (Watt, Switzerland)
10/14/10: Topos (Leverkusenger, Germany)
10/15/10: Scheunenuerein (Liebenau, Germany)
10/16/10: Rainbow (Altheim, Germany)
10/22/10: Kulturbastion (Torgau, Germany)
10/23/10: Anker (Leipzig, Germany)
10/27/10: Ship (Bremen, Germany)
10/28/10: Music Star (Norderstedt, Germany)
10/29/10: Wunderbar at Hemingways (Lueneburg, Germany)
10/30/10: Rathaus Garbsen (Garbsen, Germany)

SOURCE: http://www.patriciavonne.com/index.html

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

WINNER UPDATE: Mog Featured in Australian Guitar Magazine

It has been almost one year since Mog, fronted by Daniel Maguire, was named the Session I 2009 winner of the John Lennon Songwriting Contest’s Rock category. Since that time, Mog’s success has shown no signs of slowing. The group, based in Canberra, Australia, describes its songs as “alternative rock, rooted in strong songwriting, with a pop twist,” and audiences around the world are paying attention.

Being a Grand Prize Winner for the song “Kings” in the 2009 JLSC is only one of a long list of accomplishments for Mog. Prior to the JLSC win, Mog had received recognition in a host of different contests, including the Great American Song Contest, the International Songwriting Competition, the Billboard World Song Contest, and the Independent Singer-Songwriter Association Contest. These achievements, in addition to Mog’s placement in the JLSC, acted as a springboard for the band’s long-term career. Not only has Mog released two full-length albums – “Perfect Unreality” and “Nine” – the band’s music has been placed in television shows on MTV, E!, and CBS.

Mog’s latest accomplishment comes in the form of a feature in Australian Guitar Magazine’s August 2010 issue, where the song “Bright White Teeth” will be highlighted. Interested readers should track down a copy in the coming weeks.

SOURCE: http://www.myspace.com/mogdaniel

Monday, July 19, 2010

WINNER UPDATE: Generation Letter to Celebrate Album Release in August

It takes a very talented songwriter to win the John Lennon Songwriting Contest, so it is clear that Generation Letter, a Christian Rock band, has more than enough talent to go around. They were named the Gospel/Inspirational Grand Prize Winners in back-to-back years for their songs “Jesus My Glory” (Session I 2008) and “Glorious” (Session II 2009).

The band, based in Orlando, FL, consists of George Romanacce, John Ripley, Alex Couch, and Stephen Morgan. All four members have a hand in writing each song, ensuring that every composition incorporates several different viewpoints on the given topic and helping the band continue with their goal of producing music that “glorifies the Savior, offers the world biblically sound lyrics and delivers them with unmatched musical creativity.” Their devotion to their craft has earned them recognition across the country; in addition to their success in the JLSC, Generation Letter has won several national talent searches and has been the featured band at various music festivals in Florida.

After working tirelessly to perfect their tracks, Generation Letter released their highly anticipated album, “This is The Story,” in early June 2010. The official release party for the record will take place on August 7th at the Calvary Assembly of God in Winter Park, FL.

If you think your Gospel/Inspirational song could be the next JLSC winner, be sure to enter it into Session II of the 2010 contest.

SOURCE: http://www.generationletter.com/

Friday, July 16, 2010

FINALIST UPDATE: Heather Blush and the Uppercuts to Perform at South Country Fair

Heather Blush and her band, the Uppercuts, have seen much success in 2010. In addition to being named finalists from Session II 2009 in the R&B category of the John Lennon Songwriting Contest for Heather’s song, "I Don’t Believe in Me Anymore," this talented group of musicians have maintained a full touring schedule throughout Canada.

Describing themselves as “a trio of rogue troubadours,” Heather Blush and the Uppercuts have a rapidly growing fan-base that originally began in Calgary, Alberta, where they call home. The band released their debut album, “Vice” in June 2008, which soon attracted attention from the music community. As its title suggests, the album examines different vices that may cause trouble in a person’s life, including alcohol and bad relationship choices. In a follow-up to this ambitious first release, their sophomore album, “Versa,” was released one year later and found its inspiration in lighter topics.

Since their first two albums were released, Heather Blush and the Uppercuts have received many positive reviews from critics. Accordingly, the group was given the opportunity to perform at the 2010 Winter Olympics. Though it would seem that this performance, along with being named an R&B finalist in the JLSC, would be the highlights of the group’s year, Blush and her band have found additional success in other songwriting contests; Heather’s songs “You Take the Cake” and “Pour Another Ounce of Rum in the Eggnog” were chosen as finalists in the Calgary Folk Fest Songwriting Contest and the Great American Song Contest, respectively.

Heather Blush and the Uppercuts have certainly not taken this summer off to kick back their heels and relax. Following a string of performances around Alberta, the band will take the stage again this weekend at the South Country Fair (July 16th-18th) in Fort Macleod. More information about the fair and how to buy tickets can be found here.

SOURCE: http://www.heatherblush.com/home.html

WINNER UPDATE: Kate Rowe Releases New CD and Continues to Tour

Characterized by her distinct sense of humor and strong songwriting capabilities, Australian singer/songwriter Kate Rowe is quickly gaining prominence in the children’s music genre. Kate has been playing music since the age of ten, but only recently began to pursue a career as a songwriter. Before professionally recording music, Kate held positions as a French and English teacher, shop assistant, children’s party fairy, radio presenter, author, and illustrator. Kate’s debut album, “The Simplest of Things” received critical acclaim from local news sources and won the 2007 BluFM89.1 Award for Outstanding Contribution to Country Music. In 2009, Kate embarked on a tour with fellow songwriter Ryan Morison and opened for The Spooky Men’s Chorale.

Kate Rowe received a Lennon award for her children's song “Space Rabbits of Brocklevoons” in the 2009 John Lennon Songwriting Contest. This interactive composition chronicles the arrival of a foreign species of rabbits from a distant planet. Merchandise for this song (t-shirts, etc.) is available on Kate’s website, which also includes songwriting tips and suggestions of authors who are well versed on the subject. Her upcoming album “Nature’s Little Game” includes “Space Rabbits” as well as 10 other original compositions. It is due for a launch on July 30, 2010.

In support of her upcoming album, Kate has begun an active touring schedule. Beginning in Tasmania, on July 7th, the tour ventures all throughout Australia, and ends on the 4th of December.

SOURCE: www.katerowe.com