With July just around the corner, the anticipation of this year’s Maxell Song of the Year award is rapidly increasing. This prestigious prize is accompanied with $20,000 and a catapult into songwriting stardom. The Song of the Year is awarded to the songwriter who best exemplifies prowess in musical composition from any of the contest's categories (Children's, Country, Electronic, Folk, Gospel, Hip Hop, Jazz, Latin, Pop, R & B, Rock, and World). This award encompasses the entire year in songwriting entries, from all around the world.
2009 produced an exciting and diverse list of Lennon Award winners. These talented songwriters have each won $1000 in Mackie, Ampeg or Blackheart products, and 1000 custom CD's printed in full color 6 panel digipaks courtesy of Disc Makers worth $1990. Kate Rowe, the Children's songwriting winner, won the Lennon Award for her song "Space Rabbits of Brocklevoons". From her hometown in the Blue Mountains of NSW, Australia, Kate continues to write music, and play local live shows. Country Lennon Award Winners Debra Gussin and Rik Howard won for their song "Is That You?". Debra owns her own publishing company, "High Flying Hench Music" and is interested in pitching songs to artists, television shows, and working toward a publishing deal. This year's Lennon Award winner in the Electronic category is Sean VanDommelen for his song "Lonely Girl". Sean is signed to Sleepy Pilot Music, and is gathering a strong following in the Tacoma music scene. The notable folk duo Madison Violet received the Lennon Award in Folk music for their song "The Ransom". The band consists of Brenley MacEachern and Lisa MacIsaac, and hails from Toronto, Canada. Their album "No Fool for Trying" earned the duo the 2009 Canadian Folk Award for Best Vocal Group. The recipient of this year’s Gospel Lennon Award is Casey Lee Smith for his song "Never Stood Taller". At only 18 years old, Casey has begun to record his debut album under the production of esteemed recording artist & Grammy nominated Bryan Austin, Gavin MacKillop and Platinum Award Winning mixer & producer Rudy Haeusermann. Ray Clayton's song "Appocolypse" earned him a Lennon Award in the Hip Hop category. Ray's socially aware lyricism is best exemplified on his EP entitled "Rebel With a Cause". James Torme received this year’s Lennon Award for his Jazz composition "A Better Day Will Come". James’ vocal and compositional skills are illustrated in his debut CD "Love for Sale". Peter Torsiello's song Vamo' Ya won this year's Latin Lennon Award. Peter's debut album has earned him an abundance of critical acclaim and has resided on play lists in over 72 major national markets. "The Ladder" by Chicago songwriter Andrew Belle won the Lennon Award for Pop music. Belle's "smart pop" has garnered accolades from various sources, and opportunities to play with notable acts such as Ben Folds. Canadian songwriter/producer Michael Rosso received the Lennon Award for his R & B composition "Be Like You". Michael hopes to continue his efforts in the music business, and aspires to become a professional sound engineer or songwriter. Rock group Carlon's song "Cantaloupe" won the Lennon Award as well. Carlon's roots are in New Jersey, and they are signed to the independent record label Ropeadope Digital. Finally, World music duo Jaffa Road was the recipient of one of this years Lennon awards. Their LP Wulajan is available for purchase on cdbaby.com.
The 2008 Maxell Song of the Year winner, jazz artist Matt Cusson, continues to thrill live audiences and remote listeners. Last July, fellow musician and tour-mate Brian McKnight surprised Matt during one of their shows by announcing that Matt was the Song of the Year award recipient in the 12th annual John Lennon Songwriting Contest for "One of Those Nights." Almost one year later, Matt has pushed forward with his dreams and found all of the success that comes with hard work and determination. He continues to tour with McKnight and plays on The Brian McKnight Show, a program on the CW television network, and it is only a matter of time before his music is noticed by a record label. In the mean-time, his self-titled album is available on iTunes, and a second album is on the way. For more updates on Matt Cusson, visit www.myspace.com/mattcusson.
Remember to sign up for the 2010 Section II John Lennon Songwriting Contest! The deadline is December 15, 2010.