Great American Song Contest

The Great American Song Contest is an international music competition run annually by Songwriters Resource Network since 2000.


The contest[1] runs annually, organised by Songwriters Resource Network,[2] an educational resource for songwriters, lyricists and composers.[3] According to the book 2015 Songwriter's Market[4], the purpose of the contest includes helping songwriters develop their craft, market their songs and learn about songwriting opportunities[5] It judges works from songwriters and lyricists,[6] performance and production quality is not weighted.[7]

It is notable because it is a long running competition[8] run by songwriters for songwriters, composers and lyricists, it is facilitated by high profile industry players and is responsible for discovering, promoting and preserving important works, some examples:

  • It recognised a song which now forms part of the Nelson Mandela Memorial Collection[9] and another that went on to be used in Idols as well as in films,[10]
  • Judging and reviews are by people in the music industry[11] like Pat Pattison, whose students have won Grammys, including John Mayer and Gillian Welch and Robin Frederick, former Director of A&R for Rhino Records, past president of Los Angeles Women In Music and co-founder of the Indie Nation Music Conference.[12]
  • John Stano's This Old Guitar from his Digging Out in the Heartland album that made the finals of “The Great American Song Contest.” charted on a Folk DJ list at #2 out of 100[13]

Importantly, it offers the chance to co-write with top artists that have included Rodney Crowell, Ashley Monroe, Chris Stapleton, Bobby Braddock, Lee Brice and Mary Gauthier.[14]


Entries are limited to 5,000 per contest.

The stated aim is to identify and develop songwriting talent. Each entry receives feedback on the submitted work.[15]

Artists submit work from a number of categories: Pop, Adult Contemporary, Folk/Americana, Singer/Songwriter, Country, Rock/Alt, Special, R&B/Hip Hop, Christian/Inspirational, Instrumental, Lyric Writing.[16]


Cash prizes on offer to winners are modest. Instead, winners are rewarded with memberships, access to CD services, songwriting software and other tools and information that may be useful for developing and marketing works, like a demo recording package[17] and a co-write opportunity.

Grand and First Prize winners are listed on the Great American Song Hall of Fame[16] to promote their songs to record labels, music publishers, producers and music media. The top 5 in each category are awarded an Outstanding Achievement in Songwriting Award.


Judging consists of three rounds:[18]

Level One - All categories are judged by music-industry professionals selected for his or her expertise in specific style categories (Pop, Country, Folk, etc...)

Level Two - 100 songs (top 10 songs in each category) move to Level Two.

  • Five songs from each are selected to receive Outstanding Achievement In Songwriting awards.
  • Top song in each category wins a First Place Award and advances to compete for the Grand Prize.

Level Three - Grand Prize Winner is selected from the First Place category winners


Notably, South African songwriters Kalla Bremer[19] and Don Clarke won the Grand Prize in this competition in 2013 with "The Long Walk is Over/Ode to Nelson Mandela". A copy of the song is stored on CD and is now part of the Nelson Mandela Memorial Collection.[9] Previously, This Is Our Time, a song that won the adult contemporary category became the official graduation song for UCLA Extension and was the debut single for the 2014 winner of Ottawa Idol, Bernice Reyes[20] It was used in the films, like A Sunday Horse.[10]

Grand Prize winnersEdit


Year Artist Work Country
2019 John Cirillo, Sarah Spencer

& Troy Castellano

Lost Amen[21] USA
2018 Ceri Earle & Chelsey Satterlee In His Shirt[22] USA
2017 Ruth Hill Oh, Brother Mine[23] USA
2016 Lisa Bastoni Rabbit Hole[24] USA
2015 J'Chelle Mosaic[25] USA
2014 Kevin Beadles This Might Get Loud[26] USA
2013 Don Clarke & Kalla Bremer Long Walk is Over[27] South Africa
2012 Ed Romanoff, Crit Harmon & Josh Ritter St Vincent de Paul USA
2011 by Johnsmith From his Window[28] USA
2010 Michael McGarrah Dancin' in the Boneyard[29] USA
2009 essence [30]/ Jeffrey Pease Feels like the Future[31] USA
2008 Rachael Sage Hunger in John[32] USA
2007 Marla Lewis & Les Julian Mighty Jackie (The Strikeout Queen)[33] USA
2006 Kathy Hussey The Same Mary[34] USA
2005 Vougeot & Dave Pickell Let it Burn[35] Canada
2004 Jenna Drey & Kevin Churko Impossibility[36] USA
2003 Shawn Vougeot & Dave Pickell Walls of Glass[37] Canada
2002 Jim Bizer We Are All Connected[38] USA
2001 Devon Copley The Wreck of You and Me[39] USA
2000 Patti Witten Change of Heart Church[40] USA

Additional informationEdit

A music competition review rates the competition in the Top 5 Best (Legit) Songwriting Competitions.[41]


  1. ^ Bessler and Schweer, Ian and Michael (2004). Songwriter's Market. F & W Publications Incorporated. p. 347. ISBN 1582972761.
  2. ^ "Songwriters Resource Network". Songwriters Resource Network. Retrieved July 25, 2020.
  3. ^ "Mission Statement". Songwriters Resource Network. Retrieved July 25, 2020.
  4. ^ Inc, VitalSource Technologies. "2015 Songwriter's Market 38th edition | 9781599638423, 9781599638621". VitalSource. Retrieved 2020-08-12. {{cite web}}: |last= has generic name (help)
  5. ^ Duncan, James (October 6, 2014). 2015 Songwriter's Market: Where & How to Market Your Songs. Georgetown, Ontario: Penguin. p. 223. ISBN 9781599638423.
  6. ^ "SONGWRITERS RESOURCE NETWORK". Songwriters Resource Network. Retrieved July 25, 2020.
  7. ^ "Great American Song Contest". Retrieved 2020-08-10.
  8. ^ Bessler, Ian (2008). 2009 Songwriter's Market. F+W Publications. p. 295. ISBN 978-1582975023.
  9. ^ a b "CD 'The Long Walk is Over' , written by Don Clarke & Kalla Bremer and performed by Don Clarke, Calvin Sthembiso & the Guns & Moses Choir - NMF Archive". Retrieved 2020-07-26.
  10. ^ a b A Sunday Horse (2016) - IMDb, retrieved 2020-08-10
  11. ^ "Great American Song Contest". Retrieved 2020-08-10.
  12. ^ "Great American Song Contest". Retrieved 2020-08-10.
  13. ^ Schultz, Blaine (August 11, 2020). "John Stano's Marathon Farm Concert Flexes His Musical Muscles". ShepherdExpress. Retrieved August 11, 2020.
  14. ^ "The ASCAP Resource Guide: Songwriting Competitions". Retrieved 2020-08-10.
  15. ^ "10 Hottest Contests for Songwriters". College Magazine. 22 October 2019. Retrieved 10 August 2020.
  16. ^ a b c "Hall of Fame". Great American Song. Retrieved July 25, 2020.
  17. ^ "Prizes". Great American Song. Retrieved July 25, 2020.
  18. ^ "Great American Song Contest Judges". Retrieved 2020-07-26.
  19. ^ "Kalla Bremer". IMDb. Retrieved 2020-08-10.
  20. ^ "Bernice Reyes 2014 Ottawa Idol Winner". Ottawa Idol. Retrieved 2020-08-10.
  21. ^ "Great American Song Contest Hall Of Fame Winner". Retrieved 2020-07-27.
  22. ^ "Great American Song Contest Hall Of Fame Winner". Retrieved 2020-07-27.
  23. ^ "Great American Song Contest Hall Of Fame Winner". Retrieved 2020-07-27.
  24. ^ "Great American Song Contest Hall Of Fame Winner". Retrieved 2020-07-27.
  25. ^ "Great American Song HALL OF FAME: Winners of the annual Great American Song Contest songwriting competition". Retrieved 2020-07-27.
  26. ^ "GRAND PRIZE WINNER Kevin Beadles". Great American Song Contest. Retrieved July 26, 2020.
  27. ^ eMinor. "THE LONG WALK IS OVER | Pop from Howick, ZN, ZA". ReverbNation. Retrieved 2020-07-27.
  28. ^ "Great American Song HALL OF FAME: Winners of the annual Great American Song Contest songwriting competition". Retrieved 2020-07-27.
  29. ^ eMinor. "Michael McGarrah Songs". ReverbNation. Retrieved 2020-07-27.
  30. ^ "essence – official site". Retrieved 2020-07-27.
  31. ^ "Great American Song HALL OF FAME: Winners of the annual Great American Song Contest songwriting competition". Retrieved 2020-07-27.
  32. ^ "Hall of Fame Artist: Rachael Sage". Retrieved 2020-07-27.
  33. ^ "Hall of Fame Artist: Marla Lewis & Les Julian". Retrieved 2020-07-27.
  34. ^ "Hall of Fame Artist: Kathy Hussey". Retrieved 2020-07-27.
  35. ^ "Hall of Fame Artist: Vougeot & Dave Pickell". Retrieved 2020-07-27.
  36. ^ "Hall of Fame Jenna Drey". Retrieved 2020-07-27.
  37. ^ "Hall of Fame Shawn Vougeot". Retrieved 2020-07-27.
  38. ^ "Hall of Fame Artist: Jim Bizer". Retrieved 2020-07-27.
  39. ^ "Hall of Fame Artist: Devon Copley". Retrieved 2020-07-27.
  40. ^ "Hall of Fame Artist: Patti Wittin". Retrieved 2020-07-27.
  41. ^ "Top 5 Best (Legit) Songwriting Competitions (And How to Win Them)". Retrieved 2020-08-10.

External linksEdit