Last Saturday marked an important event for us here at the National Music Academy, as it was our first time ever our Songwriting Competition! We asked the musicians of Newcastle, young and old, to send us in an original song written by them. They then got the opportunity to perform their original track to a packed audience at Bar Petite. The winner of the competition would receive a term’s free Artist Mentoring here at the National Music Academy, an acoustic recording of their song at Studio 301 in Sydney, and a World Wide release package from Ditto Music; a mammoth first place prize to the sum of almost $3000.
Bar Petite was filled with the sweet sounds of home-grown original music, from a variety of genres and a variety of people. Those who were early enough got the opportunity to see some original songs for NMA manager Finley Roach, whose been recording in a variety of genres since he was a teenager! Entries came in from students and non-students of NMA alike. We had a variety of acoustic ballads that got everyone’s feet tapping and hearts melting. NMA veterans including Ryan Hemsworth, Austin Mackay and Chloe Parker showed their prowess in their vocal and guitar skills with theres original tunes. Other local musos also showed us their acoustic talents with artists including Nicolas Seah also strumming and singing their original songs. _ incorporated a wooden Cajon box, played by himself, with his friend plucking away at the acoustic to give us n energetic acoustic tune that grabbed everyone’s attention.
The electric piano also saw its use in a variety of songs during the evening. Vince Dale tapped away at the ivory’s to give us a jazzy tune that got the patrons of the bar bobbing along to the beat. Emma Masters gave us a beautiful ballad, with her voice sweetly serenading the listeners. NMA superstar Yasmin Ling gave us an emotion brooding song, and alike all her performances, she poured all her heart and soul into the track.
The night also saw the use of a variety of other instruments in use that evening. Nicholas Keonen showed everyone a drawn back and delicate tune with only his electric guitar and his vocals. Sid Berry brought his arsenal of effects pedal and played an original funky reggae tune, particularly utilising his Loop Station to created a multilayered track with guitar, beat boxing and vocal harmonies. Sheree Lambie used a personally crafted backing track to support her soulful and powerful vocals, causing the audience to fall in love with her focus and dedication to the song. The audience was in amazement with Joshua Ingle and his use of electronic music device that he used to created a techno and vocal track. And of course, a songwriter competition wouldn’t be complete without a little bit of Ukulele, with Christina Bennett giving us a lovely Uke tune with vocal harmonies with her friend.
Needless to say, it was a difficult task for our judging panel to choose one song out of a plethora of amazing originals. In order to choose but one winner, they looked at 3 aspects of the original songs presented. They looked at 3 factors: Artistry, Musicality and Performance. Many minutes of deciding later, our judges eventually came with the winner of the night.
Congratulations to Ryan Hemsworth with his original track Escape, which was a standout of the evening due to his powerful vocal, amazing guitar work and lyrics. To celebrate, he gave the audience one last treat for the night, another original.
Thanks to everyone who entered into the competition! We had an amazing time hearing everyone’s original songs, and were blown away with the immense talent on display that evening.
Also, thanks to our friends at Bar Petite for letting us use they venue to showcase our songwriters. Their amazing servicer and food were the cherry on top for the evening.
If you missed out this event, fear not! You can watch our full evening on our Facebook page with the best seat in the house!