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10 things you need to know about the Vanda & Young Global Songwriting Competition

Tip Published Wednesday 21 December 2022

It’s Vanda & Young Global Song Comp time again! Dust off your keys, tune up your guitar, plug in your mic and get recording!

So, what is the Vanda & Young Global Song Comp? We're glad you asked. Always worth a recap, especially for all you new songwriters around these parts. The Vanda & Young Global Song Comp is a very special worldwide songwriting competition based in Australia and open to songwriters of all genres, at any stage in their career, with all entry fee proceeds going directly to fund the transformative programs of Noro (formerly Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy Australia).

It has some pretty sweet cash prizes too that aim to give songwriters an important career boost and encourage them to keep on creating.

1st place - $50,000 (courtesy APRA AMCOS, Alberts, Sony Music Publishing)
2nd place - $10,000 (courtesy Banki Haddock Fiora)
3rd place - $5,000 (courtesy of Aon)
The AMPAL Emerging Songwriter Prize - $5,000 - for the standout work by an unpublished writer
American Songwriter Spotlight Award – A$1,500 - dedicated award for an international songwriter from outside of Aus or NZ

That's the short version. But here is a bit more context for you. Read, ponder, and then enter your song!

1. Vanda & Young are musical heroes and the competition is named in their honour.
With a legacy that is hard to overstate, Vanda & Young were the songwriting powerhouse duo that created the ‘Australian Sound’ of the 20th century, exporting our local rock and pop acts to a huge global audience. George Young and Harry Vanda met at Villawood Migrant Hostel in Western Sydney in the early 1960s. Their families had fled post-war Europe for a sunnier, more stable way of life. They quickly bonded over their love of music, both were keen guitarists.

Harry Vanda and the late George Young went on to found The Easybeats, one of the first Aussie bands to really crack the international music market. They are responsible for The Easybeats’ classic Friday On My Mind, John Paul Young’s Love is in the Air, Walking in the Rain (spectacularly covered by Grace Jones) and a slew of other hits.

2. Alberts is the music company that created the initiative.

‘The Alberts guitar sound was like a throbbing V8 motor, the sound of the tough migrant suburbs that it emanated from. It was anti-authority, hard-living suburban young Australia at its most confident and exciting. The sound of working class good times.' - Blood + Thunder documentary

Founded in 1885, Alberts is a family-run business that has played a vital role in the evolution of Australia’s media and popular culture since the early days of sheet music, to being the musical home of AC/DC and The Easybeats, and as a respected music rights management company. Read the abridged version of their incredible history. Their charitable involvement with Noro was the impetus to the competition.

To learn more about Alberts and Vanda & Young's story, 'Blood + Thunder: The Sound of Alberts' is a fantastic 2-part documentary series.

3. Cash prizes. Just cash.
The winners do not receive stuff. They receive cash, because what does a songwriter need to fund their hopes, dreams, and the next regional tour or a new laptop? You know it.

4. World's biggest first-place cash prize for a songwriting competition.
$50,000 for first place, true story. It can help you fund the next stage in your career, as it did for 2016 winner Gretta Ray, who went to Nashville to write and record music. International friends, please note this is in Australian dollars.

5. Your song truly makes a difference to Noro Music Therapy.
There are some amazing songwriting competitions out there that we are big fans of, but Vanda & Young is pretty unique in that the full $50 entry fee goes to support Noro's programs. 2021's entry process alone raised $192,000, propelling all-time funds raised to over $1.8million. Thank you, generous, talented songwriters!

6. Anyone, from anywhere, any age can enter.

The competition is open to songwriters from anywhere, doing all kinds of music. There are no boundaries - geographically or musically - when it comes to song entries. A song can be sung in any language, it can be purely instrumental, released or unreleased, or in demo form. In 2021, there were 3,837 song entries from an all-time high of 64 countries. Please note, if you are under 18, you do need a parent's permission to enter.

7. Previous runners up have gone on to play at Coachella

and win the 2022 'Unsigned Only' Music Competition's Grand Prize!

8. Blind judging
Vanda & Young judging is kind of like the blind taste test on The Great British Bake Off. Judges consume, but do not know whose creation it is they are listening to. All songs are given a unique code when submitted and the judges can only view this code and the song title. This means that all entries are anonymous until the final winners are revealed. At no stage will the identity of the applicants involved be revealed to the judges.

9. Speaking of judges...
The judging panel this year are influential artists, producers, media and music industry professionals. Names will be announced soon!

10. Entries are currently closed.
Stay tuned for the next round of the competition.