‘Gold Chains’ by Genesis Owusu, co-written with Andrew Klippel, Kieran J Callinan, Michael Di Francesco and Julian Sudek wins $50,000 cash prize.
2nd place $10,000 – ‘Mikey Might’ by Jerome Farah
3rd place $5,000 – ‘Time I Love To Waste’ by MAY-A, co-written with Robby De Sa and Christian Lo Russo
$5,000 AMPAL Emerging Songwriter Prize – ‘Move’ by Baker Boy, co-written with Dallas Woods, James Iheakanwa and Willie Tafa
10 Honourable Mention prizes of $1,000 awarded to runners-up including Amyl and The Sniffers, Yirrmal, Budjerah, ASHWARYA and more.
First place in the 2021 Vanda & Young Global Songwriting Competition goes to Canberra’s Genesis Owusu for the stunning ‘Gold Chains’, co-written with Andrew Klippel, Kieran J Callinan, Michael Di Francesco and Julian Sudek.
Courtesy of APRA AMCOS, Alberts and Sony Music Publishing, Owusu and his collaborators win a $50,000 cash prize, the largest first place prize for any songwriting competition in the world.
The groove-laden single’s lyrics explore the trade-offs that come with music industry fame, with the chorus repeating ‘When it looks so gold, but it feels so cold inside these chains.’
Owusu said the song was “inspired by life, the music industry and the reality of certain situations compared to outside misconceptions of them.”
‘Gold Chains’ made Barack Obama’s annual Favorite Music playlist and Owusu and band performed it for their US late night TV debut on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
Second place and $10,000 courtesy of Banki Haddock Fiora goes to Melbourne artist and songwriter Jerome Farah for the soulful ‘Mikey Might’, a song that addresses racial identity with lyrics 'Way too white to be a black kid, right? / Not enough to live that white kid life, am I ever gonna feel right?'
Farah is a double APRA Music Award-winner for co-writing Kian’s hit ‘Waiting’, but it took him seven years to build the confidence to release ‘Mikey Might’.
“Just want to say thank you to the Vanda & Young Global Songwriting Competition for picking ‘Mikey Might’. Being recognised and appreciated for the art I create is an experience and makes the countless hours and effort feel worth it. Couldn’t feel more grateful!” Farah said.
Third-place winner MAY-A is a songwriter and singer to watch. She takes home $5,000 courtesy of Aon for the indie-pop tune ‘Time I Love to Waste’, co-written with Roberto De Sa and Christian Lo Russo. It’s a song she wrote on the same day as her Honourable Mention winner ‘Apricots’. Both were “inspired by falling in love for the first time in high school with a girl and dealing with a lot of queer discovery,” she said.
“Feeling very blessed to win third place. I didn’t think I was very good so it’s nice to be told otherwise (haha),” MAY-A said.
Last year’s second place winner Baker Boy (Danzal Baker) wowed the judges again, this time with his buoyant single ‘Move’ winning the $5,000 AMPAL Emerging Songwriter Prize, provided by Australasian Music Publishers Association Limited (AMPAL). The unpublished songwriter and artist co-wrote the song with Dallas Woods, James Iheakanwa and Willie Tafa.
For the second year in a row the prize money extended to ten Honourable Mention winners from the Top 40 finalists list. Each receives a runner-up prize of $1,000, courtesy of an anonymous donor wishing to help songwriters during the pandemic. From that list is Budjerah’s collaboration with MAY-A ‘Talk,’ Yirrmal’s soon-to-be-released ‘Shining Light’, Gang of Youth’s ‘unison’, Amyl and The Sniffers’ ‘Guided by Angels’ and more.