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Vanda & Young Global Songwriting Competition Top 40 finalists announced!

Media Published Thursday 11 February 2021
A composite image of the Vanda and Young top 40 shortlist including Thelma Plum, Stella Donnelly, Ruel, Gordi and DMA;s
A diverse and exciting group of 40 songs are on the short list for the Vanda & Young Song Competition

The most entries ever raises $203k for Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy Australia

More than half of the Top 40 are unpublished songwriters

Featuring Gordi, DMA'S and Thelma Plum with two songs each and up-and-comers Georgie Fahey, Aya Yves, Ginny Mee and heaps more

Stream the Top 40 playlists on Spotify and Apple Music


Today the 2020 Vanda & Young Global Songwriting Competition Top 40 finalists are announced, featuring established tunesmiths Gordi, DMA’S, and Thelma Plum, each with two songs apiece on the shortlist, to an abundance of ones-to-watch including powerhouse vocalist Georgie Fahey, Canberra’s bold Aya Yves and Melbourne folk-pop artist Ginny Mee.

The competition opened 11 months ago on 10 March and was extended due to the impact of COVID-19 to ensure songwriters had plenty of time to enter – and enter they did, with an all-time record 4,061 entries coming from 46 countries, raising just over A$203,000 for Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy Australia.

More than half of the Top 40 songs were entered by unpublished songwriters, showcasing emerging and undiscovered talent. One of those entrants will follow in the footsteps of Mallrat and Kaiit, the previous winners of the A$5,000 AMPAL Emerging Songwriter Prize.

The competition not only provided songwriters with a platform to share their music with industry tastemakers during the turbulent year, but thanks to an anonymous generous donor, more songwriters will take home cash with additional ten runner-up prizes of A$1,000 going to top 40 finalists.

“In the most challenging year ever for songwriters, it is heartening and not at all surprising that songwriters from around the world generously entered the Vanda & Young Global Songwriting Competition in record numbers. Their entry fees support an incredible cause, and our aim as organisers is to support their creative endeavours and help them get their songs heard and shared with the broader music industry and music fans”, said Dean Ormston, CEO APRA AMCOS.

The 1st place winner will receive a career-changing A$50,000 furnished by APRA AMCOS, Alberts and BMG; 2nd place of A$10,000 courtesy of Banki Haddock Fiora, 3rd place of A$5,000 courtesy of Aon, and the A$5,000 AMPAL Emerging Songwriter Prize furnished by the Australasian Music Publishers Association (AMPAL).

At the heart of the Vanda & Young Global Songwriting Competition is the financial support that songwriters provide with their full A$50 entry fee directly supporting the transformative programs of Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy Australia. In twelve years of the competition’s existence, entrants have contributed over A$1.4 million, making a huge impact on the lives of others with their songs.

Named after the iconic songwriters and founding members of The Easybeats, Harry Vanda and the late George Young, the long-running competition has served as a career springboard to an impressive group of artists: Matt Corby and Dann Hume in 2019 for ‘Miracle Love’, Amy Shark (2018), Gretta Ray (2016), Husky Gawenda (2014), Isabella Manfredi (2013), Kimbra (2011) and one of this year’s top 40 finalists Megan Washington (2009). Previous top finishers have also included Sarah Aarons, Gotye, Meg Mac and Gang of Youths frontman David Le’aupepe.

This year’s judging panel includes including award-winning songwriter Lior, APRA AMCOS Ambassador Dallas Frasca, triple j Unearthed’s Dave Ruby Howe, producer Robert Conley and reps from Amazon Music and Universal Music.

Without further ado, here is the 2020 Vanda & Young Global Songwriting Competition shortlist in alphabetical order: