Al Johnson Performing Songwriter Contest

The 2022 award-winning Al Johnson Performing Songwriter Contest encourages the growth of the art of independent performing singer/songwriters in the genres of Americana, Blues, Celtic, Country, Folk, Rock, Pop, Rap, Jazz, Bluegrass, etc. Judging is based on originality, lyrics, melody, harmonic structure along with other song-craft elements.

Past contest finalist include Ruthie Foster, Beth Wood, Karen Mal, Grace Pettis, Dave Carter, Louise Mosrie, BettySoo, Matt Harlan, Nicolette Good, RJ Cowdery, Drew Kennedy and Tom Faulkner.

How to Enter

  • Complete the online application (please read contest rules before applying)
  • $20 entry fee
  • Two songs required per $20 entry fee
  • Once you have received confirmation of payment, email SSW@cor.gov and attach your two (2) songs in MP3 or MP4 format only.

Deadline to apply is March 4, 2022 or the first 100 contestants. 

Contest Rules

  • Contestants are required to enter two original songs per entry. (Entries containing only one song, or more than two songs will be disqualified).
  • Participants must be at least 18 years old.
  • Recordings submitted must be representative of the artist’s live performance and include only one instrument, the songwriter’s vocal and no backup harmonies.
  • Produced recordings or instrumental only songs are NOT accepted.
  • Co-written songs are accepted; however, only one of the writers may submit an application and perform the song on the recording.
  • Artist’s name, biographical information, or credits CAN NOT be included on the recordings.
  • A submission of the entry certifies that the songwriter has all rights to the songs and that the songs have not been sold or contractually assigned to another entity.
  • Songs that have been previously recorded and released under contract on a label are NOT eligible.
  • Songs must have been written within the last two (2) years (after December 2019).
  • Each song must NOT exceed five (5) minutes.
  • Prior to the live finals, finalists may not appear on any stage at the Festival with any artist(s) booked for the festival, nor may a booked artists accompany a finalist during the contest.
  • All previous finalists and winners are invited to submit.

Fair Screening Process

  •  All entries are subjected to a blind and independent screening by experienced music promoters, performers, songwriters, educators and those familiar with original songwriting and performing techniques.
  • The screeners score and rank entries independently and the top ten finalists are selected based on those scores and ranks to compete at the Festival.
  • The contest is a performing songwriting contest. The entries will be judged based on the quality of the songs (50%) and the artist’s presentation/performance of the songs (50%).

Top Ten Finalists Recieve

  • Invitation to perform in the live finals on the Singer Songwriter Stage at Wildflower! on May 21, 2022. Finalists must perform the two (2) songs submitted in the contest and may perform solo or invite a single accompanist (with no backup harmony or effects)
  • Lodging for May 20 and 21, 2022
  • Wildflower! festival passes for you and a guest
  • Green Room hospitality during performance time
  • Additional set at Wildflower! on the Courtyard Stage
  • Opportunity of a lifetime to spend a weekend sharing songs with some of the best performing songwriters in the nation and if selected as a winner, participation in the Winner’s Showcase with the other selected winners.

Finalist will be notified by April 22, 2022.

Prize Package(s) Include

    • First Place: $1,000 cash and 2-day recording package at Audio Dallas Recording Studio. **
    • Runner-Up: $500 cash
    • People’s Choice Award: $500 cash People’s Choice Award
    • Invitation to play a set in the round at Wildflower! on May 22, 2022

    ** Must be utilized within 12 months after the 2022 Wildflower! Arts & Music Festival has concluded. All rights to music/studio recordings will be that of the First Place winner.

    Audio Dallas Recording Studio

    Click here to view a history of contest winners.