Al Johnson Performing Songwriter Contest
The 2023 award-winning Al Johnson Performing Songwriter Contest encourages the growth of the art of independent performing 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 finalists include Ruthie Foster, Beth Wood, Karen Mal, Grace Pettis, Dave Carter, Louise Mosrie, BettySoo, Matt Harlan, Nicolette Good, RJ Cowdery, Drew Kennedy, Matthew Thomas and Tom Faulkner.
The live contest finals will take place Saturday, May 20 at 11:30 a.m. on the Singer Songwriter Stage at Wildflower!
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 3, 2023 or the first 200 contestants. Finalist will be notified by April 21, 2023.
- Contestants are required to enter two original songs. (Entries containing only one song, or more than two songs will be disqualified).
- Participants must be at least 18 years old.
- A maximum of 200 contestants will be accepted on a first-submitted basis.
- Recordings submitted must be representative of the artist’s live performance and include only one instrument, one voice (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 cannot be included in 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
- Songs must have been written within the last two (2) years (after December 2020).
- Each song must NOT exceed five (5) minutes.
- As a finalist, you must perform the two (2) songs submitted in the contest. You may choose to perform solo or invite a single accompanist, however the performance can only include one instrument, one voice (the songwriter’s vocal) and no backup harmonies.
- Prior to the contest, finalists may not appear on any stage at the festival with any other artist(s) booked for the festival.
- A total of ten finalists will be selected and invited to perform in the finals at Wildflower! on May 20, 2023, an additional set on the Courtyard Stage, and if selected as a winner a chance to play a set in the round on May 21, 2023 on the Singer Songwriter Stage. Transportation to the Festival is not included.
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 Receive
- Invitation to perform in the live finals on the Singer Songwriter Stage at Wildflower! on May 20, 2023. Finalists must perform the two (2) songs submitted in the contest and performance may only include one instrument, one voice (the songwriter’s vocal) and no backup harmonies.
- Lodging for May 19 and 20 and green room hospitality
- Wildflower! festival passes for you and a guest
- Additional set at Wildflower! festival on the Courtyard Stage
- If selected as a winner, a chance to play a set in the round on May 21 on the Singer Songwriter 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.
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
- Invitation to play a set in the round at Wildflower! on May 21, 2023
** Must be utilized within 12 months after the 2023 Wildflower! Arts & Music Festival has concluded. All rights to music/studio recordings will be that of the First Place winner.
Click here to view a history of contest winners.