The award-winning Al Johnson Performing Songwriter Contest encourages the growth of the art of independent performing singer-songwriters. The genres include Acoustic, Americana, Blues, Celtic, Country, Folk and Pop. Some of our past finalists include Ruthie Foster, Beth Wood, Karen Mal, Grace Pettis, Dave Carter, Louise Mosrie, Betty Soo, Matt Harlan, Butch Claude Morgan, RJ Cowdery, and Tom Faulkner.
2018 Al Johnson Performing Songwriter Contest Information
Entry into the contest is now closed. Notification to the 10 finalists will be made on or before April 16, 2018.
Entrants Will Be Competing For:
- Four $500 cash prizes, including the Michael Terry People’s Choice Award.
- An invitation to perform on the official United Healthcare Singer Songwriter Stage on May 19, 2018 and an additional set on the CityLine Stage May 20, 2018.
- Lodging for May 18 and 19, 2018.
- Festival passes for you and a guest.
- Green Room hospitality during performance time.
- Opportunity of a lifetime to spend a weekend sharing songs with some of the best performing songwriters in the nation and participation in a “spotlight round” with selected winners.
- Three entries per person, One entry = two songs.
- Participants must be at least 18 years old.
- A maximum of 300 entries will be accepted on a first submitted basis.
- A total of ten finalists will be selected and invited to perform on the United Healthcare Singer Songwriter Stage, May 19, 2018 in the contest finals. Notification to the 10 finalists will be made on or before April 16, 2018.
- All finalists must provide their own transportation to Wildflower! (Located in Richardson, TX).
- 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 2015).
- Each song must NOT exceed five (5) minutes.
- Finalist live performances at Wildflower! are limited to one (1) songwriter/vocalist who must perform the songs submitted in the contest. During the performance the vocalist can provide instrumentation or have a single accompanist (with no backup harmony or effects).
- Each finalist must attend the contest finals at Wildflower! on Saturday, May 19, 2018 and be available to play a set in the round on Sunday, May 20, 2018 if selected as one of the winners.
- Prior to the contest, finalists may not appear on any stage at the Festival with any artist(s) booked for the Booked artists may not accompany a finalist during the contest.
- The finalists will be given an opportunity to perform an additional set on the CityLine Stage during the Festival.
- Notification to the 10 finalists will be made on or before April 16, 2018.
- All previous finalists and winners are invited to submit with the exception of the 2016 winners and the 2017 finalists and winners.
- Finalists must attend a meeting on Saturday, May 19, 2018 at 9:30am to learn the order of final performances at the Festival.
Fair Screening Process:
- All entries are subjected to a blind and independent screening by several experienced music promoters, songwriters and educators familiar with original songwriting and performing techniques.
- The screeners come to a consensus by independent voting and select 10 of the entrants 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 of the songs (50%).
2017 Finalists competed on Saturday, May 20 on the UnitedHealthcare Singer Songwriter Stage in the Eisemann Center, and the following winners were announced:
2017 Performing Songwriting Contest Winners
Mike Laureanno – Rhode Island
Emily Scott Robinson – Texas
Tom Meny – Texas
Michael Terry Peoples Choice Award
Heather Mae – Washington, D.C.
Additional 2017 Finalists
Hannah Bethel – Tenessee
Kevin Chambers – Tennessee
Nathan Evans Fox – Texas
Emmeline Miles – Texas
Marilyn Rucker – Texas
Mike P. Ryan – Virginia
To view a history of Singer Songwriter Contest winners click here.