Alabama songwriters are invited to enter a contest to win a recording session at the FAME studios as part of the Year of Alabama Music campaign sponsored by the state tourism department. The “Songwriters Contest” started last week and continues through July 25 as a component of the Year of Alabama Music campaign. Participants will be able to submit their best new Alabama song and perform it live for a panel of judges. The competition is open to those who were born or live in the state, can write lyrics as well as the music to accompany, and can perform the song for judges or have someone perform the song for them. The song must also be about Alabama or have Alabama mentioned in the lyrics. The contest will be held in the four regions of the state with the selection of semi-finalists from each region taking place in June. The songwriters will perform live with their own acoustic instrument for judges. The semi-finalists will move on to compete at a finale at the Ritz Theatre in Sheffield July 25 during the W.C. Handy Festival and the Alabama Governor’s Conference on Tourism. “We wanted to do something fun and exciting with our Year of Alabama Music campaign,” said director Lee Sentell. “We have a lot of great talent in our state and we want to showcase not only the musicians, but the writers as well. There is someone out there ready to make that big break and we hope that we find them.”
Alabama’s list of great songwriters is extensive and includes Hank Williams who wrote and recorded dozens of hits songs. Hank was noted by many for his genius songwriting abilities. A more recent songwriter, Beth Nielsen Chapman lived in Montgomery and wrote Faith Hill’s hit song “This Kiss.” One of the most famous Christmas songs of all time, Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas, was written by Birmingham’s Hugh Martin. The list continues with greats like Nat King Cole, Wilson Pickett, W.C. Handy, Jimmy Buffett, Mac McAnally, Tammy Wynette, Lionel Richie, Randy Owen, Hank Williams Jr., Charlie Louvin, Toni Tennille and Gary Baker. Music artists George Jones, Alan Jackson, The Back Street Boys, Lonestar, All 4 One, Kenny Chesney, Tim McGraw, Martina McBride, The Osmonds, and hundreds of others have had hit recordings that were written by native Alabamians.
The winner of the “Songwriters Contest” will receive $2,000 and a recording session at FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals and the three runners-up will each receive $500. Participants must be 19 years of age or older at time of entry. The deadline to enter is May 20, 2011. The entry form and contest rules can be downloaded from www.yearofalabamamusic.com/songwriters.