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Top 5 Best (Legit) Songwriting Competitions (And How to Win Them)

Top 5 Best (Legit) Songwriting Competitions (And How to Win Them)

*This article may contain links to affiliate products & services. We have reviewed these services to try and ensure the highest quality recommendations*

Written by Omari

You hear all about singing talent competitions and how they can change lives and make careers, but what about the best songwriting competitions? Just like songwriters, these competitions seem to be a bit more lowkey. If you didn’t know, there are several songwriting contest available to show off your skills and win the recognition you deserve. Some are specific to a genre while others are open to anyone. 

To get some practice and a feel of how these go, it might be good to start with smaller or more genre specific competitions. Below are some legit songwriting contests for 2021.

In a bid to protect the Gospel message from being watered down or even tainted by worldly influences, Firstfruits Music Awards founder decided to take a stand on the subtle war currently being waged against modern Christian music, hence the motive behind his new initiative. He insists that Firstfruits Music Awards is a platform which will allow the voice of unknown Christian artists to be heard, those that have a genuine love for God, which is clearly demonstrated through the lyrical content of their songs. It’s a fabulous opportunity, offering a level playing field for undiscovered or emerging Christian artists from across the globe. This is because unlike some other well known Christian music awards, Firstfruits Music Awards is open to all Christian artists regardless of whether they've had any chart success.

  • Nigel Swaby, the competition founder, is a former executive producer of awarding winning Christian film/music, plus Crown Awards judge for long established US ICVM Christian film awards.
  • Established as a response to the decline in biblical lyrical content in modern day Christian music.
  • Launched mid July ’22, closes 31st July '23 or upon receipt of 5,000 submissions.
  • Primarily directed towards emerging and undiscovered Christian artists, who produce songs true to God's word.
  • Artists may submit up to 5 songs at £25 each, and with a cap of 5,000 entries worldwide, will have a fantastic opportunity to win £25,000 in cash.
  • £5,000 prize money towards Kingdom focused projects. Church leaders are encouraged to register their interest.
  • General public are invited to score finalist songs with best reviewers winning cash prizes.
  • Supported by a stella panel of high profile international music industry professionals with judges including former TV Idols reality show judge, Capitol Records producer and legendary drummer with credits including 78 gold, 48 platinum and 18 diamond records, plus the host of CBS Turning Point International with over 70m viewers worldwide.

You can also check out their informational video here.

This contest has been around for over 35 years, which is why it is one of the most trusted competitions of its kind. You need to pay an entry fee of $15 per song, but the contest is bi-monthly. You can win a Paul Reed Smith acoustic guitar and a Sennheiser microphone as a winner, and the 10 honorable mentions get printed out. There is 1 grand prize winner every year, who can win a trip to Nashville to record a demo and a “Dream Co-Write” with an already established writer.

When you submit to this contest, your music is reviewed by professionals from many different sides of the industry. They have professors, lyricists, managers, songwriters, performers, and publishing executives on their panel of judges. With low entry fees and you can win prestige as a songwriter if you win this competition. Even if you don’t win, you get a detailed evaluation that can help you improve to get a better shot next time around.

With over $150,000 up for grabs, you also get press and publicity that could absolutely change your life. With huge, evolving set of judges, this panel has been staffed by famous musicians such as B.B. King, Brian Wilson, and Sean “P. Diddy” Combs.

The entries to this contest are to help with the non-profit John Lennon Educational Tour Bus, providing opportunities for students to create. There are over $300,000 worth of cash and prizes to winners with the “Song of the Year” winning $20,000 along with a massive prize package.

Despite being sponsored by Country Music Television, this contest is for songwriters of all genres. Winners can attend the CMT Country Music Awards, earn meetings with major music publishers, and get a one-year membership to NSAI. This yearly competition is a collaboration with some of the biggest businesses and organizations in the industry. Not only offering a cash prize, they award winners with coaching and other once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to improve their craft.


There are a few tips that can help you win these contests.

First of all, you need to be original and memorable. You don’t want your song to sound exactly like Top 40 songs out there right now. It’s easy for beginners to get lost in their musical inspirations and end up copying them. You want to write something that is catchy so you are easily remembered. When reviewing the lyrics, the judges typically want something that is more polished, natural, and meaningful.

You should also remember that just because the competition says that they aren’t going to judge based on the sound quality of your music, that doesn’t mean it won’t play a factor in the song. Make sure that you record the song and edit it to sound as professional as possible.

So get to work! Some of the deadlines may have passed for this year, it takes time to create a competition winning song. Start getting ready for the 2021 competitions!

When your song is ready to go, it's time to start promoting it to potential fans! Omari has the best organic promotion services money can buy. With packages for Spotify, TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube, we will get your music the traffic and attention it deserves! Click below for more information.  


    16 replies to "Top 5 Best (Legit) Songwriting Competitions (And How to Win Them)"

    • Gentle

      Christian songs, to encourage Christians, and to fight against worldly influence.
      Yet to enter it requires €25 for each song.
      Does that sounds like encouragement, like a fight for Christians, or it sounds like business?

    • Russell Alexander

      The latest (9/23) American Songwriter contest costs $100 to enter.

      There is a word for this.

      That word is scam. And if this website doesn’t recognize that, it sure says a lot about the trustworthiness of their reviews.

    • Jay Martin


    • Johnny

      Let me write some music for you. I have done this for several times and i have songs with no lyrics

    • Lawrence D.K. Mann

      Many classic hit songs are about flatulation and flatulence, even though Big Music will deny these claims. A few examples:
      Against the Wind – Bob Seger
      Rip the Night Away · Kottonmouth Kings
      She’s Like the Wind – Patrick Swayze
      Classical Gas – Mannheim Steamroller
      Dust in the Wind – Kansas

    • Christian

      What if your song is about farts? … does it matter as long as it’s really good?

    • Christian

      What if your song is about farting? … does it matter as long as it’s really good?

    • Victoria Foster

      My name is Victoria Foster Kinney jonas turners Jr jonas
      My single is hesitate

    • Pamela Tucker

      I have written and had produced a song…everyone that has heard it says and thinks it great…want to get it heard by professions. Dallas Wayne on Willie’s Roadhouse has heard and thinks not only the words are wonderful but loved the music. How can I get it out?

      Pamela Tucker
      [email protected]
      817 446-7140

    • Deborah

      Have written some song lyrncs told werd.good need someone to look at them

    • Rayco traylor

      The hottest in Minnesota

    • Zia Bellaz

      @Paige They also have a ‘Lyrics Only’ for songs without music.

    • Zia Bellaz

      @Paige They also have a ‘Lyrics Only’ for songs without music and instrumental music submission entry categories.

    • Clorinda Pitter

      Check out this nicely done video about a cowboy with the western feeling. Use headphones! Share if you like!

    • paige

      What if your song doesn’t have music to it?

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