Priscilla Renea Hairston

2018 USA Songwriting Competition deadline looms

Priscilla Renea Hairston

Priscilla Renea Hairston: the winning songwriter of the 2017 USA Songwriting Competition’s overall grand prize

The contest is still accepting entries from around the world, offering a top prize of cash and merch worth $50,000

The enrolment deadline is approaching for the 23rd annual USA Songwriting Competition. Songwriters and composers vie for a chance to win a top prize of $50,000 worth of cash, merchandise and music gear, and hear their winning songs on the radio. Songwriters can enter in 15 different song categories, including pop, rock/alt, folk, R&B, hip-hop, jazz and instrumental.

Priscilla Renea Hairston of Los Angeles won the overall grand prize and first prize in the pop category in last year’s USA Songwriting Competition, with her song Family Tree, which she co-wrote with Boots Ottstad and Ben Burgess. The composition was a touching mid-tempo song based on a true story of her turbulent early life. Although Priscilla is a professional songwriter who signed to Capitol Records in 2009, this was her first win in any songwriting contest.

Last year’s overall second prize went to folk songwriters Hope and Justin Schneir of Camarillo, CA with their song Lay You Down. The third prize went to Aubrey Logan and Lisa Cole Bass of Bellevue, WA with their song Pity Party. This was the fifth consecutive year that all top three winning songs were written by more than one songwriter.

USA Songwriting Competition has been honouring songwriters from all over the world, with winners coming from Australia, Japan, Canada, UK, Germany, Brazil, South Africa, as well as the United States. Past winners have gone on to land recording contracts, have their songs placed in film and TV, and get cuts with major artists.

The 2013 winner American Authors hit No 1 on the Billboard Charts and went double platinum, selling over two million copies of their hit single Best Day of My Life. The 2007 winner, Air Gold, reached the Top 10 with his winning song, just six months after taking home the grand prize. In 2005, the winner of the country category had his song cut by superstar Faith Hill, and the pop category winner was signed by Interscope Records. The 2008 winner appeared on David Letterman’s TV show and landed a record deal.

The deadline to enter this year’s USA Songwriting Competition is 31 May 2018. For more information, visit

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  1. Anthonycash

    I will do my best as a songwriter I’m 53 years old I’ve lost my co-write Crow Ryder in 85 which was my father and I’m on my own now and if you want to hear some of my materials just let me know thank you Anthony cash

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