Great Lakes Song Contest Raises Grand Prize, Lowers Fee

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Now celebrating its fifth year of operations, the 2008 Great Lakes Songwriting Contest has lowered its entry fee and raised its Grand Prize. Enter by mail or on-line through Sonic Bids. Deadline April 25, 2008.

As the Great Lakes Songwriting Contest celebrates its fifth year of operations, the entry fee has been lowered and the Grand Prize increased.

This year, the Grand Prize will be $2,000 cash, plus tuition, room and board at a music retreat, plus a chance to headline the Winners' Concert in February 2009. And entrants can choose to enter by mail or on-line, thanks to a partnership with indie music promoter Sonic Bids.

The contest is open to songwriters of all ages and all musical styles in the eight states and one Canadian province that border the Great Lakes: Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New York, and the Province of Ontario, Canada. Songwriters give up no rights to their songs as a condition of entering or winning. Eleven winning songs will be chosen in 2008. Entries must be postmarked on or before Friday, April 25, 2008.

"A lot of great music has come out of our part of the world, from Motown to Prairie Home Companion to Chicago Blues and Broadway," says contest spokesman Bill Frank. "It's produced big names like Bob Dylan, Prince, Madonna, the Barenaked Ladies, and Jars of Clay, just to name a few. But some of the best music is written by the locally known, little-known, and unknown songwriters, and that's what we're looking for."

Past winners have included an organic farmer from rural Michigan, a retired Marine Corps captain from Minneapolis, a Chicago novelist, a former child actress, and numerous high-school and college students. Winning songs have ranged from hard-rock instrumentals to jazz, country, folk, R&B, Christian, and various hybrids. For the past several years, the top winners have performed at sold-out crowds at the Winners' Concert series at the Trinity House Theatre in Livonia, MI.

Past judges have included Andrea Stolpe, the hit songwriter, author, and instructor for the Berklee College of Music's on-line songwriting program; Freebo, the singer-songwriter and long-time bass player for Bonnie Raitt; Chicago's Rich Warren, host of the syndicated radio show "The Midnight Special;" Nadir, the MTV host, author and prizewinning songwriter; and Toronto's Jodi Krangle, proprietress of "The Muse's Muse" songwriters' website and electronic newsletter. The 2008 judges will be announced when the winners are announced, in October 2008.

Contest entrants are not forced to pick a particular category for their songs. Each song is judged on its own merits, not by how well it conforms to the conventions of a certain genre of music. Rules, entry forms, and information on last year's winners and judges can be found on the contest website,

The contest is sponsored by Songbridge, the song marketing company based in Ontario, Canada, which provides a weekly pitch sheet to its songwriting members and a free e-newsletter with tips and insights on marketing; Elderly Instruments of Lansing (MI), one of America's largest mail order suppliers of vintage and new stringed instruments; Lamb's Retreat for Songwriters of Royal Oak (MI), which holds songwriting weekends in Northern Michigan; and the CD Seller of Minneapolis, an online company that has created a CD selling tool for independent performers. The contest is organized by The Michigan Songwriters, the Ann Arbor-based cooperative that previously sponsored the Metro Detroit and Michigan Songwriting Contests. The contest has drawn about 500 entries each year since its founding in 2003.


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