Gretta Ray’s ‘Drive’ wins 2016 Vanda & Young Songwriting Competition!

Emma Louise takes second place, Tigertown and Tia P. tie for third

Thursday, 27 Oct 2016

The dream run continues for Melbourne singer/songwriter Gretta Ray (pictured with Tigertown), who has taken out the top prize in the 2016 Vanda & Young Songwriting Competition with Drive.

Courtesy of APRA AMCOS and Alberts, Gretta received A$50,000 - the largest first prize for any songwriting competition in the world – at a special presentation in Sydney today.

To say it’s been a huge year for the 18-year-old would be a massive understatement. Gretta first had the industry buzzing after winning triple j Unearthed High in August, and that buzz is turning into a roar. In-between sitting her VCE exams, Gretta took time out to accept her prize and said she was still getting her head around the win, which she described as “an incredible honour.”

“For any artist this would be an amazing thing in their career. This is not an industry that brings a lot of money to many people. You really have to struggle or get other jobs to support yourself which I will probably have to do too. But this is an incredible privilege. I am about to finish high school and now I have this advantage in supporting my journey. I wanted to take a gap year and just throw myself into the music world. This makes that more possible. This is the job I really want to do and this will help make that dream more real.”

Award-winning Queensland songwriter Emma Louise has claimed second place with Underflow and receives A$10,000 thanks to AMPAL (Australasian Music Publishers Association). Emma Louise, who was nominated for Best Female Artist at the 2013 ARIA Awards, is currently touring Australia in support of her acclaimed second album ‘Supercry’.

“I feel very lucky to have my track Underflow held in such high regard, and will hopefully be able to buy a Rhodes keyboard and mic up my whole house with this award,” she said from the road.

Third place was a tie between Sydney’s Tigertown for Lonely Cities and American songwriter Tia P. for 4 Seats From Beyoncé, with both receiving A$5,000 supplied by AEG Ogden and APRA AMCOS who graciously provided the additional prize in light of the tie.

Tigertown, who have gone from strength-to-strength since participating in an APRA AMCOS SongHubs writing camp in London in 2014, joined Gretta Ray at today’s presentation ahead of a two month European tour.

Chris Collins from Tigertown said, "It's awesome that the Vanda & Young Songwriting Competition highlights and celebrates the core of it all, which is songwriting. So many of our favourite songs were in the list this year so we can't believe we came third! It's very special to us because songwriting is still the most important and exciting part of it all for us." 

Californian hip-hop artist Tia P. was particularly thrilled to become the competition’s first international prizewinner.

"To say that I'm elated, is an understatement. First and foremost, I'm honoured and humbled at the same time that my composition not only came in third place, but more so that I'm the first international recipient of the Vanda & Young Songwriting Competition! It’s been said that music is a universal language, well, I'm a true believer and I'm looking forward to traveling to Australia in the near future in hopes of collaborating with my Aussie brothers and sisters."

Applicants paid an entry fee of $50 per submission with all money raised going directly to Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy Australia.  This year’s competition raised an astounding $196,700 from entries, with another $3,300 generously donated by a former recipient of the prize taking the final amount raised to $200,000 for this very worthy cause.

All winners will also take home a microphone prize pack thanks to Shure.

APRA AMCOS Chief Executive, Brett Cottle, said, “The Vanda & Young Songwriting Competition is a tremendous example of the depth of talent within the songwriting community. Taking out first place from such an outstanding group of finalists is no small feat, and Gretta Ray has proved she has a huge future ahead. APRA AMCOS congratulates Gretta and fellow prize winners Emma Louise, Tigertown and our first international recipient, Tia P. Music brings value to life in so many ways, and we are proud to support the work of Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy through the Vanda & Young Songwriting Competition.”

David Albert added, “We have been long standing supporters of Nordoff-Robbins. What makes this competition so special is that it recognises exceptional songwriting whilst also raising funds for the essential work of this important organisation. Congratulations to the winners and thank you to the many songwriters and partners who supported the competition.”

Gretta Ray joins previous winners of this prestigious competition, Husky Gawenda (2014), Isabella Manfredi (2013), Kimbra Johnson (2011) and Megan Washington (2009).

The complete winners’ details are:

1st Place – A$50,000: Drive
Gretta Ray (Unpublished)

2nd Place – A$10,000: Underflow
Emma Louise (Published by Kobalt Music Services Australia Pty Ltd)

Joint 3rd Place – A$5,000: Lonely Cities
Tigertown (Charlene Collins/Christopher Collins published by Second Pressing Pty Ltd /Thomas Schleiter (BMI) published by These Are Pulse Songs (subpublished by Native Tongue Music Publishing)

Joint 3rd Place – A$5,000: 4 Seats from Beyoncé
Tia P. (Jaraed Deal (ASCAP) published by Romanical Music/Tia Parchman (ASCAP) published by Shirt N Drawlz/Luther Ridley (ASCAP) published by Live It Up Publishing)

Visit for more information including the terms and conditions of the competition and a list of competition judges.

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