Inspiration alert: What our finalists did next

Tuesday, 02 Aug 2016

So you’re familiar with Kimbra, have worn out your copy of The PreaturesBlue Planet Eyes and seen Husky play a million times, but what about the songwriters who didn’t take out the top prize? To date, the Vanda & Young Songwriting Competition has showcased some phenomenal talent across a variety of genres. Here, we take a look at what some of our runners up and finalists are doing now.

When Meg Mac won second place in the 2014 competition for Roll Up Your Sleeves, she’d just been named the 2014 triple j Unearthed Artist of the Year and her star was starting to rise. She told us she was going to put her $10,000 prize towards some new gear.

“I am going to buy a new keyboard! I have seriously needed one for so long. I will keep it in my room and use it for writing,” she said after winning.

Since then, Roll Up Your Sleeves has featured in the TV show Girls, Meg was nominated for two ARIA Awards, and her track Never Be featured in the top 20 of triple j’s 2016 Hottest 100. Meg’s now touring and recording in the USA.

Best known for his work with Gang of Youths, David Le’aupepe had two songs in the top 50 of the 2014 Vanda & Young Songwriting Competition. He said taking out third place gave his work a real sense of validation. 

“The boost in my confidence was rather drastic,” he said. “I had gone from wallowing in considerable doubt and fear of failure to being somewhat comfortable with what I was doing creatively. I feel like Gang Of Youths was and is in some small capacity doing something relatively interesting in the world of guitar music, in terms of ambitious songwriting, but placing in the contest seemed to me an indisputable confirmation of that.”

Gang of Youths’ 2015 debut album The Positions went on to reach #5 on the ARIA charts and receive five ARIA Award nominations. David was nominated for Breakthrough Songwriter of the Year at the 2016 APRA Awards, and performed Jarryd James’ Song of the Year nominee Do You Remember with Gang of Youths and Montaigne at the event.

One of Australia’s fastest rising talents is 22-year-old songwriter and producer Alex Hope. A finalist in the 2014 Vanda & Young Songwriting Competition with Roberto De Sa for Undone and co-writer on Robert Conley's 2013 second place winner Paper Thin, Alex has worked with artists and writers including Troye Sivan, Tina Arena, Taylor Henderson, Tove Lo, Jack Antonoff, Broods and more. She won Breakthrough Songwriter of the Year at the 2016 APRA Awards.

There’s not much to be said about this Melbourne artist that hasn’t already been said. Crowned Songwriter of the Year at the 2016 APRA Music Awards, Courtney released her debut album Sometimes I Sit And Think And Sometimes I Just Sit to worldwide acclaim in 2015 and cleaned up at the ARIA Awards that same year.

Guess what? Way back in 2013, she was a finalist in the Vanda & Young Songwriting Competition with her track History Eraser.


Ready to see if your song has what it takes? 
The Vanda & Young Songwriting Competition is open to all styles and all songwriters, and entries close 4 August. Don't forget that 100% of your entry fee goes towards the life-changing work of Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy Australia.

Enter now!
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