Aussie and NZ songwriters standout in 2018 Unsigned Only competition

Thursday, 23 Aug 2018

Emerging from a competitive field of 6,000 entries from 95 countries, 20 Australian and New Zealand songwriters have once again made a strong showing in the Unsigned Only competition. Taking First Place honours are Brisbane's Sahara Beck in the Adult Contemporary category for her just released single Here We Go Again, and from NZ's South Island, Kaylee Bell took the top spot in the country category for Getting Closer, a track co-written with Aussies-in-Nashville Morgan Evans and Lindsay Rimes. Second Place in the R&B/Hip-Hop category went to Cairns solo artist Mayah for her track XO Girl

The Nashville-based competition is open to artists who are unsigned to a major record label, and over the years it has become an important source for discovering new talent. Winners were selected by a prestigious panel of judges comprised of celebrity artists and industry excutives, including: Aimee Mann, Grouplove, O.A.R., Frank Foster, David Crowder, Aaron Shust, Jack Ingram, Lydia Loveless, and many more. 

Sahara's bold new single is getting played on triple j, cracked the Spotify Viral chart, and she'll be showcasing at BIGSOUND on 5 September. She also picked up an Honourable Mention for the song in the competition's Vocal Performance category.

Kaylee won the Unsigned Only grand prize in 2015 for her song Pieces, and returns with the irresistibly catchy Getting Closer, which to date has clocked up over 1.5 million streams on Spotify. 

Mayah was finalist in the Soul/Funk/R&BB category at this year's Queensland Music Awards with her captivating track XO Girl.

In addition to these wins, an impressive group of unsigned Aussie and Kiwi songwriters have been awarded Honourable Mentions in varying categories in the competition, including multiple honours for Canberra's MAXO. See below for a complete list. Congrats to all!


First Place 

Sahara Beck (Fortitude Valley, QLD, Australia) – Here We Go Again – AC (Adult Contemporary)

Kaylee Bell (Waimate, New Zealand) - Getting Closer - Country

Second Place

Mayah (Cairns, QLD, Australia) – XO Girl – R&B/Hip-Hop

Honorable Mentions

Carus Thompson (Fremantle, WA, Australia) – Beach Fires – Folk/Singer-Songwriter

Collegians (Melbourne, VIC, Australia) – Vaccine – Rock

Crawford Brothers (Hinton, NSW, Australia) – You And I – Pop/Top 40

Danielle Deckard (Sydney, NSW, Australia) – Happy – Folk/Singer-Songwriter

Georgi Kay (Perth, WA, Australia – Guilty Pleasures – AC (Adult Contemporary)

Hox Loci (Sydney, NSW, Australia) – Wolves – Rock

Little Quirks (Gosford, NSW, Australia) – Crumbled – Americana

Lostsong Project (Cobram, VIC, Australia) – Carry Me – Christian

MAXO (Canberra, ACT, Australia ) – Never Ever – AAA (Adult Album Alternative)

MAXO (Canberra, ACT, Australia ) – Never Ever – Folk/Singer-Songwriter

MAXO (Canberra, ACT, Australia ) – Never Ever – Screen Shot

Mitch King (Gold Coast, QLD, Australia) – Believe – Screen Shot

Miller Yule (Auckland, NZ) – Diamonds – AC (Adult Contemporary)

Nick de la Hoyde (Sydney, NSW, Australia) – Mirror Mirror – Pop/Top 40

Phil Edwards Band (Auckland, NZ) - 6AM - Folk/Singer-Songwriter

Ralway Bell (Perth, WA, Australia ) – Caught In The Crossfire – Americana

Rory Adams (Adelaide, SA, Australia) – All I Ever Do – Teen

Sahara Beck (Fortitude Valley, QLD, Australia) – Here We Go Again – Vocal Performance

This Way North (Melbourne, VIC, Australia) – Head Above Water – AAA (Adult Album Alternative)

Zjal (Adelaide, SA, Australia) – I Got U – R&B/Hip-Hop

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