It’s that time of year again! Please read and forward as appropriate to fellow artists, media, managers etc. Spread the word!
Over the last 4 years, All About The Song, an event specifically designed to showcase local song writing talent, has grown in stature, attracting as partners in the event.
Who Can Enter?
Anyone with at least one person in the PO postcode area who writes their own material and usually performs solo or as a duo / trio acoustically. Acts which use drummers on occasional ‘special’ shows such as album launches are not excluded, but no drum kits are allowed for this event (n.b cahons are permitted). A maximum of three performers will be allowed on stage together – it’s vital that the song is heard and not overshadowed by too much instrumentation. Those who usually perform as full electric bands are not eligible, as our friends at the Wedgewood Rooms have The Wedge Showcase in in August and we do not wish to divide audiences or loyalties. We each do something different which supports local music and that’s why it works.
How Do I Enter?
E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org stating your name or the name you perform under if appropriate. (NB – I do not need the names of any accompanists, just the songwriters please. You can enter under a group name, but I still need the songwriter info as well).
I need a link to a website / MySpace / Facebook/ Soundcloud/Reverbnation etc to verify who you are , your home address with post code, a contact phone number and any unavailability for the following dates for the heats in August at The Cellars at Eastney www.thecellars.co.uk
Heat 1: Mon 12th
Heat 2: Tues 13th
Heat 3: Thurs 15th
All 7.30pm doors and a prompt 8pm start – it is crucial that you bring 5 people along to act as your ‘Audience Judges’ and that they arrive prior to 8pm.
There are a maximum of 18 places available, 6 per Heat. Each artist performs 4 songs. The top 2 artists from each heat go through to the semis, along with the closest runner-up from Heats 1 & 2 and then Heats 3 & 4.
Please note, Semi Finals will be on Tues 20th and Weds 21st at The Cellars and the Final will be at The Cellars this year on Thurs 28th August.
CLOSING DATE FOR ENTRIES WEDS MON 5th AUGUST
Previous judges of the final include Neil Ferris (former head of EMI UK and current manager of opera star Alfie Boe), Kairen Kemp from BBC Introducing:The South, Chesney Hawkes and Squeeze lyricist Chris Difford.
This year we are delighted to announce that, as last year, Ian Sillett, Head of Song-writing at Brighton Institute of Modern Music and Phil Jackson, host of BBC Introducing: The South will be our live judges for the final.
This is a brilliant opportunity to sell yourselves to Phil in particular, who picks the music for BBC Introducing: The South and also recommends which artists he will put forward for national consideration by the main Introducing team.
The opening rounds are judged by Express FM, myself and a representative of The News, along with audience vote (audience does not vote for the person they came with, this isn’t a popularity contest like some showcases!) and also you, the songwriters judging each other. It’s a robust system of voting which really works and is fair. In fact, only twice in the whole of the 3 previous competitions was there a difference of opinion between artists, audience and judges.
For the Winner(s) there will be £150 cash prize sponsored by the Cellars.
The Runner-up will receive £50 cash.
Our sponsor, Nevada Music, provide goody bags for all the finalists.
The Winner will also get to perform at The Kings Theatre in November as part of the Children In Need Gala Night (in 2012, this event drew over 800 people!), as well as being showcased on Express FM. In previous years, the Winner has also been showcased on BBC Introducing, although no commitment can officially be made to do this as the Introducing format is strictly non-competition based.
In addition, there will be a £25 prize for the winner of each of the 4 heats.
Is this just another competition aimed at conning you into bringing a group of mates along to put money in the venue’s till ? No, it most certainly is not. Is the winner picked by local promoters and people with no musical credentials? No, they are not. All we ask, is that you guarantee that you can bring 5 people to act as your part of the judging audience in order to ensure we have a fair cross section of people taking part. We charge them £2 to get in and that is all we receive as a venue towards costs and prizes. All artists will receive free drinks from the bar.
We’re not pretending it’s some kind of ticket into the music business, but we do know that it helps to highlight local talent and gives real industry recognition to Portsmouth songwriters and we happen to think that is worthwhile. It also gives a better platform to solo artists in a world which often concentrates on ‘battle of the bands’ events and forgets that the art of the song is what is at the heart of music. Entered before and weren’t successful? It doesn’t matter, this is a showcase of people’s talents, an opportunity to show you are refining your craft and get feedback from your peers and professionals who have nothing to gain by buttering you up to get you to sell tickets.
What are previous winners up to?
Loz Bridge won in 2009 and is now in Bristol pursuing his career as a songwriter, seeking publishing for his songs – One of our judges this year is currently producing a song which Loz co-wrote. 2010 winner Becky Jerams had her song “La La Love” featured in the trailer for the Mandy Moore film “Love, Wedding, Marriage”. Becky also went on to write with All About The Song judge Chesney Hawkes. 2011 winners The Wide Eyes got a live showcase on BBC Introducing within weeks of winning the All About The Song event, as did 2012 winner Luke Ferre. Four outstanding talents and worthy winners. Also worth mentioning that 2010 Runner-up Dirty Sky Jones was featured on a BBC Introducing Live Lounge as a direct result of having been seen by Kairen Kemp when she judged that year’s final. Other previous finalists have staged successful headline shows at The New Theatre Royal in front of audiences exceeding 200 people.
Express FM will be featuring all the previous winners along with the 2013 winner in a series of special shows later this year!
Made your mind up?
Hopefully, you’ve decided to enter. Please be assured that this isn’t about whether or not you think you can win. It’s about celebrating what’s positive in Portsmouth music and getting the opportunity to see how others perform and enjoy and learn from the experience. We hope you can join us.
Steve and The Cellars Team