Husky Gawenda, frontman for Melbourne folk band Husky has taken top spot in the 2014 Vanda and Young Songwriting Competition and has been awarded $50,000, courtesy of APRA AMCOS and music company Alberts, for Husky’s song Saint Joan.
“I’m honoured to win the Vanda and Young Songwriting Competition. That the competition supports Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy, a great cause, makes it particularly rewarding. It is a big thrill for me for Saint Joan to have been chosen from among so many great songs,” said Gawenda upon the news that he had won the largest first prize for any songwriting competition in the world.
The Vanda & Young Songwriting Competition raises funds for Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy Australia, an organisation which helps people with developmental disorders such as Autism Spectrum Disorder, Rett Syndrome and Angelman Syndrome, as well as disabilities such as Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, Dyspraxia and Spina Bifida. The competition has raised almost half a million dollars for the organisation over the past three competitions.
The second place prize of $10,000 was awarded to triple j‘s Unearthed Artist Of The Year Meg Mac for the song Roll Up Your Sleeves. “I am so proud to have Roll Up Your Sleeves a part of this competition and couldn’t be more excited to have it recognised along with some of my favourite songs. It’s also really special that songwriters can come together like this and money can be raised for Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy. Thank you to everyone at APRA AMCOS and the Vanda and Young Songwriting Competition,” said Mac.
With two songs in the final 50, Gang Of Youth‘s David Le’aupepe, was awarded the third prize of AU$5,000 for his band’s song Poison Drum and the competition’s $2000 Encouragement Award, donated by last year’s winners, The Preatures, was won by Sydney’s Andy Bull for his song, Baby I Am Nobody Now. “Thank you to everybody who sat with all these songs and listened,” said Bull. “There’s a good spirit around Vanda and Young and it’s humbling to be recognised within this forum. Thanks also to those talented Preatures for creating the award I received.”
“Folk, pop, soul, rock, electro – our winners this year really showcase the diversity and quality of original music being created in Australia,” APRA AMCOS CEO, Brett Cottle, said. “I’m confident each of these songwriters will make the most of this opportunity and inspire others to keep creating. This year the Vanda & Young Songwriting Competition raised $170,000.00. This is an incredible achievement and I want to thank every songwriter that donated $50 to this cause by entering their song.”
Husky Gawenda now joins previous winners including Isabella Manfredi of The Preatures, as well as Megan Washington and Kimbra. See all the 2014 winners and their tracks below.
2014 Vanda and Young Songwriting winners
1st Place – AU$50,000
Husky Gawenda – Saint Joan
2nd Place – AU$10,000
Meg Mac – Roll Up Your Sleeves
3rd Place – AU$5,000
David Le’aupepe (Gang Of Youths) – Poison Drum
Encouragement Award – AU$2,000 and production package
Andy Bull – Baby I Am Nobody Now