The Alchemy Songwriting Competition is excited to announce that the 2012 judging panel will include Academy Award winning actress Mary Steenburgen. Steenburgen, a Hollywood veteran, is also a singer/songwriter and long-time philanthropist, making her a perfect fit for the role of guest judge. Andy Davis, founder of the Music Empowers Foundation (www.musicempowersfoundation.com ), and Treva Blomquist, an award winning songwriter, will also join Steenburgen as judges.
Blomquist, whose most recent collaboration was a full length CD to accompany International Best Selling Author Jeffrey Deaver’s next book, said she is honored to be a part of the Alchemy Competition. “I attended last year’s showcase and was very impressed by the all the performers. I’m looking forward to hearing this year’s talent!”
In its second year, the competition reaches out to emerging songwriters from all genres and in two age categories: Youth (13-18) and Adult. The top ten songwriters will be invited to perform at a showcase on December 7, where the judges will give feedback and choose the 2012 winner. The grand prize, provided by the Music Empowers Foundation, is a trip to Los Angeles and the opportunity to record the winning song with chart topping producer Tim Pagnotta. Prizes will also be awarded to the top song in each genre and age division.
Last year’s event, featuring American Idol winner Kris Allen as a guest judge, brought in over 300 submissions from all around the globe. Adam Hambrick, an Arkansas native, took away the grand prize, with New York band Days of Old following as the runner up. Sisters Bettina and Philippa Cassar, who came all the way from Malta, Europe to compete in the showcase, took first in the youth category. After returning from his prize winning trip to Los Angeles this spring, Hambrick said, “The trip was amazing. It was awesome to get to work with guys who are doing music at the top level. It totally surpassed any expectations I had… songwriters, you have to enter the Alchemy Competition next year.”
The competition and event are hosted by Blackbird Academy of Arts, a non-profit arts education organization in Conway, AR (www.blackbirdacademy.org ), that works to provide quality arts education and opportunities for both visual and performing arts. The organization, founded in 2009, has since given away over $50,000 in scholarships and served hundreds of students of all ages. Jennie Strange, Blackbird founder and executive director, explained that all of the proceeds from submissions and showcase tickets will go to Blackbird’s scholarship and education programs. “The money raised from the Alchemy last year did amazing things for so many of our students – I hope we can do even more this year.”
Davis, who will be judging the Alchemy competition for the second time this year, said “We’ve been involved with Blackbird for three years now and I remain extremely impressed with how they have continued to provide excellent arts education to a growing number of children in Arkansas. The Music Empowers Foundation is glad to lend support and funding to this year’s Alchemy competition.”
Submissions for the 2012 Alchemy Songwriting Competition are being accepted through November 1, 2012. Guidelines, contest rules, full judges’ bios, and links to last year’s winners can be found at www.thealchemycompetition.org .