We here are USA Songwriting Competition are all saddened to hear the passing of the legendary superstar Michael Jackson. Michael Jackson is known as one of the greatest entertainers that ever lived. However, few people have acknowledge that Michael is also one of the greatest songwriters of his time. Of all the hits he has on the charts, few haev acknowledged that he wrote hits like his trademark songs "Billie Jean", "Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough" and "Beat It".
These are a list of songs that Michael Jackson has writing credits for as a solo artist in his albums:
"Don't Stop 'til You Get Enough"
"Wanna Be Startin' Somethin'"
"The Girl Is Mine"
"The Way You Make Me Feel"
"Another Part of Me"
"I Just Can't Stop Loving You"
"Leave Me Alone"
"Black or White"
"Remember the Time"
"Heal the World"
"In the Closet"
"They Don't Care About Us"
"Stranger in Moscow"
"You Rock My World"
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Thanks to those that have e-mailed us and asked for our other winning songs that have hit the charts. Many that have won were cut by other major artists, placed on film & TV. Here are some of the winning songs that have hit the charts:
Kate Voegele (2005 USA Songwriting Competition 1st Prize winner, Pop category) had her winning song "Only Fooling Myself" peak at #37 on the Billboard AC Charts
Ari Gold (2007 USA Songwriting Competition Overall Grand Prize Winner) has his winning song "Where The Music Takes You" currently peak at #10 (Billboard HOT DANCE/CLUB PLAY Charts). The song hit #1 on Sirius OutQ and #1 video on Logo TV channel.
Aruna Sutra's song "Break You Open" which won first prize in the Pop category in 2004, hit the US Pop charts with a peak at #45 on the R&R® (Radio & Records) CHR/Pop Top 50 chart. R&R, like Billboard, is a national publication which tracks and monitors the most prominent airplay nationwide (CHR stands for Contemporary Hit Radio).
Darryl Zerro (1999, 2000 & 2001 first Prize winner - Dance category, 1999- 1st Prize - Pop, 2000 1st Prize - Latin Category, 2000 Honorable mention award) has his winning song "Let The Joy Rise" cut by Dance diva - Abigail. It hit #1 on the Dance charts and went #9 in the Billboard Dance charts. His winning song in 2000 (First Prize - Latin category) "Chiquita Mi Senorita" was recorded by Top 10 artist - Paulina Rubio. Darryl has won a record 6 awards - five 1st prizes and one honorable mention award in a period of 3 years (1999 to 2001)
Kate Voegele's new album with Interscope Records was released on May 2009 and it hit Top 10 on the Billboard charts on this week of June 15, 2009.
Kate is also an actress on "One Tree Hill". She has appeared on "Good Morning America" and her new single "99 Times" is climbing the Billboard charts and has been receiving heavy airplay throughout United States. Kate Voegele
started her claim to fame by winning first prize in the 2005 USA Songwriting Competition with her song "Only Fooling Myself" in the Pop category. She became the youngest winner at just 18 years old at that time. After winning the USA Songwriting Competition, she went on to perform at USA Songwriting Competition's showcase at SXSW on March 2006 (see picture above
). Her stunning performance and her win lead her to be signed to Interscope records shortly after. Her winning song "Only Fooling Myself" was featured in her debut album with Intercsope records and it peaked at #37 on Billboard Charts (Adult Top 40). Her debut album peaked at #27 on the Billboard 200 Album Charts.
Many USA Songwriting Competition winners in the past have received recording and publishing contracts, have their songs placed on the charts as well as having their songs placed on film and television. 2006 First Prize Winner and 2008 Overall Grand Prize Winner Jordan Zevon was signed to New West Records and appeared on TV program “Late Night With David Letterman”. 2007 Overall Grand Prize Winner Ari Gold had his winning song “Where The Music Takes You” hit #10 on the Billboard Dance Charts. Darrell Scott, winner of the country category of the 2005 USA Song writing Competition had his winning song "Good Ol USA" cut by award winning country singer Faith Hill and the song was renamed “We've Got Nothing But Love to Prove.” Also, Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer (Kensington, MD), winners of the Children's' music category of the 2005 USA Song writing Competition won a Grammy award in the Best Children's music album in the 2006 after winning the USA Songwriting Competition. Judges include A&R managers from record labels such as Warner, Capitol Records, Universal, BMG/SONY Music. For more information on USA Songwriting Competition visit:
Written by Ira Greenfield
This is a follow-up artilce to the one I wrote last month. I have been approached many times by songwriters how to submit their songs and win a songwriting competition. This is what I think that will work best:
1. Catchy Chorus or Hook
Having a catchy melodic chorus or hook that drives home the message always works well in a song. 2007 USA Songwriting Competition top winning song "Where The Music Takes You" by Ari Gold, Joe Hogue "JOJOHO" and Sean Petersen has such an catchy chorus that it not only won the songwriting competition but also hit Top 10 on the Billboard charts. This is a good evidence of a song with a catchy chorus/hook.
2. Good Verse
Writing a good melodic verse starts and keeps the listener involved and wanting to hear more. The 2008 USA Songwriting Competition top winning song "Home" by Jordan Zevon, Jordan Summers & Morty Coyle is an example. The catchy verse keeps the listener curious to listen for the upcoming hook.
3. Short Into or No Intro
Everyone just love long classic intros such as "Stairway To Heaven" and 'Wish You Were Here". However, radio friendly songs today tend to have shorter intros. Also, at a music industry judging level, judges and A&R want to hear the meat of the song. They just do not want to waste any time. The 2007 winning song had no intro, the song starts immediately, no waste of time.
4. Get to Quickly to the Hook
You really need to get to the point quickly. I have been visiting Nashville songwriting scene every year and their rule of thumb is getting to the chorus within 45 seconds for savvy songwriters.
5. Good Lyrics or Storyline
The 2007 runner-up song "The War Was In Color" had such a touching lyric about World War 2 and imagery of the lyrics just jump out from the CD.
6. Unique Idea
Many songs are almost the same. 2008 Winning song in the Folk Category "Snare Drum" by Lucy Wainwright Roche, had lyrics written about someone clapping his hands making "Snare Drums" sounds. Also, there are hit songs that just stand out for being so different: Womanizer and Poker Face. There isn't "I love you, you love me" cliches in songs like these. Using cliches like "You wanna break my heart and now I fall apart" are such cliches in lyric writing that it doesn't show any originality.
7. Good Use of Chord Progression
2008 Top winning song "Home" had Beatles inspired chord progressions with a twist. The 2007 winning song has retro "George Michael/Wham" inspired chords but with a more up to date musical feel as the song goes on.
8. Good Use of Melodic Line
2003 Top winning song "Lighted Up" by Gabriel Mann had a drastic change in the pace of the melodic line that by the time the chorus comes, it stands out and the melodic line slows down in the chorus works well.
9. Short Instrumental interlude in between Verses and Chorus as well as Chorus and Bridge
Long interludes between verses and choruses are frowned upon. There was an entry that was given to me to listen with a 1 minute intro, 1 minute lead guitar interlude between verses and choruses that I had to fast forward. The judges all want you to get to the point quickly, please do not waste their time.
10. Using The Right Instrumentation
If the song is a ballad, vocals and piano or vocals and guitar are sufficient. For a kicking Rock/Alternative song or a Dance/Electronica, a more produced version with bass, keyboards, guitars, vocals may be needed to display the use of the song. However, radio ready or polished production is not necessary. The runner-up of the 1999 Competition "Happy Valentines' Day" by Trina Belamide was recorded simply with just vocals and piano.
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