So here we are at the end of eight long weeks of a creative firestorm, we set out with the hopes of inspiring the creation of new music - and well I think it's safe to say we have well and truly accomplished this amazing feat.
Yes the Songwriters Challenge only started eight weeks ago, but given the journey we have just shared together - I thought I would share some of the behind the scenes story, of how the Songwriters Challenge came into being.
Whilst for our entrants the Challenge started towards the end of November, my first ever Songwriters Challenge top 5 post was written on the first of December - so we were only just at the beginning, of what would become a truly magical event.
So for our entrants this Challenge did only start eight weeks ago, but you may be interested to know how long it took to organise and launch this new wing of Open Mic - Well the first public rumblings were made around four months ago now!
Yep that is when @meno first approached @luzcypher with the idea and when the first post's went up to gauge the communities feelings on the idea, as you all may well know @meno jumped right into action when the idea came to him - @luzcypher was quick to join the fray with his own post to test the waters as it were.
We weren't sure if our little community had enough enthusiastic songwriters to take on the Challenge, well I can now safely say any doubts we had were met with the resounding cry of brilliant musicians - beating down the weekly themes as if there were no Challenge to our requests, the quantity and quality of music being submitted was simply insane.
It was around this time I received my first message from a fairly new entrant in Open Mic, but one that had stolen our hearts with his beautiful music and soothing vocals - I never expected in that moment to be asked to come on board as an Open Mic Songwriters Challenge judge, I was pumped and keen as ever to jump into this new adventure.
Within a day or so we had a judges group chat set up and we all met together to discuss what the plan was going to be, we knew @meno was being a legend and we had the prize sorted - but how would it work each week, how would we structure the Challenge?
Well that's where our discussions and planning really began, we needed to hash out all of the nitty gritty choices and ensure it would be structured in a way that will ensure - high quality, original content, whilst maintaining a fun and welcoming environment to encourage people to share.
That's when we decided to come up with weekly themes, to ensure all entries were brand new - I mean this is a songwriting challenge, we didn't want people just reaching into their existing bag of tricks.
The Challenge was to write 8 new songs in 8 weeks, I can safely say that I think this was our shinning moment - the idea that encouraged participation, but also ensured that those entering had to create a new songs each and every week.
We than had @passion-ground suggest a point system to help rank entrants, the last thing we wanted was someone winning out of nowhere - we wanted you all to know leading up to the end, who would be considered a front runner in the Challenge and I think we managed to do that rather well all things considered.
Well all these plans took us around two months of work to nail out all of the details, come up with branding and try to raise some attention so people would know it was coming - I can say I think we were all pretty excited to get things underway and surly enough once we started there was no looking back.
As I'm sure a few of you may have noticed the way things were done, morphed over time and we were given a better understanding of how best to make things "work" - at times we had to re clarify rules, change our perception of how things should be and accept how they are.
But once we all got into the swing of things, we settled in to enjoy the journey you were all taking us on - despite an occasional panic that we hadn't chosen the next weeks theme yet, we somehow managed to find a rhythm that worked and suddenly the Challenge was transformed from and idea into a reality.
I never thought I would manage to be a part of something like this, I mean Open Mic itself is an insane opportunity and experience - but the Songwriters Challenge became an elite creative and supportive machine, almost exclusive little sub community that just thrived.
I mean the support I witnessed was truly mind blowing, this has been one of the most rewarding things I have ever had the honour of being involved with - all the entrants should be so proud of themselves and it's not just because of the brilliant music they shared and created, but the environment they created and shared with each other.
The comments I saw from entrants on other participants posts was beyond heartwarming, the camaraderie and support was unlike anything I have ever heard or seen of in a contest - you guys were hear to create and share first and foremost, the guitar was like gravy an added bonus you all appeared to bestow upon one another.
I am so proud to be included in this amazing little family we have here, because what I saw and heard was so far beyond just simple polite comments - it was actual tangible support in the most profound way, you shared your own journeys with one another and it really was phenomenal to witness.
There have since been a few more discussions with the judges and I am very happy to announce there is more to come, I don't only mean with future editions of this Challenge - but things we are yet to announce to all of you about this very first and precious Challenge, the wait is almost over people but it's not time to loose your excitement just yet!
In the coming days you will hear another announcement or two, that will make this even more epic than it already is - just know there is more to come, this is only just beginning.
The Best Of Open Mic Songwriters Volume 1:
So besides my personal reflection as a judge on what this Challenge has meant to me, I also wanted to share with you my personal highlights of the first Songwriters Challenge - the entries I love the most, the ones that shinned above all others one week or another and the ones that physically moved me.
There have been so many amazing entries from so many of you, that just choosing one was as always a massive challenge for me - but I will do my best here to share the best of Open Mic Songwriters Challenge has to offer.
But because I can't list all of you, I want you all to know again just how much you all mean to not only this Challenge - but to us as judges, you guys have just blown us away at every single turn and should be so proud of your amazing contributions.
Quick note I am trying to go week by week, but sometimes I will feature extra songs cause it was too damn hard to choose! - also check out the extra links to my reviews of the different entries for a more detailed view.
Well what can I say to our first ever winner of the Songwriters Challenge, he is a phenomenal talent, gracious and humble - and his ability to create original music is of a standard I didn't know existed.
I wouldn't believe too many people would be surprised to learn, that @onetruebrother was our winner this round of the Challenge - his music was everything we wanted and more, each week he just smashed out another hit and it's hard to comprehend the feat he just accomplished.
For the entry I featured above I placed it 3rd in my first Songwriters top 5 post (click the link to see what I had to say about it), I was amazed and truly loved the song - I had no idea at this stage, that this would be the start of an epic moment in time for us all.
Mate you just kept it up week after week, you were always at the top of my lists - I think there was only one week where I slipped you into the honourable mentions, it was with a heavy heart too because this song is just as brilliant as the rest (but we can only pick 5 :( ).
I chose to feature your first entry into the challenge, not only because it was a stand out brilliant entry - but also because it was the first hint of awesome that was yet to come and you did not fail us in any way during the following weeks.
As this is a reflection I felt it was only fair, as your essentially now in a contest with yourself and your own material - to share a couple other favourites from the entrants, that just killed it week after week.
The last song I listed is the shinning example of the support our entrants show one another, the love and compassion being shared is just remarkable - I love to be a part of this type of community, it really was a highlight of the Challenge for me to witness.
I can't say how happy I am that @onetruebrother won the first round, he set a high standard example for all those entering the Challenge - he did it with humble grace and it was an absolute honour, to be amongst the first to hear this amazing treasure trove of music he created for us.
You made me feel hope, despair, heartache, love, compassion, empathy, well the true depth of emotion is hard to narrow down to a few words but you nailed it each week - the skill you displayed was beyond expectation and your efforts demanded to be recognised.
It really was an amazing experience and your a big part of why it was such a resounding success, your humble nature was a breath of fresh air - and the music you created will remain some of the best songs I have ever heard, seriously I need to create myself a playlist.
It's an absolute privilege to be able to congratulate you, as our first and ever so deserving winner of the Songwriters Challenge - you killed it man and have made me an even bigger fan of your music in the process!
Whilst you may not have made my top 5's, you were never far from it almost always appearing in my honourable mentions - I had to do a special shout out to you as you are an extremely gifted musician and songwriter, you were a valuable addition to the Challenge.
You have impressed me in both Open Mic and now the Songwriters Challenge too, it wouldn't feel right to not have included you in this post - as I loved so many of your entries into this challenge.
Thank you for sharing your amazing music with us, it was an absolute pleasure to hear and see - I can't wait to hear what you have for us in the next round!
As I was reviewing all the entries again, I re-stumbled upon this little nugget of gold from week two - I just remember sitting there jaw agape in shock at the brilliance of this song!
I am so damn happy this song exists now, you have no idea how much I love this song - I listen to it all the time and of course that means I'm singing along with it.
It's just one of those entries that came outta no where and left us all stunned, with this level of entry in week two alone - we started to grasp the magnitude of what we had embarked on.
You guys stepped up the already high competition and I can't begin to thank you enough for this phenomenal entry - you really stole my heart with it, it will remain a strong lifelong favourite of mine I am sure.
This was my 1st place pick for week 2 and I think and all around outstanding entry from the Challenge as a whole, you guys need to make me more of this :D lol.
I also really hope you guys can join us again with the next Challenge, even if you just drop us a couple of gems like this again - your music is amazing and truly appreciated.
Another amazing entry from week 2, was from the extremely gifted @lucybanks - from the get go this girl had me hooked in Open Mic and then she just smashed it when she joined in the Songwriters Challenge.
With her unique and creative music always takes you on a journey, with her phenomenal haunting vocals and sublime playing - she really is the complete package, with her own existing catalogue of original music.
I loved this song and many more she has written and strongly suggest people head on over and check her out, I placed this entry 2nd and even re-listening to all the songs - I still get chills when I hear her singing this.
She has been an amazing addition to Open Mic and now Songwriters and I sincerely hope to hear more from her in the future, I am especially keen to hear her more in the next round of the Songwriters Challenge.
This is a shinning example of a brilliant entry, that gave us some absolute gold with their interpretation of that weeks theme - the energy and passion, the lyrics really the whole damn thing were just perfect.
I love this song it captures the story it is portraying, I also love that the chic in the story is the hardcore element - grabbing her shotgun to come to the rescue of her love, just absolutely brilliant entry!
This was a favourite of mine and I placed it 1st in week 3 and I stick by that assessment, it was just perfect and so unique and creative - all I want from a song and more.
Well what can I say about the song that melted me the instant I heard it, just a sublime and unbelievable entry - I really couldn't and still really can't believe the level of entries, we have received over the eight weeks.
She has masterfully crafted the lyrics with delicate care and precision, the melody is on a whole different plain of existence and the way she combined it with the slow at times barely existent piano - was just absolute perfection in every sense of the word.
I love this song and I feel this song, the emotions she conveys are so profound and deep it's hard to find the appropriate words to describe - but I placed this entry 2nd in week 4, so you can go check out my thoughts on it in more depth if you like.
You gave us so many brilliant entries during this Challenge, I truly cannot wait to begin the next round and see what you amaze us with next time.
This is what I mean when I say phenomenal, what other words can describe an entry like this?
I mean really people he made this masterpiece in under a week, cause lets get real here the way this works is you usually get around four days to write and compose the song - then there's that pesky detail of having to record your performance and writing your post, how the hell do they do all of this and have a song like this as the result?
Like I really end up asking a lot of questions, but the sheer skill in this talent pool is epic and beyond compare - I have never found myself so stunned and drawn in to music as I have been with the entries in this Challenge.
I mean we all find a song here and there that we enjoy, how many people get to collect this many favourite songs in just eight weeks - I'll tell you, fuck all or those who are taken in by any old song.
The skill displayed by @luisferchav has been something I've been watching on in awe of, he has just simply smashed it out week after week - always making the top of my lists, this entry placed 1st in week 5 understandably.
I have listed another two entries of yours that just made me love them completely, you really never fail to impress and this is a perfect example of how you just kept stepping things up each week.
You have been a wonderful addition to our family and I hope to see you with us again during the next round of the Songwriters Challenge!
Well mate your a brilliant musician and you killed it every single week of this Challenge, I love your music both that you create with @steembirds and your own independent music.
Your entries are always so polished and finished it shows your clear skill as a songwriter, I love your melodies - your songs are always such a sheer pleasure to hear and I can't help but get into them.
I placed this entry at 4th place in week 5 of the Challenge, let me assure you this is no easy feat at this stage of the Challenge - people were stepping it up at every turn and you didn't fail to impress me even further!
I really hope to hear more from you in the next round of the Songwriters Challenge, your performances always draw me in then your music smashes it out - keep it up :D
Well there just isn't a single thing I would change with this entry, what a bloody brilliant song man seriously you kicked some arse with this baby - even now re-listening I can't help but bop along with the tune, I try to sing but I just end up cackling at different moments and can't keep it going.
With this song you managed to accomplish several major feats in my eyes, you wrote a killer song in under a week, you captured a unique take on the weeks theme, you composed an elegant piece of music that feels compelling, you wrote lyrics that not only tell a story but convey a deeper issue and turmoil within our world.
Basically the long and short of it is, I love this song so much that in week 6 when he submitted it - I not only placed him in 1st position for week 6, I selected him to receive the one and only Golden Mic award that I handed out!
So really what I'm saying here people is listen to the damn song, it's fricken awesome and you won't be disappointed!
Then we had moments of pure elegance, just a poetic and perfect entry that almost takes my breath away - I can just relate to this song on so many levels it amazes me.
This was a real highlight from the fist Challenge for me, a shinning little gem that steals your heart - I was so torn as to which entry of @anniemacleod's to use, as I also love her entry from week 4 where I placed her in 1st.
But I settled for this one which I placed 2nd in week 6, they are both amazing entries and show an amazing source of talent.
Well it's safe to say another one I just loved and can't get enough of, I really hope to see and hear more from you in the future @anniemacleod - and I hope you will join us in the next round of the Songwriters Challenge.
Well if you guys have been watching, it will come of absolutely no surprise that Basil made my list here - what an ever so deserving entrant, such an extraordinary talent and I am 100% a fan!
I just can't get over the range and scope of your ability mate, you blow me away week after week - you have made me laugh and cry on more than one occasion, you have made me feel a connection to music I feared I may had lost.
You have so many amazing songs to just pick one felt like sacrilege, but which one should I highlight above all others - well I figured the one that shows your amazing depth and ability with songwriting, for this entry I placed him 1st for week 7 for obvious reasons.
Well with this one you broke me into about a thousand pieces man, you left me a shattered shell of the person I once was - and I feel like I got to know you on a whole different level, I hope you don't mind me sharing it today.
Another glimpse into the complex being that we know as Basil, man you have made me love every single damn entry you submit - the wide variety and styles of music you bring to the table.
The way you allow the song to be performed the way it is required, shows a commitment most musicians fall short of - you captured my heart and my soul over the past eight weeks and I am ever so grateful you did!
I can't wait to hear more from you over the coming weeks and months, whilst I know you "claim" this was a Challenge, I sincerely hope you will summon your supper natural forces and join us in the next round of the Songwriters Challenge - don't stress were taking a break, but when we come back I may just have to hassle you to enter :D
Now for anyone who hasn't already do yourself a favour and check out the sublimely talented @kayclarity, with her soulful and soothing voice she can render even the coldest heart back to life - this song was simply put a profound tribute to her lost sister.
She left me in tears with this heart wrenching and melodic song, what a stunningly tragically beautifully composed and structured song - it just had to make my list, you have captured every emotion possible and broke my heart in the process.
I went through several thousand tissues when writing my initial review, where this entry placed 3rd in week 8 of the Challenge, you are completely right you are a poet - your talents may never cease to amaze us, but I look forward to all you have to offer us in the next round of the Songwriters Challenge!
Well again this song just moved me so completely I couldn't bare to leave it out, the emotion is unparalleled you have captured this story to complete and utter perfection.
The performance was brilliant, I just adore your voice it is like liquid gold - the passion and emotions you convey are perfect and I just love every single second of it.
You haven't been on steemit too long, but so far you have wowed us both in Open Mic and now also in the Songwriters Challenge - with what I have seen from you so far, I cannot wait to hear what else you have hidden up your sleves.
For this phenomenal entry I placed it in 5th position on week 8 of the Challenge, which lets face it was an insane week where everyone bought their A game.
You haven't faulted in a single entry I have seen, your a brilliant addition to our little family and I so hope you come join us for the next round of the Songwriters Challenge!
Now I should probably stop, but I had to just chuck in a couple of other must have mentions - there really were so many of you that deserved more attention, but this competition is fierce with the quality of submissions.
I know if we could place more of you we would, it is the hardest part of the job - so I just wanted to take a moment to shine a light on some very deserving and talented artists, that also made significant contributions to the Songwriters Challenge .
You guys all shone bright and stood out, I wouldn't feel right with out including some extra tid bits from the Challenge - these entries also stood out to me as all round brilliant songs and entries, from truly talented artists.
Well it appears I you have all inspired me to create another massive post in your honour and I really have to stress that is how it feels to be a part of this, an absolute honour and a privilege to be a part of this community - you have all had the most profound impact on my time as an Open Mic judge, it really has been something else.
I have found a plethora of new artists whose music I truly enjoy, I have watched artists grow and evolve past what they thought they could achieve - I've felt things I didn't know music could make me feel, I've grown to appreciate new forms and styles of music that never caused a draw for me before.
This has been a profound experience and one I will always treasure, I have never found so many songs I just couldn't live without in such a short time before - I don't know what the next round will bring, it has a pretty tough score to beat if it want's to surpass the first edition of the Songwriters Challenge!
You guys could and should all be rich and famous by now, I have no idea what is wrong in the world where such talent goes by unappreciated - you have all won my utmost respect and not just for the amazing skills you all shared, but for the way in which you all interacted with one another.
I have never seen such amazing sense of support and love for music being willing shared between opponents in a competition - I guess our efforts in wording this event as a Challenge served it's main focus, to ensure people knew whilst there is a winner it's not about the prize but the journey.
You guys got it and embraced the atmosphere we were trying to create, your love, respect and generosity over the past 8 weeks, has truly been amazing to watch and behold - you are all amazing people as well as amazingly talented musicians.
You should know just how proud we are of each and every one of you, you made this Challenge into something we never knew it could be - Congratulations to all of you and much love my musical friends, Till we meet again!
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