Interviews Music Uncategorized

Interview: Claire Hodgson, Industry Development Officer WAM

Words By: Laurent Shervington


What is the WAM ‘Song Of The Year’ contest and what categories are judged?

The WAM Song Of The Year is a songwriting competition and state-wide search for the best new music produced in WA in the previous year. It’s also a great way for emerging WA songwriters to get their music heard and take their careers to the next level.

The comp features 16 categories, covering all genres including Blues / Roots, Country, Electronic, Experimental, Folk, Jazz, Metal / Heavy, Punk / Hardcore, Pop, Rock, Urban / Hip Hop and World, plus extra categories for Schools (14 Years & Under), Schools (15-17), Outstanding Indigenous and Outstanding Regional. So something for everyone really!

Who are some of the most notable winners of the contest in the last few years?

Previous winners have included Methyl Ethel, Kucka, Coin Banks, Mathas, Timothy Nelson, Georgi Kay plus many, many others, who have all received national exposure through the publicity that results from their competition wins. This has then gone a long way to help these artists secure further opportunities such as triple j airplay, management interest, record label and publishing deals as a result of their wins.

What do artists need to do to enter the competition?

It’s easy, simply travel to the WAM website here for all of the competition information and instructions on how to enter online.

What is the competition’s judging process like? How are the judges picked?

All of the judging happens online via the competition’s bespoke online platform. Judges score all tracks out of 20 looking at song aspects such as lyrics, composition, relevancy to the genre and overall appeal, with the top five tracks becoming the nominees and the category winners then going into the Grand Prize pool for their chance to take out the Grand Prize and walk away with a swag load of incredible prizes including $3,000 cash; recording time; the opportunity for a publishing and sync licensing deal; performance opportunities and tons of music goodies!

The list of judges includes over 80 well respected songwriters and industry professionals from Australia and around the globe. Within the judging group there’s a lot of representatives who are genre specialists, so we can make sure that the right ears are critiquing the relevant genres and therefore giving the best quality appraisals of every track they judge!


How many entries are you expecting this year?

We’re expecting close to 1,000! However you can never really know until the competition closes.


What does a win in the competition entail?

As mentioned earlier, the Grand Prize winner will take home a ton of fantastic prizes, but the category winners don’t miss out either and also receive cash and a free day’s worth of studio recording time. Additionally all winners and nominees receive lots of music publicity love from WAM in the lead-up and following the Awards Night on April 9, which is invaluable for any artist.

Finally, in your opinion what makes a good song?

It’s that intangible quality which is difficult to define but you know it as soon as you hear it, because the song moves you. However that said good musicianship and an authentic approach to songwriting always makes a massive difference when creating the ‘Song Of The Year’!