Australia dominates at the 2019 International Songwriting Competition as Tones and I wins the $70k Grand Prize

Established in 2002, The International Songwriting Competition (ISC) is the world’s largest international songwriting competition, and in 2019 it received over 18,000 entries from 140 countries.

And this year, the ISC has bestowed its highest honor to Australian artist and songwriter Tones And I for the song “Dance Monkey.” The Grand Prize consists of $25,000 in cash (USD) and almost $45,000 in additional prizes.

In all, more than $150,000 in cash and merchandise is awarded to 71 winners in 23 categories covering all genres of music, with 53 Australian tracks recognised amongst the list – including 3 first place wins, 4 second place wins, 6 third place wins and 44 honourable mentions. Next to the USA, Australia is the country with the most wins in the competition.

“This song has taken the world by storm, and it is undeniable that it has propelled Tones And I to massive superstardom,” said ISC Founder and Director, Candace Avery. “Prior to ‘Dance Monkey,’ Tones And I was an indie artist struggling to get her voice heard. This is such a great example of how just the right song can change an artist’s life and should inspire up-and-coming songwriters to keep on following their dream.”

Australian singer and songwriter Toni Watson (known as Tones And I) grew up in Mornington Peninsula but moved to Byron Bay in 2017 to busk on the streets, where she lived out of her van for the year. In 2019, she made history when she became the first artist to spend 24 weeks at #1 on the ARIA singles charts with her global smash “Dance Monkey,” which she says took her only a little more than 30 minutes to write. Since its release in May 2019, the hit single has reached #1 in 30 countries; amassed more than seven billion streams; became the highest streamed song ever by a female artist on Spotify and the most Shazamed song of all time; and is now the longest ever running #1 song on the Spotify global charts. She made her US television debut in November 2019 on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon (her performance has generated over 80 million views on YouTube to date). The accolades, awards, and universal love of this song have vaulted Tones And I to the global stage. This is quite a remarkable achievement for someone who was busking and living out of a van at the end of 2018, and this young Aussie artist will no doubt continue to make history.

“My life has been a rollercoaster since releasing this song, and to get this recognition is an honour,” said Tones And I. ”I wrote this song on my own and for my friends, and I never imagined it would have become as big as it has. Thank you so much, I’m very proud to have written this song.”

This is big year for Australians, but that’s nothing new at this event. Over the years, Australian winners have included: Amy Shark; Augie March; Birds of Tokyo; Dean Lewis; Eskimo Joe; Flight Facilities; Gang of Youths; Gin Wigmore; Gotye; Guy Sebastian; Kasey Chambers; Kate Miller-Heidke; Kimbra; Matt Corby; Missy Higgins; Ruel; Sarah Blasko; The Living End; Troy Cassar-Daly; Vance Joy; and many, many more.

“It’s hard to imagine that Aussie songwriters can perform better every subsequent year in ISC, but somehow they do. This year they surpassed our expectations, and their skill and artistry is of the very best kind,” said Candace Avery, the Founder and Director of ISC.

ISC is renowned for its panel of iconic judges that includes celebrity artists and high-profile music industry executives. Included are: Coldplay; Kevin Gates; Tom Waits; Cam; American Authors; The Script; Tanya Tucker; Nancy Wilson (Heart); Kristian Bush (Sugarland); Kari Jobe; Danilo Perez; Camila; Krewella; Sidewalk Prophets; Irma Thomas; Lonnie Liston Smith; Above & Beyond; Avery Lipman (Founder/President, Republic Records); Daniel Glass (President, Glassnote Records); Mike Easterlin (Co-President, Elektra Music Group); Bruce Iglauer (Founder/President, Alligator Records); Kate Craig (VP of A&R, Warner Records); Nate Albert (Exec. VP of A&R, Capitol Records); Josh Bailey (Senior VP of A&R, Word Entertainment); and many more.

For a complete list of 2019 winners and to hear the winning songs, go to: https://www.songwritingcompetition.com/winners.

The list of 2019 Australian winners is as follows:

Grand Prize Winnner

“Dance Monkey”- Toni Watson (Tones And I) – Melbourne, VIC, Australia

First Place Winners

“Pink Clouds” – Sam Jonathan McMillan (Sammy J) – Northcote, VIC, Australia – Comedy/Novelty

“Shook” – Takudzwa Maidza, Dan Farber (Tkay Maidza) – Westlakes, SA, Australia – R&B/Hip Hop

“So Caught Up” – Josh Teskey, Sam Teskey, Brendon Love, Liam Gough (The Teskey Brothers) – Warrandyte, VIC, Australia – AAA (Adult Album Alternative)

Second Place Winners

“Better In Blak” – Thelma Plum, Alexander Burnett (Thelma Plum) – Brisbane, QLD, Australia – Folk/Singer-Songwriter

“Crushed” – Sophia Chesworth – Sydney, NSW, Australia – Teen

“Queen Of Hearts” – Sahara Beck, Tony Buchen (Sahara Beck) – Brisbane, QLD, Australia – Unpublished

“Stranger” – Rebecca Sandridge, Oscar Dawson (Bec Sandridge) – Melbourne, VIC, Australia – Unsigned Only

Third Place Winners

“Charles And Jane” – Ivy-Jane Browne – Sydney, NSW, Australia – Pop/Top 40

“Girl Is A Gun” – Sophie Curtis, Robby Desa, Isabella Kearney-Nurse (ASTON) – Glenning Valley, NSW, Australia – Unsigned Only

“Lies” – Mabel Windred-Wornes, Ivy Windred-Wornes (Charm Of Finches) – Melbourne, VIC, Australia – Music Video

“See Another Day” – Simon Rudston-Brown, Melinda Kirwin (Falls) – Sydney, NSW, Australia – Americana

“Thought I Could” – Grace Hughes, Andrew Hopkins (Yorke) – Bangalow, NSW, Australia – Pop/Top 40

“Waiting For A Bus” – Luke Escombe (The Vegetable Plot) – Sydney, NSW, Australia – Children’s Music

Honorable Mentions

“All My Love “ – Max O’Sullivan (MAXO) – Canberra, ACT, Australia – AAA (Adult Album Alternative)

“Anew” – Ryan Henderson, Matthew Carins (Hollow Coves) Brisbane, QLD, Australia – Folk/Singer-Songwriter

“Animals” – Nick de la Hoyde, Joseph de la Hoyde – Sydney, NSW, Australia – Pop/Top 40

“Be You” – Angus Brill Reed – Adelaide, SA, Australia – Teen

“Better Know Better” – William Tom (Tomtom) – Brisbane, QLD, Australia – Rock

“Bleed Sunlight Ft. DLake” – Shane Burgess, DLake – Goulburn, NSW, Australia – EDM (Electronic Dance Music)

“Bring It On” – Glenn Cardier – Sydney, NSW, Australia – AAA (Adult Album Alternative)

“Bumps And Bruises” – Lee Bowman, Paula, Bowman, Julian Sammut (Jetty Road) – Melbourne, VIC, Australia – Country

“Can’t Turn It Off” – Seb Mont Holdinghausen, Janeva, Alex LiRosi (Seb Mont) – St.Kilda, VIC, Australia – Pop/Top 40

“Charles And Jane” – Ivy-Jane Browne – Sydney, NSW, Australia – Unsigned Only

“Chubby Love?” – Ngoc Tuan Hoang (Dave?) – Melbourne, VIC, Australia – Comedy/Novelty

“Crystalline” – Rhia – Melbourne, VIC, Australia – Performance

“Dirty Shane” – Tiimo (Shane Timmo) – Melbourne, VIC, Australia – Lyrics Only

“Girl Is A Gun” – Sophie Curtis, Robby Desa, Isabella Kearney-Nurse (ASTON) – Glenning Valley, NSW, Australia – Pop/Top 40

“Heavy Hearted” – Sam Hales (The Jungle Giants) – Brisbane, QLD, Australia – EDM (Electronic Dance Music)

“Hit Me While I’m Down” – Harry Cleverdon – Young, NSW, Australia – Unpublished

“Hit Me While I’m Down” – Harry Cleverdon – Young, NSW, Australia – Unsigned Only

“Hollywood” – Lily Richardson (CLEWS) – Sydney, NSW, Australia – Rock

“Johnnie, Jim & Jack’d” – Vanessa Selwyn, James Hoppe – Thurgoona, NSW, Australia – Country

“Light It Up“ – Max O’Sullivan (MAXO) – Canberra, ACT, Australia – AC (Adult Contemporary)

“Mr. Potato” – Luke Escombe (The Vegetable Plot) – Sydney, NSW, Australia – Children’s Music

“Oats And Honey” – Takudzwa Maidza, Dan Farber, Autumn Rowe (Tkay Maidza) – Westlakes, SA, Australia – Pop/Top 40

“Overdue” – Matt Cicero, Nic Martin, Rudy Sandapa (Ojikae) – Melbourne, VIC, Australia – R&B/Hip-Hop

“Poison” – Cody Jon – Burraneer Bay, NSW, Australia – Teen

“Queen Of Hearts” – Sahara Beck, Tony Buchen – Brisbane, QLD, Australia – AAA (Adult Album Alternative)

“Queen Of Hearts” – Sahara Beck, Tony Buchen – Brisbane, QLD, Australia – Music Video

“Queen Of Hearts” – Sahara Beck, Tony Buchen – Brisbane, QLD, Australia – Performance

“Rain” – Josh Teskey, Sam Teskey, Liam Gough, Brendon Love (The Teskey Brothers) Warrandyte, VIC, Australia – AAA (Adult Album Alternative)

“Restless One” – Glenn Cardier – Sydney, NSW, Australia – Americana

“Rite Next To U” – Georgie Read (Georgieboiibeatzz ) – Perth, WA, Australia – EDM (Electronic Dance Music)

“Self Love” – Violeta Bozanic – Sydney, NSW, Australia – Teen

“Shades” – Luke Bertoz, Simon Widauer (Tales In Space) – Sydney, NSW, Australia – AC (Adult Contemporary)

“Shades” – Luke Bertoz, Simon Widauer (Tales In Space) – Sydney, NSW, Australia – Unsigned Only

“Short People” – Susi Prendergast, Jude Bridge (The Additives) – Perth, WA, Australia – Comedy/Novelty

“Sick Of Loving You” – Anna Buckingham, Liam Quinn (BOI) – Melbourne, VIC, Australia –   Pop/Top 40

“Stars Like Us” – Elina Godwin, Alexandra Nicholas (Xanza) – Sydney, NSW, Australia – EDM (Electronic Dance Music)

“Stranger” – Rebecca Sandridge, Oscar Dawson (Bec Sandridge) – Melbourne, VIC, Australia – Music Video

“Teach Me About Dying” – Timothy Carroll, Oscar Dawson, Ryan Strathie (HOLY HOLY) – Wollongong, VIC, Australia – Rock

“The Turbulence Of Flatulence” – Mason Clarke – Perth, WA, Australia – Comedy/Novelty

“Treading Water” – Danny Hacket, Elisha Apurado (ELI DAN) ­– Melbourne, VIC, Australia – Music Video

“Trouble In My Head” – Anna Scionti – North Fitzroy, VIC, Australia – Blues

“Up” – Jared Porter, Josh Smith (Citipointe Worship) – Brisbane, QLD, Australia – Christian

“Way Back Down” – Ryan Dobbrick, Stuart Stuart (du0) – Brisbane, QLD, Australia – EDM (Electronic Dance Music)

“Ur A Piece Of Shit” – Ali Barter, Oscar Dawson – Melbourne, VIC, Australia – Music Video

ISC is sponsored by: Arturia; Celebrity Access; Eventric; Fairytale Brownies; Fender; Gig Salad; Lurssen Mastering; Merch Cat; Musicians Institute; MXL Mics; PreSonus; Shubb Capos; Song U; Sweetwater; and TuneCore.

Entries are now open for the 2020 competition. For more information and to enter, go to https://www.songwritingcompetition.com/

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