from the desk of Cassidy Ann, Citizen Vinyl Staff Producer
NewSong Music’s annual songwriting competition returns this year, with its final showcase at Citizen Vinyl in early December, and artists are submitting work that exposes the emotions that many of us felt during a year in isolation.
“Not only did the pandemic afford performers and songwriters more time to write, but I think that the vulnerability and uncertainty that we’ve all felt during this global crisis has led many artists to create their most relatable and authentic work,” Gar Ragland, NewSong founder and Citizen Vinyl CEO, said.
The NewSong Music Performance & Songwriting Competition is one of North America’s leading showcases of emerging performers and songwriters across an array of genres.
Last year was the first time in NewSong’s 20-year history that it had to cancel the competition, due to Covid-19. It was a similar story that played out across the music industry. Bands abruptly canceled performances. Music festivals were shut down. Theaters and music venues shuttered their doors — some, for good.
But during the year of empty concert halls and blank marquis, many musicians kept writing and producing songs. In some cases, the forced quarantine and slower pace of life allowed for deeper exploration and soul-searching.
“I was able to practice different forms of writing and push myself outside of my comfort zone. It was some good time off for my voice, which never hurts, but it also gave me plenty of time to sing and practice to keep my chops up,” songwriter Jeremy Parsons said.
Parsons was just named NewSong’s early bird finalist for a track he submitted, called “Things to Come.” The Americana tune is true to his Texas roots, and it tells a personal story — about his decision to break away from a cycle of drugs and alcohol.
“I walked that path until it almost killed me, and then with the help of the ones I love the most, I made a shift. I quit drinking because it was destroying me, my friendships, and all I had worked to achieve,” Parsons said. “This is a song for the future and comes with the knowledge that we are in control of our own lives, and we should look forward to that, no matter how rough it gets.”
Parsons says when he opened the email announcing his song was selected out of 500 others, he re-read it four times. It felt like a validation, particularly how much of his personal struggle is reflected in the piece.
“It’s one of my favorite songs I’ve ever written, which makes it being selected even more meaningful,” Parsons said
He, along with seven other finalists, will perform at NewSong’s artist showcase at Citizen Vinyl in December.
The final deadline to submit songs is Oct. 10. Entry details can be found here.