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Sadie Gufstason-Zook: Winner of 2022 NewSong LEAF Showcase

May 17th, 2022


Sadie Gustafson-Zook wins this year’s LEAF Singer-Songwriter Competition and Showcase.

At the event, held Saturday, May 14, at the LEAF Retreat, Gustafson-Zook’s expansive vocal range, unique songwriting, and intricately lilting melodies were on all display. Her songs included the charmingly relatable “Maybe I Don’t Know,” the mesmerizing love song “Lean in More,” and the crowd-pleasing sing-along, “Your Love Makes Me Smile.”

“Performing at the contest was definitely a highlight of the weekend for me,” says Gustafson-Zook. “There was a good crowd assembled for the showcase and they were very attentive and receptive to the music (which always makes performing easier). It felt really nice to be recognized for my songwriting and I’m excited to continue my relationship with the LEAF and NewSong communities!”

The singer-songwriter, who is currently based in Nashville, Tennessee, earned a spot as one of only eight finalists at the annual International NewSong Competition, held in Asheville in the fall. Gustafson-Zook will also return to the Fall LEAF Festival, held October 20-23, 2022, as a featured, paid performer.

Award-round runners up:

Participating finalists:

Judges for the event, culled from Asheville, N.C.’s music industry professionals, included Coppa Stone, Jenny Fares, and Alli Marshall.

“This was a joyful celebration of creative community,” says Marshall. “It was incredibly difficult to choose a winner from this varied and talented collection of artists.”

Genres ran the gamut from indie-pop and soulful folk-rock to Americana and lyrical hip-hop. Seven finalists and their accompanists traveled from as far as Los Angeles to share their songs with a full house of attentive listeners.

“I think the real winners were the audience members who were treated to such a stellar concert,” Marshall continues. “And the musicians themselves quickly bonded, cheering each other on. This didn’t feel like a contest — it felt like family.”

The LEAF Singer-Songwriter Competition is a collaborative effort between NewSong Music and LEAF Community Arts. It aims to identify and recognize exceptional performers and songwriters from across the country.

About NewSong Music

Now in its 21st year, NewSong Music is an independent artist development organization and independent record label. Its mission is to identify and celebrate truly exceptional artists, and to build and support a community of performers and songwriters across all genres of music.

About LEAF Community Arts

LEAF Community Arts is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization with a mission to connect cultures and create community through music and arts. LEAF is comprised of two key cultural arts education programs, LEAF Schools & Streets and LEAF International, as well as two signature events, LEAF Festival and LEAF Downtown.  Attendance at LEAF Festival provides a family-friendly weekend experience infused with music and arts while supporting the long-term vision of the organization. Since 1995, LEAF has served over 200,000+ youth with programs in over 15 community locations and in 10 countries worldwide.  Learn more at