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LEAF Songwriter Competition finalists and judges. February 26th, 2024

Announcing the 10th annual LEAF Singer-Songwriter Showcase and Competition

The annual LEAF Singer-Songwriter Showcase and Competition, now in its tenth year, will take place at LEAF Global Arts Retreat, in Black Mountain, N.C., on Saturday, May 11, 2024.

The performance showcase and competition is a collaborative effort between NewSong Music and LEAF Global Arts. It aims to identify and recognize exceptional performers and songwriters from across the country. Eight finalists will be invited to perform, network, and compete at the LEAF Retreat (a more intimate iteration of LEAF’s annual fall festival) in May.

The winner of the LEAF Singer-Songwriter Competition, selected from a panel of music industry judges, will earn a spot as one of only eight finalists at the annual International NewSong Competition, held in Asheville, N.C., in the fall. The winner will also return to the LEAF Global Arts Festival, held October 17-20, 2024, as a featured, paid performer.

Past winners include Jimmie Griffith, Noan Partly, Parker Ainsworth, and Moon Bride.


While the event is a contest, it’s decidedly not a cutthroat competition. Instead, the focus is on building a community among songwriters and sharing the magic of songcraft. “It’s a celebration of one of humanity’s oldest art forms, something that helps us all process and understand the world around us,” says NewSong Music founder Gar Ragland. This is an “opportunity to recognize talented musicians and bring new voices to a bigger stage.”

The deadline for Early Bird submissions is Friday, March 8. One early bird entrant will be selected as a finalist for the LEAF Singer-Songwriter Competition. (All other early bird entries will remain in consideration.) The final deadline to submit entries is Sunday, March 31. Finalists are expected to be announced by Sunday, April 7. 


“NewSong has been an extraordinary LEAF partner, creating the opportunity for many amazing songwriters and singers to perform at LEAF Festival. For many artists, this was their first big step onto a national and international stage, and the teamwork with the organizations creates ease and support. In a nod to history, these artists are walking in the footsteps of historic Black Mountain College moments and LEAF Global artists from over 100 countries.” ~ Jennifer Pickering, LEAF Global Arts Co-Executive Director & Founder

About LEAF Global Arts

LEAF Global Arts is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with a mission to connect cultures and create community through music and arts. LEAF is composed of two key cultural arts education programs, LEAF Schools & Streets and LEAF International, as well as two signature events, LEAF Global Arts Retreat (May) and LEAF Global Arts Festival (October). Since 1995, LEAF has served more than 200,000 youths with programs in more than 15 community locations and in 10 countries worldwide. Learn more at