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Becca and Coty of Admiral Radio performing on the LEAF Retreat stage. May 14th, 2024

Admiral Radio wins 10th annual LEAF Songwriter Competition

Admiral Radio — a South Carolina-based husband and wife Americana duo — won this year’s LEAF Songwriter Competition.

Coty Hoover and Becca Smith of Admiral Radio share a palpable connection onstage, and a desire to leave audiences better than they found them. At the LEAF Songwriter Competition, held Saturday, May 11, at LEAF Global Arts Retreat, they offered up sweet harmonies and deftly crafted lyrics that left few if any dry eyes in the room. For their encore song, after they were announced as winners, the couple chose to play off-mic, surrounded by the enthusiastic audience.

“The moment we pulled up to the LEAF Global Arts Retreat, we caught the wave,” Hoover says. “Everyone we passed was at ease. Having known about LEAF for so long, it was nothing short of an honor to be included amongst so many amazing songwriters in the LEAF Songwriting Competition — to win was even more surreal! LEAF is the epitome of community and culture colliding.”

As part of their LEAF Competition win, Admiral Radio advances as one of only eight finalists at the annual, international NewSong Competition, to be held in Asheville in November. Hoover and Smith will also return to the Fall LEAF Festival, held October 17-20, 2024, as featured, paid performers.

Submissions are now open for the The 23rd Annual NewSong Music Competition, presented by Citizen Vinyl. Entries can be uploaded here:

“We can’t wait to head back to Asheville this fall to take part in the NewSong Music Competition and meet some more incredible songwriters sharing their stories with the world,” Hoover says. 

Award-round runners up:

Participating finalists:

Judges for the event, culled from Asheville, N.C.’s music industry professionals, included arts and culture journalist Edwin Arnaudin; tour and band manager and guitar tech André Cholmondeley; and artist manager and consultant Stacy Claude.

“This year’s LEAF Songwriter Competition was the most magical yet,” says Alli Marshall, NewSong Music’s artist communications director. “The song craft caliber was incredibly high. But my favorite part was witnessing the near-instant friendships that developed between the finalists — by the end of the night they were making plans to share shows in each other’s hometowns.”

Genres ran the gamut from folk and Cajun-Americana to indie-pop. Seven finalists and their accompanists traveled from as far as Louisiana’s Vermilion Parish to share their songs.

The LEAF Songwriter 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.