June 24, 2014


American Authors, John Hiatt, Tom Waits, Sarah McLachlan, Pat Metheny, Sara Evans, Jon Secada, Bastille, Avicii, Wayne Shorter, Casting Crowns And Many More Join ISC’s Judging Panel

June 23, 2014 – The International Songwriting Competition (ISC) today announced its judging panel for the 2014 competition which is now accepting entries. This year, ISC has expanded on the participation of music industry executives, offering the opportunity for artists to have their music heard by the highest level of decision-makers in the music business. Judges include Presidents and CEOs from Republic, Atlantic, Warner Bros., Elektra, Columbia, Virgin, Sony Music Latin, Mercury, Wind-Up, Tommy Boy, Alligator, S-Curve, and Concord Music Group.

Coupled with additional high-profile industry executives and an notable group of recording artists  ­–­ many of whom are currently dominating the charts – ISC offers the opportunity for artists to have their music heard by the most impressive and elite panel of judges yet.

“This year we decided to invite more record company executives in order to open up more opportunities to songwriters and artists,” states Candace Avery, Founder and Director. “It is so difficult for up-and-coming artists to reach these elusive music executives, so this is an incredible chance for artists to have their music heard by the people who actually make career-changing decisions. We are very excited and honored that so many high-level industry professionals want to participate – this is truly unprecedented in any competition.”

ISC gives away more than $150,000 in cash and prizes (shared among the 68 winners) including an overall Grand Prize consisting of $25,000 (US) cash and $30,000 in prizes. Open to both amateur and professional songwriters, ISC offers 22 categories to enter, representing all genres of popular music. Past winners have included Grammy winners, chart-topping artists, amateur songwriters, and everyone in between, including Bastille; Gotye; Lindsey Stirling; Kimbra; The Band Perry; Andrew Bird; Passenger; Gin Wigmore; Missy Higgins; King Charles; and many more.

2014 ISC judges include:

Recording Artists

Tom Waits; American Authors; Sarah McLachlan; Pat Metheny; Sara Evans; Bastille; Casting Crowns; Avicii; Wayne Shorter; John Hiatt; Keane; DJ Snake; Robben Ford; Danilo Perez; Kenny Wayne Shepherd; Martina McBride; Newsboys; Jon Secada; The Chainsmokers; Jason Isbell; Afro Celt Sound System; London Grammar; Michael W. Smith; Craig Morgan; Gerald Casale (Devo); Jean-Luc Ponty; James Cotton; Taylor Goldsmith (Dawes); Darryl McDaniels (Run D.M.C.); Matt Thiessen (Relient K); Chayanne; J. Holiday; and more to be announced...

Industry Executives

Monte Lipman (Founder and Chairman/CEO, Republic Records); Craig Kallman (Chairman/CEO, Atlantic Records); Dan McCarroll (President, Warner Bros. Records); Jeff Castelaz (President, Elektra Records); Alison Donald (Co-President, Columbia Records UK); Ted Cockle (President, Virgin Records UK); Mike Smith (President, Mercury Records UK); Nir Seroussi (President, Sony Music Latin); Ed Vetri (President, Wind-Up Records); Rosie Lopez (President, Tommy Boy Entertainment); Glen Barros (President, Concord Music Group); Rex Rideout (VP of A&R, Motown Records); Jay Landers (Executive VP of A&R, Verve Music Group); Bryan Stewart (VP of A&R, Curb Records); Jason McArthur (VP of A&R, Provident Label Group / Sony Music Entertainment); Bruce Iglauer (Founder/President, Alligator Records); Angel Carrasco (Sr. VP A&R, Latin America, Sony); Keith Naftaly (Executive VP of A&R, RCA Records); Steve Lillywhite (Producer); Joseph Burney (VP of A&R, RCA Inspiration/Sony Music Entertainment); Richard Stumpf (CEO, Atlas Publishing); Steve Greenberg (CEO, S-Curve Records); Kim Buie (A&R, Thirty Tigers); Albert Schilcher (VP of Music and Music Marketing, MTV International); Gary Briggs (Senior VP of A&R/Producer, New West Records); Lori Teig (VP of Talent, VEVO); Jermaine Hall (Editor-In-Chief, Vibe Magazine); Jamie Masada (Owner, Laugh Factory); Cory Robbins (Founder/President, Robbins Entertainment); Julie Kertes (General Manager, National Parenting Publications Awards, NAPPA); Claire S. Green (President, Parents’ Choice Foundation); Leib Ostrow (Founder/CEO, Music For Little People); Wende Curtis (Owner, Comedy Works); and more to be announced…

Please visit for an entry form or more details.

ISC is sponsored by Lowden Guitars, Berklee College Of Music, Airplay Direct, D’Addario, DiscMakers, Thayers,, The Music Business Registry, Indie Venue Bible, Celebrity Access, Tunecore, Independent Mastering, George Stein, Esq., Songtrust, and Taxi.



Shunzo Ohno Bio - ISC 2013 Grand Prize Winner
May 6, 2014

Born in Gifu, Japan, Shunzo began his musical training at age 13 in his local public school. By age 19, Shunzo was the leading jazz trumpeter in Japan. Working as an accomplished composer and arranger in Japan, Shunzo's career hit high gear when he met the renowned bandleader Art Blakey. He toured with Art Blakey‘s Jazz Messengers throughout the United States and settled in New York City in 1974 at Blakey's suggestion.

The compelling Latin energy in Shunzo's playing can be linked to his tenure with the celebrated Machito and his Afro-Cuban Orchestra. He recorded the Grammy Award-winning album with Machito and His Salsa Big Band (1983), which featured his dazzling solos. 

Shunzo then joined one of his most influential inspirations, master arranger and composer Gil Evans, becoming a key contributor on tours, club dates, and recordings, including the 1988 Grammy Award-winning "Live at Sweet Basil". Shunzo made a total of four recordings with Evans, who remained a lifelong mentor to him. 

Ohno returned to Japan with Super Sounds, a group that included jazz legends Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter and Larry Coryell, broadening his experience. 

In 1988, he was involved in a serious automobile accident in which his teeth and lips were permanently damaged. He remained undeterred by the long recovery process, and strengthened his resolve to find a new approach to his music. He renewed his vision in performances with Wayne Shorter. Later, Shunzo joined Buster Williams (1989). 

Adversity struck Shunzo again in 1996, when he was diagnosed with life threatening 4th stage throat cancer. For three years, he underwent radical surgery & cancer treatments to control the disease and embarked on the difficult road to recovery. His refusal to allow personal struggles and seemingly insurmountable circumstances led Shunzo to create new developments in his art and unique voice.

In the last three years, he has conducted seminars in Singapore and Japan and has been involved with significant joint projects with The Howard University Jazz Ensemble at the Kennedy Center (Washington DC for 2 years), uniting cultures which has been particularly meaningful to Shunzo.

Shunzo wrote and performed for the award winning documentary film for Children’s Rights Organization, "TreShawn". 

He rallied his Grammy-award winning colleagues, John Patitucci, Clarence Penn and more for the benefit concert, "Japan's Recovery with Hope and Courage". This concert received special recognition from the Ambassador of Japan. Shunzo continued efforts to generate hope by returning to Japan's hardest hit communities. Shunzo returned 18 times since visiting the refugee centers, schools and local communities in Northern Japan.

All In One was released in Asia 2012 and released in the United States in 2013, featuring original compositions with high energy and intimate solos. In February, 2014, Shunzo returned to the recording studio with new compositions and live string arrangements. The release will be in April, 2014 in Japan. 

The song “Musashi” was Inspired by a character in Japanese history who lived in the 1500-1600s. He was a writer, painter, and skilled swordsman who was never defeated. He was thought to be a deep thinker with an extreme sense of individuality and strength, and he traveled through the woods and mountains of Japan. Ohno says, "I wrote the song at a time in my life when a sense of courage, like a tidal wave, was what seemed necessary. I was searching for that particular sense of courage, tobe undefeated in the midst of what seemed impossible. I wanted to express that sense of being fearless in the midst of what may seem chaotic and unsupportive. I found in Musashi a pure vision of unique courage. It is my hope others might feel that sense of tenacious determination & courage, in an adventurous way."


A Few Questions about the International Songwriting Competition
October 7, 2011

An interview with ISC's Founder, Candace Avery, appeared on Bandzoogle. To read it, go to:

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