Home   What's On   Article

Stortford Young Songwriters Competition judging panel headed by UK Eurovision star SuRie





Are you an aspiring young songwriter keen to showcase your talent? If the answer’s ‘yes’, then you’ll definitely want to know about the first Stortford Young Songwriters Competition (SYSC), which opens for registration and entries from Friday March 1.

The SYSC judging panel – which includes singer-songwriter and UK Eurovision star SuRie – is lined up and raring to uncover all that untapped songwriting talent in our community.

The competition is open to all young people in Years 3 to 13 who live in and/or attend schools in Bishop’s Stortford and the surrounding area, including Sawbridgeworth, Stansted Mountfitchet and the villages.

SYSC logo
SYSC logo

You can enter either as a solo artist, as a band or a class year group. All you have to do is get songwriting and register on the competition website at www.stortfordsongwriters.org. Once you’ve registered, you can simply send in your entry by uploading an audio file of your song. Entries close on Friday May 24.

And don’t worry, this isn’t about who’s the best singer, pianist or guitarist. The SYSC judges are on the lookout for the best songs that really connect with people and tell a story or show real emotion.

The judging panel is made up of three musicians who all have strong links to Bishop’s Stortford. SuRie was brought up in Stortford and began writing songs when she was just 12 years old. She has released three albums, one EP and multiple singles, amassing over seven million sales, streams and downloads, and has performed to arena crowds across the world. Her performance in Lisbon’s Altice Arena was broadcast to 180 million worldwide when representing the UK at the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest.

SuRie, who, as Susanna Marie Cork, attended St Joseph’s Roman Catholic Primary School and the Herts and Essex High School, is on the judging panel for the first Stortford Young Songwriters CompetitionPicture: Christopher Bethell
SuRie, who, as Susanna Marie Cork, attended St Joseph’s Roman Catholic Primary School and the Herts and Essex High School, is on the judging panel for the first Stortford Young Songwriters CompetitionPicture: Christopher Bethell

Josie Cowley is an accomplished soprano and acclaimed community choir conductor and has set up two Stortford-based choirs - the Herts and Soul Community Choir and The Harmonaires. She also organises regular choral festivals for both children and adults in the town.

And representing young music-makers is up-and-coming musician and Stortford resident George Newman, who is studying A-level music and A-level music technology at Saffron Walden County High School and is a very talented singer and instrumentalist.

“We know that young people have so much to say and so many things that they are passionate about. We want to see that reflected in the music,” says Josie.

“It will be really exciting listening to the entries and seeing the themes that come up across the different age bands - you’ve nothing to lose by entering, so get inspired and get writing!”

Josie Cowley, above, and George Newman, below, are on the judging panel alongside SuRie
Josie Cowley, above, and George Newman, below, are on the judging panel alongside SuRie

The competition was the idea of George’s mum Claire Newman, a much-loved music and English teacher in the town whose career was dedicated to developing young people’s creativity and musicianship. Sadly, Claire died in December 2022 following her diagnosis with pancreatic cancer in October 2021 and now her family and friends have launched the project in her memory.

The competition is split into three categories: school Years 3-6, Years 7-9 and Years 10-13. Teacher support is permitted and encouraged in the primary school age group.

DeRosa Music Academy, which has branches in Bishop’s Stortford and Saffron Walden, will be offering a term’s scholarship to the winners of each category. Winners will get the unique opportunity to deep-dive into the art of songwriting, guided by De Rosa’s team of professional tutors and musicians, and will also have an opportunity for their song to be recorded in a studio. The winners will be announced in June.

For more information visit www.stortfordsongwriters.org.



This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies - Learn More