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International Songwriting Competition 2022 Announces Winners

Team Play MPE

May 10, 2023

Big news! Our partners at the International Songwriting Competition (ISC) have announced their winners for 2022! 

A diverse array of talented songwriters from around the world entered the annual competition, and it was the judges’ job to award top honors out of a selection of 15,000 entries from 150 countries! Wow. This year’s impressive panel of judges included Coldplay, The Lumineers, Linkin Park, Tom Waits, Rosanne Cash, NEEDTOBREATHE, Sara Evans, Danilo Perez, ACRAZE, and many more. 

ISC also boasts 24 music categories, including Pop/Top 40, Rock, Folk/Singer-Songwriter, R&B/Soul, Rap/Hip-Hop, Country, Jazz, and more. 

Ondara Takes Grand Prize

Grammy-nominated artist Ondara has won the Grand Prize which includes $25K in cash plus other amazing prizes including a music promotion distribution package from Play MPE worth $4,000. 

When Ondara heard the news he said “I am very humbled and speechless. I don’t really have the right words at this moment, but I am extremely grateful.”

The winning song in question  is “An Alien In Minneapolis,” which is from Ondara’s third album, The Spanish Villager No. 3. The song speaks to his real-life “experience of moving to America and being an outsider in a foreign place”.  

Born in Nairobi, Kenya, Ondara says that growing up he was inspired by Nirvana, Jeff Buckley, and Bob Dylan. Falling in love with music despite his family not being able to afford to buy him a musical instrument in those formative years. Ondara pursued his dream and got his first big break came when a local radio station played one of his songs, from his debut album, Tales of America (Verve Label Group). The album charted on Billboard and was later nominated for Best Americana album at the 62nd Grammy Awards. And this past week, Ondara wins the top prize for ISC 2022! It’s so heartening to see such an amazing trajectory and story of perseverance!  

ISC Founder and Director Candace Avery said of his win, “Ondara’s music is a true reflection of the diversity and richness of the human experience. His ability to convey authentic, complex emotions through his lyrics and music is truly remarkable. We are extremely excited about this artist, and it is such an honor to award the ISC Grand Prize to him.”

In addition to Ondara’s big win, ISC also awards the First, Second and Third Place winners in all of the categories. ISC states that 53% of the winners hail from outside of the US – which speaks to the truly international reach of this beloved songwriting competition. 

More Winners

With that said, Play MPE is also pleased to award the People’s Choice Winner and all First Place Winners in each applicable category + the Special Promotion Winners! 

For a complete list of winners and to listen to the winning songs, head to the ISC website.

Play MPE is pleased to highlight the First Place Winners’ who will also be receiving music promotion distribution packages! 


1ST PLACE – John Dhali (John Dhali)


1ST PLACE – Hattie Oates, Ben Oldland (Hattie Oates)


1ST PLACE – Loren Kate (Loren Kate)


1ST PLACE – John Németh (The Love Light Orchestra)


1ST PLACE – Jon Samson (Jon Samson)


1ST PLACE – Joel Vaughn, Benji Cowart, Michael Farren (Joel Vaughn)


1ST PLACE – Tom Cardy (Tom Cardy)


1ST PLACE – Jake Crawford, Ethan Power (Crawford & Power)


1ST PLACE – August Ramberg, Tudor Davies, Spencer Gilbert (Jewels, Discrete)


1ST PLACE – Dylan Brady, Kyle Clark, Sydney Cubit (Dylan Brady)


1ST PLACE – Scorey (Scorey)


1ST PLACE – Brianna Tam (Brianna Tam)


1ST PLACE – Naïssam Jalal (Naïssam Jalal)


1ST PLACE – Maca Del Pilar, Dani Ride (Maca Del Pilar & Dani Ride)


1ST PLACE – Khristiana Parchman, Darryl Easley, Devin Portis (B.Slade)


1ST PLACE – Charlotte Sands, Danen Reed Rector (Charlotte Sands)


1ST PLACE – Kai Straw (Kai Straw)


1ST PLACE – TJoshua Harmon, Jonas Swanson, Kj Ward, Juice Welch (The Backseat Lovers)


1ST PLACE – Alexandra Carroll (Lexie Carroll)


1ST PLACE – Dylan Brady, Sydney Cubit, Kyle Clark (Dylan Brady)


1ST PLACE – LT, Joel Quartermain, Edwin White (LT)


1ST PLACE – Antonio Castrignanó (Antonio Castrignanó)

PEOPLES’ VOICE – Jazmine T. Bogie (Kingdom All Stars)

Judging Panel

The complete panel of 2022 judges includes:

Recording Artists:  Coldplay; Gloria Estefan; Tom Waits; Joe Hahn (Linkin Park); Jeremiah Fraites (The Lumineers); Brantley Gilbert; Kristian Bush (Sugarland); James Adam Shelley (American Authors); NEEDTOBREATHE; Ian Felice (The Felice Brothers); Lonnie Liston Smith; Sara Evans; Rosanne Cash; Sidewalk Prophets; Steve Lillywhite; Nancy Wilson (Heart); Krewella; Glen Ballard; ACRAZE; Danilo Perez; Above & Beyond; Chayanne; Jack DeJohnette; Tim Rice-Oxley (Keane); Dave Koz; James McNally; Jordan St. Cyr; Gordon Goodwin; Chris August; Ashwin Batish; Carter Burwell; and Nicholas Gunn

Industry Judges: Briony Turner (Co-President, Atlantic Records UK); Bruce Iglauer (Founder/President, Alligator Records); Daniel Glass (President/Founder, Glassnote Records); Richard Stumpf (CEO/Founder, Hawkeye Music Group); Ed Vetri (President, Wind-Up Records); David McTiernan (Senior Director, Artist & Label Relations, Vevo); Will McDonald (VP A&R, Elektra); Greg Johnson (VP of A&R, Columbia Records); Kate Labrel (VP of A&R, Warner Records); Garrett Davis (Director, A&R, Capitol Christian Music Group); Golnar Khosrowshahi (President, Reservoir Media Management); Will Speer (Managing Director, Magic Star Records/Sony); Nate Albert (EVP of A&R, Capitol Records); Kim Buie (VP of A&R, New West Records); Dan Chalmers (Head Of Music, YouTube, EMEA); Christopher Muller (Global Head of Music Partnerships, YouTube); Jacob Edgar (Founder, Cumbancha); Cassidy Murphy (Publishing Coordinator, Glassnote Records); Matt D’Arduini (Sr. VP of A&R /GM, Last Nite Records/Arista Records); Joel Timen (VP of A&R and Publishing, Curb/Word Entertainment); Sarah Wanstall (ARC Music); Justin Prager (Sr. Dir. Music Programming & Curation, VEVO); Cory Robbins (Founder/President, Robbins Entertainment); Julie Kertes (Editor/General Manager, Hot Diggity Media); Jacqueline Post (Head of Publishing, Connection Music Publishing); Ben Kramer (Global Lead, Artist and Label Development, YouTube); Leib Ostrow (Founder/CEO, Music For Little People); Katherine Dines (Advisory Board and Magic Penny Award Chair, Children’s Music Network); Claire S. Green (President, Parents’ Choice Foundation); Benjamin Groff (President, Brill Building Music Publishing); Tamara Conniff (EVP, Roc Nation Music Publishing); Carl Caprioglio (Founder & CEO, Oglio Entertainment); and Elena Epstein (Director, National Parenting Product Awards)

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