Gracie beats three female songwriting talents in London final and 1,000 UK competitors to win the inaugural competition that recognizes songwriting talent.
Gracie beat three other talented finalists - who were selected from twelve live heats held around the country - to battle for the accolade of best UK Unsigned Songwriter of the Year 2016 at a spellbinding final at The Piano Works, London. Gracie Falls writes songs with a natural ease and autobiographical touch. She blends memorable melodies, emotive music and poignant, relatable lyrics.
The three other talented finalists were Emma Hughes, Alexandra Jayne and Emma Ballantine – all deemed by the judges to have a special gift for songwriting.
Emma Ballantine, aged 30, originally from Salisbury, was tipped by Glamour Magazine as 'One to Watch in 2016' and has featured in Q and on BBC Radio 2 and 6 Music.
Emma Hughes, aged 20, originally from Marlow, in Buckinghamshire, is a student studying at King's College, London. Emma’s talent has been recognised by local media and her beautiful song ‘Baby’ was featured on the BBC’s Introducing Beds, Herts and Bucks radio show.
Alexandra Jayne, aged 24, originally from the Shropshire countryside, is a distinctive songwriter with a soulful and powerful voice. Alexandra has been gigging since she was 15 years old and has supported established performers such as James Blunt.
The panel of music industry doyens judging the final included:
Chris Neil - a multi platinum music producer and songwriter, who has produced records for artists including Celine Dion, Rod Stewart, Mike & The Mechanics and Cher
Luc Floreani - an international singer songwriter and manager who has worked with artists including Amy Winehouse, Corrine Bailey Rae, Sam Smith, Blake and Kasabian
The judging panel also comprised Pablo Ettinger from Caffè Nero, Peter Ross representing Yamaha and Martin Sutton, The Songwriting Academy.
As the winning songwriter Gracie Falls received over £6,000 worth of prizes, including a twelve-month mentoring programme with The Songwriting Academy, £1,000 worth of Yamaha musical instruments and the opportunity to have a song recorded in Nashville. Gracie will also tour Caffè Nero stores and have her playlist aired at the coffee house, culminating in a live performance on the Caffè Nero stage at the Cornbury Festival 2017.
Launched by The Songwriting Academy, Caffè Nero and Yamaha, The UK Unsigned Songwriter of the Year competition marks the first time the songwriter is the star, not the singer.
The competition not only seeks to support up and coming songwriters but also raised money for Stand Up to Cancer (standuptocancer.org.uk) and Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy (nordoff-robbins.org.uk).
Martin Sutton, at The Songwriting Academy, which has organized the competition, said: “We are delighted for Gracie Falls. Behind every hit song there are talented songwriters, often unrecognised and unknown to the public. We wanted to put songwriters in the spotlight where they belong as well as support these great charities - we’ve discovered some inspiring talent in the process and are looking forward to working towards an even bigger and better event in 2017.’'
Caffè Nero stores hosted 12 live heats throughout the country in the lead up to the Semi and Grand Finals and it involvement with the new competition forms part of almost 20 years of supporting young artists in music. Paul “Pablo” Ettinger, one of the founding team at Caffè Nero and jazz musician, says: “Music has always been critical to the Caffè Nero experience and supporting grassroots talent is fundamental to our brand values. Passenger and Jack Savoretti are just two examples of musical talent that we were delighted to give early breaks to, by inviting them to perform in and tour our stores nationwide, so we were also thrilled to be involved with The Songwriting Academy’s UK Unsigned Songwriter of the Year Competition”.
Robert Webster, Director of Yamaha’s Pro Music Division, states: “I’m delighted to support the good causes that have benefited from this competition and help as yet undiscovered UK songwriting talent to develop. Access to Yamaha professional instruments and equipment will guarantee the great songs that emerge sound even better and we loved hosting the last semi-final at Yamaha Music London on 18th October!”
The competition has received a groundswell of support from industry luminaries:
“With a changing music industry, new musicians need support now more than ever. “The Unsigned Songwriter of the Year” initiative does that, as well as raising money for two great charities.”
“The Unsigned Songwriter of the Year initiative is brilliant – because not only does it provide a public voice and stage for musical talent but it's also rooted in charitable causes.
"My first coffee house solo tour, back in 2008, was around Caffè Nero stores so I owe the coffee house a great deal in helping my musical career and it's done so much over the years to support creativity in this country. I would urge everyone to go along to watch the heats, the semi finals and Grand Final in London - I have no doubt you’ll discover future hit makers and it will be a great deal of fun too!"
“What an amazing way to raise money for a great cause! Every unsigned songwriter in the country should get writing for this competition.”
“The opportunity to fight cancer and uncover a new, exciting song-writing talent at the same time, is something I am definitely up for. Let’s do it”
Mike Rutherford (Genesis/Mike & The Mechanics)
“Song writing has always been the most important part of the music world – as I’ve always said, an amazing voice is not so special without THE SONG. I feel the music world is starting to remember this again.”
See http://www.ukunsignedsongwriter.co.uk for details on The UK Unsigned Songwriter Competition and Grand Final on Sunday 30th October at Piano Works in Farringdon, London.