The Mercury Theatre Colchester are delighted to announce the winning entries of their songwriting contest in association with Perfect Pitch. The contest, launched by comedian Tim Minchin, has been part of their ‘Mercury Online’ virtual season and aimed to nurture the music talent of songwriters of any age and experience, and promote excellence in the art of songwriting for musical theatre.
Composers, musicians and songwriters were asked to submit an I Want song – the song that sets out a leading character’s dreams and desires. Hundreds of entries were submitted and have been judged by the Mercury Theatre team and Wendy and Andy Barnes from Perfect Pitch.
Jade North, aged 16 and based in Colchester receives the Voice of the Future award for her entry “Say My Name” inspired by Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, she receives a £250 prize. Nurturing new talent is at the heart of the Mercury and this award spotlights a fresh new voice from the East of England. Jade has been playing guitar and writing songs since age 7 and in 2017 she won the Essex Songwriters of the Year competition. She has also released her own album Bit by Bit and is a talented performer having been part of the junior chorus in three Mercury Theatre pantomimes.
The winning entry, receiving £500 prize money, was sent in by Willy Mukendi, Joseph Riley & Millie Millington whose song “Alone” was inspired by the Covid-19 Lockdown. This new trio decided to work together to create their song from three separate parts of the UK. Willy runs the UK’s largest musical theatre fan Facebook page, MTAS and is currently in the process of writing her third musical. Joseph, whose vocals can be heard on the song is a first year student at Trinity Laban and Millie has been a music educator, practitioner and performer for nearly 30 years.
The joint runners up include Carlo Bosticco & Matt Randall with “My Own Other Half”, Earl Marrows & Sam Norman with “The Greats” and Isla van Tricht & Guy Woolf with “My Turn”, each pair win £150 for their entries.
We have been blown away by the amount of entries we’ve received from a multitude of talented songwriters from all around the UK. It was a tough judging process but the panel were unanimous in their praise for the top five finalists. As the future of British theatre is so uncertain right now, it is more important than ever for organisations like ours to be reaching out to freelance artists and finding new ways to support and collaborate with them. I’m overjoyed with the results and look forward to championing these composers and lyricists in the future.Ryan McBryde, Creative Director, Mercury Theatre
It was a tough decision for us all to agree on a single winner as there were so many great entries submitted, but we all feel “Alone” stood out. Thank you to everyone who took the time to create something new, we could see the care and thought that had gone into the songs. We look forward to the moment when we can all get back in our theatres and share more new songs and musicals with each other.Wendy & Andy Barnes of Perfect Pitch
To find out more about the winners and listen to their entries please head to www.mercurytheatre.co.uk
The Mercury Songwriting Contest has been presented as part of the Mercury’s digital offering, Mercury Online. This programme of work, created in response to the UKs current state of lockdown, has included Monday Masterclasses with a range of industry professionals via Zoom, Mercury Sing-a-longs with West End star Craig Mather on Wednesday evenings, and a Mercury Monologues competition for both adults and young writers. Find out more here.