American Songwriter 2022 Song Contest Top 25 Finalists Announced

American Songwriter is excited to announce the official 2022 Song Contest Top 25 Finalists. Congrats to all of these talented artists & songwriters listed below for this incredible accomplishment.

All of these songs are currently being reviewed by our official judge panel and we hope to announce the overall winners as soon as we can. In the meantime, enjoy listening to these amazing songs. 

Please Note: Top 25 are sorted alphabetically by Song Title.

"8 billion people" By Kiran and Nivi Saishankar, supperclub

"American Spirits" By Austin Sawyer

"Changing Lanes" By Nina Lee, Ethan Mentzer

"Driving Home To You" By Kaston Guffey

"Ghost" By Jolie (pka L.i.E) Waterhouse

"Got Away With It" By Eliza Harrison Smith

"HOLD ME" By Skylar Demarino, Marky Styles

"I Promise You" By Stephen Sylvester, Todd Sylvester

"La La La Boom Boom Boom" By Nancy Bolen, Steven Patrick Bolen

"May Flowers" By Charlie Brennan, Theo Kandel

"Memories Make Us" By Hayden Cain, Eric Dodd, Moriah Domby

"Milky Way" By Nathalie Nedeljkovic

"Modern Art" By Skylar Lee Gutman, Hannah Diones, Kassidy Knight

"Outsiders" By Tolan Shaw, Danen Reed, Jeff Carl

"Sad Ole Country Song" By Mark Lambert, Ronnie Jackson, Ron Day

"Save Me" By Reed Waddle, Jordan Frye

"So Low" By Kenny Elrod

"Somebody" By Harper O’Neill, Meg McRee

"Someone's Woman" By Hannah Bethel

"Somewhere Between Amarillo and Little Rock" By Caitlin Cannon

"This Isn’t How the Story Ends" By Emma Cole, Joshua Hester, Caleb Thoemk

"Tomorrow" By Brett Koolik, Paul Hammer

"White" By Gabrielle Boyle, Blessing Offor

"You & I" By Danielle Juhre

"You Lied" By Caitlynne Curtis


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  1. So what y’all are saying is you need a filled produced, recorded and videoed song in order to get any kind nod love in this contest. So the music industry basically supports only rich musicians. Interesting. No wonder there isn’t much to listen too these days.

  2. There are only 7 songs in these top 25 that are worthy of being here. It’s not that the other 18 songs are bad. They just don’t display ANYTHING special that rises to the level of being award-winning. This contest should be like the “Grammys of the Unknown,” but sadly, I suspect that the screeners select what makes it through by picking on “personal taste” and NOT on the craft of songwriting as it applies to the unique marriage of a well-written lyric to a complementary melody and chord structure. Here are my 7 picks (some of which I probably would not buy, but I recognize for their strong creative commitment to the craft.):

    1. “Somewhere Between Amarillo and Little Rock” By Caitlin Cannon
    2. “Modern Art” By Skylar Lee Gutman, Hannah Diones, Kassidy Knight
    3. “Driving Home To You” By Kaston Guffey
    4. “Tomorrow” By Brett Koolik, Paul Hammer
    5. “I Promise You” By Stephen Sylvester, Todd Sylvester
    6. “Sad Ole Country Song” By Mark Lambert, Ronnie Jackson, Ron Day
    7. “Memories Make Us” By Hayden Cain, Eric Dodd, Moriah Domby


    My winner took about a minute into the song to hook me, but once it did, I was in for the duration.

    #2 was just damn good solid creativity with strong lyrics.

    #3 was a terribly sad song, but it was sooo well done. John Prine would have been proud of this one.

    #4 had a powerful emotion that worked very well with the “ramble” of the lyric which spoke the real truth of the artist’s feelings.

    #5 who doesn’t like a daddy/daughter song? Great message with the contrast between the narrator’s personal experience of being a son and now being a father. Music fits the lyric and is easy to listen to….in other words, it doesn’t create a conflict with the message.

    #6 Just a plain good country song presented in a fresh unique package. I picked this song because it’s solid. I think it could be a radio cut.

    #7 It’s got a bit of the “Bro Country” thing going on but in this case, that ain’t necessarily bad. Great presentation of the hook, which makes up for some of the worn out over-used images. As I always say, cliches aren’t bad…just know when to use them and know how to make them work. Same holds true for common themes and images. Could be a radio cut.

    *Finsl note: Any of these songs are worthy of winning or placing in the top 5. My order of 1-7 is of course subjective, but it comes from 50 years in the craft of songwriting. In the case of the other 18 songs I gave a pass?……well, that’s not subjective…it’s a fact. I’d be curious to see the demographic of the A/S screeners who pick the songs that make it through to the judges.

    Greg Smith
    B.S. Recording Industry Management (MTSU)
    M.F.A. Screenwriting (Univ of Georgia)
    M.M. Music Business and Entertainment Ind. (Univ of Miami)
    Soon to be PhD Sport and Entertainment Mgmt (UofSC)

  3. I found it a bit odd that the day after the judging started they had all the winners already selected… how do you honestly go through all the entries in a day…

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Meaning Behind “Harper Valley P.T.A.” by Jeannie C. Riley