American Songwriter Judges Offer Insights Into Judging the 2023 May/June Lyric Contest Winners

In response to feedback from the American Songwriter Community, the esteemed contest judges were asked to share some insights into their winner selections. Read below for insights into how the panel of judges picked the winners for the May/June Lyric Contest.

1st Place – “The Neon in Her Eyes” – By Craig Hendricks

Shelly Peiken
– Love the concept. Never heard that before. A nice change from “fire” in her eyes. 🙂 

Sharon Vaughn – So commercially viable. (Wish I’d thought of it)

Sarah Siskind – I thought this was a really clever idea and love the play on color and emotion.

Chapel Hart’s Trea Swindle – This song’s lyrics have an effortless way of flowing together. Even without music, the illustrative nature of its lyrics gives a feeling that harkens back to the country of the ’90s. Without sounding like just another sad love song, the author uses colorful language to brilliantly paint an image that is sure to keep listeners engaged while feeling like a familiar tune that you already know.

See Lyrics, HERE.

2nd Place – “Singer and The Song” – By Maura Streppa

Adam James – Great hook! And the verses do a great job of setting it up.

Chapel Hart’s Danica Hart – I love everything about the creativity of this song! As songwriters, I believe we all at some point have been caught between being “the singer” and “the song.” Also, I’m a sucker for all things, Dolly and Jolene so this was a plus. But most of all, beautifully illustrated being caught between the glamour and the reality of being a professional songwriter/artist for a living. 

Priscilla Block  – As a songwriter, I really appreciate these lyrics because there’s so much more that goes into a song than just a fun beat to bob your head to or something that you can sing along to. I love the line For every Johnny Cash there’s a Johnny on the street /For every Dolly Parton there must be a Jolene. Super clever. I feel like I’ve lived this song.

See Lyrics, HERE.

Since 1984, American Songwriter’s Lyric Contest has helped aspiring songwriters get noticed and have fun. Enter the 2023 Lyric Contest today before the deadline:

3rd Place – “Friendly Fire” – By Dan Harrison and Autumn Buysse

Sharon Vaughn – PTSD with no punches pulled. I truly was moved by the “observer” in these lyrics. Frightened me for the storyteller.

Chapel Hart’s Devynn Hart – One of our favorite things about songwriting and music is the storytelling aspect. Being able to paint a clear picture of what is going on in a song is a gift. I believe the songwriter does a great job of doing just that. Coming from a military family the lyrics really stand out and speak deeply to us. 

Lance Carpenter – An all too real account of the struggles our service men and women face when they come home from combat. 

See Lyrics, HERE.

4th Place – “Honky Tonk Church” – By Jessica Hershey

Chapel Hart’s Devynn Hart – It’s always tricky writing about worldly and Godly things in the same song. I love the fact that there is so much truth in this song though. It may not be everyone’s truth but for some people that may be the case. I love the way the writer ties the two together in an honest yet tasteful manner. 

Priscilla Block  – I feel like this song is super well written. It’s something that I haven’t heard before, which can be very hard to do in a country song. I love the lyric, “Don’t get me wrong, we got disciples. They all own trucks, they all own rifles.”

See Lyrics, HERE.

Since 1984, American Songwriter’s Lyric Contest has helped aspiring songwriters get noticed and have fun. Enter the 2023 Lyric Contest today before the deadline:

Chapel Hart photo by Bailey Lamar / Monarch Publicity; Priscilla Block Courtesy UMG

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A Q&A With May/June 2023 Lyric Contest Winner Craig Hendricks