Berklee’s Songwriting Department and Songs for Social Change initiative have announced the results of their 2020 Songs for Social Change Contest. This year’s contest received 90 submissions of original songs from students around the world. The songwriters who received awards, honorable mentions and judge’s shout-outs, and those acknowledged in the contest’s showcase, hail from 16 U.S. states as well as Australia, England, Hong Kong, India, Macedonia, Norway, Qatar, Singapore and Spain.
The contest, which has been held annually for more than 10 years, encourages Berklee students to write songs expressing their convictions about social issues and promoting positive social change.
Mark Simos headed up the judging process and here’s what he had to say about the contest: “In the midst of this pandemic, all in our community—students, teachers, staff, and our extended web of family and friends—are living through extraordinarily challenging times.” Simos continued, “Under these conditions, simply writing and submitting songs to this contest represents work of artistic bravery and solidarity; the students can take pride in it. Their work honors fellow artists of conscience everywhere and the resilience of our Berklee community.”
Listen to some of the top songs in the Songs for Social Change 2020 playlist here.
First Place: “Privilege to Dream,” Gayathri Karunakar Menon (Doha, Qatar)
Second Place: “Listen and Love,” Alexandra Riordan (Newcastle, Australia)
Third Place (Tie): “Ghost on the Sidewalk,” Samuel Foster (Issaquah, Washington) and “Quilt Too Big to Fold, “Madison Simpson (Concord, New Hampshire)
Honorable Mention (Listed alphabetically by songwriter last name)
“You Dig?,” Kelsey Blackstone (Manchester, Connecticut); “Welcome to America,” Ashley (Ally) Evans (Dallas, Texas); “Earth Full of Heart,” Samantha Jordan (Brooklyn, New York); “Robots,” Lewis Zhi Hou Loh (Singapore); “I Just Don’t,” Maya Manzanero-Lopez (Topsham, Maine); “So Will I,” Rosaileen (Rosie) Scher (Nyack, New York); “Best Me I Can,” Gareth Tong (Hong Kong, China)
Photo Credit: Gayathri Karunakar Menon