You would think I’d be tired of these songs by now. But you’d be wrong.
I’ve been lucky that my life and career have allowed me a lot of opportunities to support Birmingham, the city I love above all others. This spring, that included judging entries in the Alys Stephens Center’s ASC Commissions Birmingham songwriting contest. Beginning in January, the ASC invited local songwriters to submit videos of their original songs for this contest. Over the course of three weeks in April and May, a panel of judges reviewed the 86 submissions, rating them on qualities such as originality and how much each song reflects the city.
Yes, that means I listened to and rated 86 songs. That task became even more difficult after the judging panel narrowed the list down to 12 finalists. I listened to those 12 songs over and over and over again in an effort to determine which stood out the most.
I was in great company on this panel, which included Chris Confessore, resident conductor of the Alabama Symphony Orchestra; Eric Essix, UAB Department of Music instructor and president of Essix Music Group/Essential Recordings; composer Yotam Haber, director of MATA Festival; Bobby Horton, musical historian and composer; Kimberly Kirklin, director of the ASC’s ArtPlay; Scott Register, host of “Reg’s Coffeehouse” on Birmingham Mountain Radio; and Jessica Simpson, owner of Artistic Endeavors, LLC. It’s a talented group of people with a range of preferences, and so I wasn’t surprised to learn that the finalists reflect a variety of genres.
This weekend, the top three contenders will be announced, and each will receive studio time to record their songs.
Join me and the musicians on June 21 to celebrate LOCAL, a free festival featuring music, food, brews and goods. The event will include merchants such as Oli. O, Green Bottle Candle Co. and Stone Hollow Farmstead Pantry, food and drinks from Steel City Pops, Octane and others and performances by the contest’s 12 finalists. In the meantime, take a sneak peek at the finalists. My votes have already been cast, but I’d love to hear what you think of this talented group.