ICMP/ATLA Songwriting Contest Winners

ICMP is delighted to announce that the winners of this year’s prestigious ICMP/ATLA International Songwriting Contest are Leah Bryant, who is studying on the first year of our Songwriting degree course, and Cindy Stawz, a first year Songwriting student at ATLA with John Meldrum.

Leah and Cindy will now receive the prize of a live video recording of their song at the prestigious FGO Barbara venue in Paris, as well as promotional support from both the ICMP and ATLA.

What is the ICMP/ATLA International Songwriting Contest?

The  ICMP/ATLA International Songwriting Contest is the centrepiece of ICMP’s collaborative relationship with prestigious international partner school Ecole ATLA in Paris. Open to first-year Songwriting Degree students, of all nationalities, from both schools, the competition is now heading into its third year and is proving to be hugely successful in inspiring and supporting rising songwriting stars.

Participants have the opportunity to develop, record, perform and promote their songs in fantastic live venues and studio facilities, and receive opportunities to meet and network with fellow students from Paris and London.

Who are ICMP and ATLA?

Located in London, ICMP is one of Europe’s leading providers of contemporary music education and has been developing and delivering music degree courses for longer than any other UK-based school. ICMP offers a specialist range of industry-aligned Masters Programmes, Music degrees, Diplomas and 1-year Higher Education Programmes for students of Guitar, Bass, Drums, Vocals, Songwriting, Music Production and Music Business. These courses are all focused on preparing musicians, producers, performers, creative artists and entrepreneurs for a successful and rewarding career in the music industry.

ATLA is the largest contemporary music school in France and is based in the heart of the country's capital. Recognised by the Ministry of Culture, ATLA was established over 22 years ago and operates from Pigalle, the iconic music district of Paris and also a major tourist center, with the Moulin Rouge and the Montmartre district just a stone’s throw away. 

Leah Bryant winner of the ICMP / ATLA Songwriting Contest

Leah Bryant, ICMP student and one of the winners of the ICMP/ATLA International Songwriting Contest

How is the event judged?

In January, ICMP Songwriting Degree Programme Leader Jonathan Whiskerd travelled to Paris to judge the songwriting efforts of some very talented ATLA students and to pick 5 writers to take part in the final. Then in February, it was the ICMP students’ turn, with ATLA’s John Meldrum visiting London to help select another five candidates for the final round.

The contest final then took place on 21st March at the Finborough Arms in West Brompton, London. The finalists from ICMP were Katie Wilkinson, Leah Bryant, Dominic Glynn, Cristina Llull and Daniel Jacklin. The finalists from ATLA were Théo Champion, Bastien Fournillier, Alice Chahbazian, Elise Gorisse and Cindy Stawz.  

The night started with the first-ever screening of the 2016 winner’s video: Hakon Hjartarson’s ‘Strange Old World’, filmed at the beautiful FGO Barbara in Paris. Each contestant then performed their song in front of a judging panel comprising ICMP and ATLA faculty, as well as an enthusiastic audience. 

Helping songwriters get a foothold in the music business

John Meldrum, Songwriting Tutor at ATLA Ecole Paris said:

“With a successful final round of the 2nd annual ICMP/ATLA International Songwriting contest done and the two winners chosen, I'm really looking forward to producing the two new clips here in Paris. The reactions we're getting from the videos of last years' winners Halley and Hákon are fantastic, and our hope is to help our songwriting students get a foothold in the music business with creative, competitive events like this. We want all the students who participate to learn what it's like to pitch their songs and their performances to a panel of industry experts and perhaps get a crack at a professionally recorded and edited video.”

Jonathan Whiskerd, ICMP Songwriting Degree Programme Leader, said:

“The ICMP/ATLA International song contest gives our writers the opportunity to experience the competitive side of the profession, within the supportive and nurturing environment of their institution. The process of application, shortlisting, first round performances and the live finals all offer meaningful experience of delivering under pressure, an essential skill for any professional. I am delighted to be working with John Meldrum and his ATLA colleagues on such an enjoyable and rewarding project. Most importantly, the students who have been involved over the last two years have had a great time and have learned a huge amount from the experience.”

About last year’s winners

Last year’s winner, Hákon Guðni Hjartarson, benefited from a full live studio recording of his song ‘Strange Old World’, featuring session players and ICMP tutors Ben Jones (bass), Jon Harris (drums) and Julian Marshall (keys). The track was produced by Kevan Gallagher, an experienced music industry professional and a member of ICMP’s production faculty.

Hákon then spent a day at the FGO Barbara venue in Paris, recording the live performance video of this track with a line-up of musicians from Ecole ATLA. The video was directed by John Meldrum, assisted by the FGO Barbara creative team, and is available to view on Hákon's YouTube channel.

Last year’s winner from ATLA was Clara Chardon a second year Songwriting student at ATLA with her song 'Where Is Ziggy' which was performed live with her band Halley which she put together with students from ATLA. The track was produced and filmed simultaneously at FGO Barbara in July 2016 under the direction of John Meldrum.

Songwriting courses