We were very pleased to announce the winners of the Songwriters Hall of Fame Song Competition earlier this week, and we thought you’d like to know more about them!
Grand Prize Winner:
JoJo Worthington is an independent Folk/ Alternative artist from Waterloo, Ontario known for her avid songwriting and dynamic use of the ukulele. By using loops, reverbs, delays and even distortion, JoJo creates a euphoric atmosphere that has never been heard before on the ukulele. With her infectiously catchy and whimsical melodies, this songstress can capture the heart of any audience. Growing up in a musical family, JoJo became obsessed at a very young age, influenced by musical theatre and classical music. At age eight, she began taking voice lessons and by the time she was 14, had already performed in over 15 musical productions and events. JoJo began writing songs on guitar in a local band, but at 16 decided to go solo, this time with the ukulele. With now over 10 years of performance experience, JoJo has won several local and international songwriting competitions, including the 2015 Songwriters Hall of Fame Song Competition, Akademia Music Awards (Best Album 7 and Best Music Video in Singer/Songwriter category), Songwriting Award for Music Industry Arts Year 2 at Fanshawe College, Open Category in the International Acoustic Music Awards; Best Song and Best Folk at the 2014 Toronto Independent Music Awards, the 2014 Barrie Folk Songwriting Competition, the 2013 Fanshawe’s Got Talent, the Spring 2013 Indie International Songwriting Competition, the 25th Waterloo Region’s Leading Edge Award, the 2012 4th Annual Maxwell’s Music House Songwriting Competition, the 2012 songoftheyear.com, and more. In 2012, JoJo released her first EP, SOON which featured six original compositions, and in Dec 2013, JoJo released her first Christmas EP, O Christmas – A Yuletide Collection, which is a one of a kind, three track compilation of joyous and stimulating covers. Both albums have received radio play all over Canada including 91.5 The Beat and CBC Radio 1 and U.S stations including Broken World Radio, Branson World Radio, Women of Substance Radio and more. In January 2015, JoJo released her long anticipated full-length album, 7. This eleven-track album includes a whirlwind of sounds coming at the listener in different directions, creating a potpourri of brightly colored, unique and enticing melodies. This album also includes JoJo’s two singles, “Werewolf,” and “Amadeus.” JoJo has performed extensively throughout Ontario. Being a true Canadian artist, she has had the privilege of collaborating and performing with other Canadian artists such as: Craig Cardiff, The Great Lake Swimmers, Jacob Moon, Courage My Love, Calum Graham, Jake Robertson, Ambre McLean, The Vaudevillian and more. In July 2014, JoJo was selected to be a featured artist at the renowned Mariposa Folk Festival in Orillia, Ontario, and in August 2015, she will be a featured artist at the Summerfolk Music & Crafts Festival in Owen Sound, Ontario.
Second Place Winners:
Jordan Richman Higgins
Jordan Higgins is a 23 year old American Record Producer, Top 40 Songwriter, and Multi-Instrumentalist. He was born in Sacramento, CA and now resides in Los Angeles after receiving his bachelor’s degree in Ethnomusicology from UCLA. His songs have won multiple awards and competitions including the 2014 West Coast Songwriters International Song Competition, second place in the Songwriters Hall of Fame Song Contest, third place in the 2014 International Songwriting Competition, and the 2013 IMEA Award for “Country Song Of The Year.” His songs have also been featured on popular television shows including E! Network’s Keeping Up With The Kardashians, and have found homes on the records of many popular and up and coming artists. You can find Higgins’ latest song “Right Now” on recording artist/actress Sabrina Carpenter’s debut album Eyes Wide Open (Hollywood Records/Disney). He produced this song for the album and co-wrote it with Carpenter. Higgins is currently under the management of famed music publisher Judy Stakee (Katy Perry, Sheryl Crow, Gavin Degraw, Jewel) and is actively producing and co-writing at his studio in West Los Angeles.
Travis Nilan is quickly emerging as a must-see artist in the songwriter scene. Whether it’s EDM, Country, or Pop Rock, Travis has a natural gift for writing songs that simply make you feel good. Combining catchy, unforgettable melodies with his intricate, upbeat arrangements and lush harmonies, his EP, These Are The Days, is an excellent showcase of his songwriting and vocal skills. Spending his early 20’s pursuing an acting career (New York’s first Spider Man in the critically-acclaimed The Spidey Project), Travis’ audition attendance would quickly become less and less frequent, opting instead for mornings spent on the fire escape with his guitar. Where acting was something of a dream for him, songwriting was an addiction that he simply could not stop. Those mornings would lead to his his first self-recorded demo, “The Bedroom Sessions”. Sending it out to every venue in New York City, he lined up his first show at The Living Room on the Lower East Side, where his “addiction” would manifest itself as passion and raw talent. Fast forward to this year, and Travis’ was the recipient of the prestigious Abe Olman Scholarship: an award presented by the SHOF to young, upcoming songwriters. He is also currently in the studio completing his latest project: the debut EP for his Pop-Country duo, The Gentlemen Waltz. For more information, check him out at www.TravisNilan.com
Angela Parrish went to bed every night as a child with her father’s singing voice in her ear and the bedtime stories they wrote together dancing in her head. The singer-songwriter now takes the stage with the belief that a fantastic song should tell a compelling story and tug on the heart of every listener. She is a vintage-modern artist and writer who proudly creates her own brand of American music. The richest of influences can be heard in her songs, including Carole King, Ray Charles, Eva Cassidy, Gregg Allman and Alison Krauss. But Angela’s story is all her own. A born-and-raised Kansan, she wins audiences with her honest, emotional voice and distinctive piano playing while engaging with sharp and introspective lyrics. Angela Parrish has garnered praise for her songwriting from across the country; among other accolades, her song “Higher” was selected as a Finalist in the prestigious 2013 John Lennon Songwriting Contest. She has performed at the Hollywood Bowl as a backup singer for legendary musician Ben Folds and headlined singer-songwriter venues across America. Hailed as “a performer on the verge of greatness,” Angela is proud to release her debut EP Faithful and Tall on August 25. The record was produced by Jamie Candiloro (Ryan Adams, R.E.M., Willie Nelson) and features guest vocals by Sean Watkins of the Grammy- winning band Nickel Creek. Angela lives, writes, and performs in Los Angeles. She would like to thank the Songwriters Hall of Fame for this incredible honor, and she looks forward to the creative future with a happy heart.
When you strip away the fluff of pop, throw out the country flair, remove the cynicism of alternative, and turn up the beauty of Americana, you begin to have an idea of where Tom’s music falls. Tom Rhodes plays real, honest music that dives down to the heart of the matter and holds you there until you realize it’s where we all belong. With his latest release, With or Without (2014), Tom has moved his music further back on the dial and created a warm place for his raspy road worn voice and deceptively simple guitar. Since his first self-titled solo release in 2004, Tom has put out three more albums – each with a sound of its own. No Apologies (2006) moves from rock to reggae to country within 15 songs. Better Son (2011) planted footing in the Alt-Country/Folk scene, gaining nods as one of the top 20 albums of 2011 (AMDWHH) and Top 5 Country albums (Nerve.com). With his latest release, there is another turn: bringing in big vocal harmonies and an amazing backing band. Originally from Houston, Texas, Tom grew up mostly in the DC area playing in bars and clubs. He moved to New York City in late 2003 where he came into his own as a solo artist and songwriter, releasing two albums there. In 2006, he moved to Wilmington, NC where he worked on writing and getting his songs published on Network TV, Cable, and independent movies. Now residing in San Francisco, Tom continues to play shows all over the United States and Europe with his new band, looking for new audiences to help spread his music and loves making new friends along the way. With hundreds of unreleased songs, and thousands of stories still waiting to be told, there will be years of content to come from this life-long troubadour.