TIP: Read this page carefully to discover which category your song is best suited to. You may also submit the same song in multiple categories.
This category is for chart style top 40 popular music. It includes slower pop ballads as well as up-tempo pop songs. This is the most commercial of all the categories and is for songs with mass (often younger) audience appeal. Our judges and producers have excellent contacts in the Pop industry who are looking for new songs. Many past winners of this category have had major publishing deals and written for major artists, appeared on prime time TV shows and have gone on to work with some of the word’s top producers. Pop winner Belle Humble went on to write for Paloma Faith, Alexandra Burke and others, major films and TV, and her hits include the worldwide Freestylers mega hit “Cracks” and the massively successful K-pop hit “Russian Roulette” which was a top three in South Korea, Japan and the USA. Her songs have over 300 million (300,000,000!) views on YouTube, hundreds of millions of streams on other platforms and Belle is now a UKSC judge. Pop Winner Ken Brown teamed up to work with producer and UKSC judge Stuart Epps. Pop winner Jaron Natoli was showcased to millions on the prime time TV Today Tonight show. Pop winner Alysha Brilla was nominated for a Juno Award. Katie Kittermaster signed a major deal with BMG, toured with BoyzLife, won The Commonwealth Song Contest on our nomination, and she now headlines her own sellout concerts and is a UKSC judge. These are only a few of very many examples.
This is a category for songwriters who are also performers. Songs can be in any style or genre. The only rule is that the songwriter sings their own song. In this category the performance and vocals are judged along with the songwriting. (NOTE: This is the only category where the vocals are also judged, in all other categories vocals are not judged). When Emma Fitzsimons from Dublin, Ireland, won with her song Follow The Rainbow she flew to England for a professional music video shoot and recording and production sessions with the UKSC, was mentored by Sting’s producer and (UKSC judge) Kipper Eldridge in his studio, and they talked abaout cowriting together. Emma was tweeted about by Perez Hilton and Calvin Harris after seeing the UKSC results and her YouTube views quickly soared to over one million. A well known winner of the singer-songwriter category was Hollywood Star Wars actress andd singer-songwriter Bonnie Piesse with her beautiful song Ariella. Bonnie continues to sing and write and she has supported the UKSC as a video presenter and she joined the UKSC judging panels in 2021.
The popular category for lyricists. If you wish you may also add directions about the type of music style / vocalist / presentation etc that you imagine accompanying your lyric (this is optional and not a requirement). You can also add other comments about the song. It is very easy to enter your Lyrics using our special Lyrics Only entry form – just copy and paste in a few clicks. This is a very popular category with specialist lyricists, and music writing songwriters are also welcome to enter their lyrics in this category (some songwriters enter Lyrics Only and also enter a recording of the same song in one of the other categories). Lyrics entries have exactly the same chance of winning prizes as entries in any other categories. The Overall Grand Prize Winner of the contest one year was a Lyrics Only entry called Silver Linings by Mark Wilson. Mark received Sibelius music software (The Sibelius Prize) and a UKSC Gold Disc Award in addition to the usual impressive UKSC Overall Winners’ prize package. Lyrics category winner, Susan Muranty, received personal one-on-one mentoring with hit songwriter Mark Cawley as part of her contest prize package and she is still working wth him and recently spent time recording in studios in Nashville with him. She recently joined the UKSC as a judge in the Lyrics Category. Winner Mick Evans had music put to his winning lyric (again via UKSC judge Mark Cawley) and the song has been recorded with outstanding results. NOTE FOR LYRICISTS: Check out the other Lyrics opportunities, for example the Crisis and Protest Songs Lyrics Category and the Songwriting Challenge Lyrics category. All lyrics also take part in the LOTY Lyricist Of The Year Awards completely FREE of charge.
Artists that are often described as AC include BRIT School graduates Amy Winehouse and Adele. Other artists and writers often referred to as AC include Ed Sheeren, Sting, Eric Clapton, James Taylor, Celine Dion, Simply Red, Bryan Adams – it is a huge and varied list and a very popular genre and category. Acoustic based singer/songwriter material is suited to this category. Younger, edgier bands, sometimes described as “Hot AC”, are also welcome in this category. There has been a very large variety of music entered in this category over the years – listen to and compare past winners for example, you will find there are many different styles of music among the worthy winners. The song “Apart” by Neil Fitzpatrick, was signed to the world´s biggest independent music publishers when it won the UKSC and Neil was also signed, through our contacts and recommendation, to feature in a major Sky TV series about songwriting. Jaron Natoli was interviewed and featured on Australian nationwide prime time TV with UKSC judge and producer Stuart Epps. Johnny Schaefer´s UKSC winning Adult Contemporary song entry You Can´t Hide The Light was recorded by Grammy legend Melissa Manchester. There are many more examples.
These songs can be in any style – pop, rock, AC, country, disco, ballad, folk, opera, rock anthems, jazz, gospel – the only rule is that the song must be about love. Past winners of this category have been in many styles. In 2012 there were two joint winners of this category – both in very different styles, listen to them both here. “The Way You Are” is a very catchy contemporary and modern style Love Song, while the other winner “Together” is an oustandingly tender, sincere and heartfelt song in a much older and less commercial style (you will need to turn up the volume when listening to the winning song “Together” as a very poor quality recording was entered). The song can be about any aspect off love, from positive love experiences, to heartbreak and unrequited love. One of the past outstanding Love Song winners was What Love Is by Ken Brown. This impressed judge Stuart Epps so much that he put on his producer´s hat, re-recorded and remixed the song, added backing vocals and arrangements, and created a new master version applying the same skills he used on his well known tracks with Elton John.
Last year´s winners in this category, The Kut, received a lot of attention from the music industry and media and within weeks of the results hit the Number One position at the top of the Official UK Rock Charts! They were also nominated and recommended by the UKSC for an ISA Award and won best Rock writers. All types and styles of rock are welcome and past entries include classic retro rock, Indie, Alternative, Grunge, Heavy Metal, Ballads, modern contemporary rock, Progressive and pop/rock crossover. Bands and solo songwriters may enter and recordings can be of any type: studio, bedroom, garage, live show. Many entrants have had success: EG the Rock Category Winner Jason Flinter´s song was chosen to open and launched LABEL EXPO in Brussels and he was asked to write the music for the Capetown EXPO SUMMIT – “All thanks to the UKSC”. Winner Nathaniel Porter had personal advise from producer and UKSC judge Richard Niles and is now pursuing a career with US band Parias Day. Winner Jaron Natoli was featured and seen and performed to millions on the very popular nationwide network TV show Today Tonight alongside our own Stuart Epps when results were announced. Recent winners, The Kut, an all girl band from London, had their first Official Number One hit within weeks of the results announcements.
It´s official. Latin music is huge and has gone mainstream with well over one billion streams every week. Latin artists like Bad Bunny and Karol G have been dominating the charts globally and the genre has overtaken both EDM and Country in recent years. Estimates by Billboard put Latin Music in third place, behind Pop and Hip-Hop. The UKSC likes to keep its finger on the pulse and we are introducing a brand new Latin Music Category in 2022. The UKSC judges said they anticipate a very interesting and worthy selection of entries in this category and are excited to hear your songs. We look forward to receiving your entries in this new category.
Lyrics Co-write / Song Challenge
This is a special co-writing category for lyricists that gives you the chance to co write with the Pros. Send us your new lyric for any existing or famous song. Previous outstanding winners of co-writing challenges include rewrites of Paul McCartney´s Yesterday and this year we have opened up the category to include ANY existing song by any writer, artist or band of your choice. You choose. It can be a song from any era, and in any genre. All finalists will have their new work copyright registered and a Copyright Certificate will be issued. To enter your new lyric, just copy and paste your lyric into the entry form. Make sure it matches the original song melody closely – we will be checking to see if we can sing your new lyric to the original tune. And don´t forget to mention the title of the original song. (If you have made a recording of your song with the new lyric you may, optionally, submit this as well if you wish – but this is not necessary and not required).
According to the Guinness Book Of Records Happy Birthday To You is the most recognized song in the english language. It is also estimated to be the highest earning song in history! The song only recently went into the public domain, in 2016. It was previously owned by Warner/Chappell who had purchased it for US$25 million back in the 1980s. The UKSC has a popular Christmas Songs category and this year, to celebrate our 21st Anniversary, the UKSC has a special Birthday Song category. Will you write the next multi-million earning Birthday Song? We are looking forward to hearing your songs and we will feature and share some of them online during the contest as part our 21st Birthday celebrations.
Melody Co-write / Song Challenge
Send us your new melody for any existing or famous song. This is a special co-writing category that gives you the chance to co write with the Pros. We launched song co-writing challenges back in 2020 with Paul McCartney´s Yesterday and this year we have opened it up to include ANY existing famous song. This can be another song from Paul, or Elton, Bernie, Ed Sheeran, Adele, Taylor Swift, Bob Dylan or any favourite songwriter, artist or band of your choice. It can be from any era and in any genre. All finalists will have their new work copyright registered and a Copyright Certificate will be issued. To enter this category submit a recording of your new melody. This can be a simple instrumental track, or sing or hum your new tune. Make sure the new melody fits the original song lyric. And don´t forget to mention the title of the original song.
Crisis and Protest Songs
The Crisis Songs category was introduced during the covid pandemic lock downs in 2020 and we received many outstanding songs about quarantine, distant love, lock downs, painful experiences of loss and more.This year we have opened up this category to include Protest Songs also, because we can see a definite return to the protest songs of past decades as we face so many major world problems caused, or ignored, by our political leaders. All songs in any style and any genre are welcome. We will be watching closely and sharing our favourites. To submit to this category enter your recording using the UKSC entry form.
Crisis and Protest Lyrics
This is the Lyrics Only edition of the Crisis and Protest Songs category. We originally introduced Crisis Lyrics during the covid pandemic lock downs in 2020 and we received many outstanding songs about quarantine, distant love, lock downs, painful experiences of loss and more.This year we have opened up this category to include Protest Songs also, because we can see a definite return to the protest songs of past decades as we face so many major world problems caused, or ignored, by our political leaders. All songs in any style and any genre are welcome. We will be watching closely and sharing our favourites. To submit to this category, paste or type your lyric into the lyrics box on the UKSC entry form.
Acoustic & Folk
This is for all unplugged, non electric, songs of any style including Folk songs. There have been some great acoustic entry winners in the past. For example Bloody Good Xmas by Jamie Hawkins created so much interest on winning the category that it was rush released as a Christmas Single and quickly hit #2 in the Amazon charts – see the video on YouTube. A finalist song in the Acoustic Category, Down To Earth by Kate Diaz, was noticed in the contest and used as a theme tune by Music Aid International and others and it was played at a major government event in the US. All folk songs including traditional folk, regional styles, world folk styles, modern folk, easy listening folk/acoustic styles are welcome.Check out Dr James by Katriona Gilmore, an outstanding song in a classic old traditional English folk style, or the very topical and contemporary lyrics of the 2020 Folk winner in US American Traditional folk style. Or the powerful and descriptive imagery of the 2019 winner Kenmare Bay. Or last year´s acapella folk winner.
In this category it is the video, not just the song, that is a main focus of attention for the judges. You may also enter a song as a recording in one of the other categories and also enter your video of the song in the Video category. Both entry versions of the song will be judged separately. To enter this category we will ask for a link to watch your video which must already be online somewhere for public viewing (eg on YouTube, Vimeo, Daily Motion, Facebook, Twitter, your own website etc).
The UKSC has a history of outstanding younger entrants. For example Natalie Chua was only 11 years old when she won the UKSC and signed by Simon Cowell. She went on to receive a Platinum Album Award. Jaron Natoli was only 13 when he won both the Rock and the Pop categories with his songs and which led to him being seen and heard by millions on the hugely popular Today Tonight TV show in Australia. When 15 year old Kate Cosentino won the Under 18s category with her beautiful outstanding song Just Remember and it caused a stir among many in the music business, and hit songwriter Mark Cawley was quoted as saying he envied her writing skills and wished he had been able to write like that when he was 15. Seventeen year old Katie Kittermaster recently won this category with her song T-Shirt, which then went on to win the Commonwealth Song Contest after nomination by the UKSC. She was soon performing the UKSC winning song on a nationwide tour with BoyzLife and is now enjoying a successful career with many TV appearances and sell out headline concerts and millions of online plays for her songs and a major international record deal with BMG. Anyone who is Under 18 at the time of entry may enter this category and songs can be in any style. (Co-written songs may be entered but the main writer must be Under 18 and listed first in the writing credits).
This used to be called the Miscellaneous Category and as the name says, anything and everything goes in this open category, and there are no restrictions on what you may enter. The Open Category is for songs that do not fit easily into any of the other categories. Entries have included opera, classical, ethnic and world music, songs for children, educational songs, musical theatre and comedy. Remember – anything goes. We have had some outstanding entries in this category and some big successes – for example after winning the category the song “Sempre Vicino” was covered and recorded by The Canadian Tenors and released internationally. Another past winner of this category, Natalie Chua, was signed by Simon Cowell – she was only 12 years old when she won this category and she went on to receive a Platinum Album for sales over 500,000 with Cowell’s band Angelis and she is now a UKSC judge.
Have you written the type of song that you think could represent the UK in a major international song showcase? For example in an event like Eurovision 2023? Or the CSC? We will promote the winning song to our industry contacts including those with connections to important major event organisations and their decision makers. We expect this category and its top songs to generate good media interest – look out for news and developments at britsong.com and britsong.co.uk. NOTE: Any songwriter, from any country, may enter songs in this category – it is not necessary to reside in the UK. Lyrics to songs in this category must be in English.
Most of the world’s famous songwriters have penned a song for Christmas – even Paul McCartney and John Lennon. Songwriters know that Christmas Songs are among the biggest grossing songs in the world with potential for massive repeat sales each year, and lists of the world’s most popular songs always include Christmas Songs at the top. In the past UKSC entrants entered their Christmas songs in various categories depending on the style of the music – one example is “Bloody Good Xmas” which won the Acoustic/Folk category and went straight to number two in the Amazon download charts after it received a cult following through the UKSC. From 2013 there has been a special category just for these songs. UKSC Christmas Songs winner, My Favourite Time Of Year by Leigh Haggerwood, was signed as theme music for the nationwide ITV Television annual Christmas appeal TEXT SANTA and has been playlisted in over 140,000 stores worldwide. Since winning it has had many millions of online streams and it is one of the “Most Popular Christmas Songs of All Time” on YouTube.
This popular category is for Country music only and it has seen some outstanding entries in many different country styles in past years. The Country category includes all the many different styles and variations of country music and includes traditional country, ballads, foot stompers and pop crossovers. To see the diffferent styles htat have been entered check out the powerful winning country song He Only Broke My Heart, a good example of a contemporary pop/country style by young songwriter Molly Hunt, and compare this with the winning Country song I’m So Blue by Rob Cariddi, which has the feel of a timeless country classic from an earlier era. These are just two of the many examples of great country songs in the USC archives.
Jazz / Blues
All styles of Blues or Jazz are welcome, from ballads and big band, to experimental and modern. The category is suitable for all types of jazz from traditional to contemporary jazz based easy listening, experimental jazz, or heavily jazz influenced rock band styles (eg Steely Dan). You may also enter instrumental jazz pieces in this category. Blues entries can be hard core blues, or light acoustic blues, traditional, retro, latin influenced blues, raw basic blues, complex songs or simple 12 bars. Instrumentals are also welcome in this category. This category is suitable for all styles of Blues and Instrumentals are also welcome. We are constantly surprised and impressed by the variety and high standard of the Jazz and Blues entries..
All songs with Christian religious or faith theme including gospel, praise, worship etc. All musical styles are welcome in this category – traditional, modern and alternative, pop, rap, choral, soul, rock etc etc. Christmas carols may be entered in this category or in Christmas Songs (or both). Past winners have been in gospel, country, classical, pop, acapella and even electronic/dance styles.
All styles and forms and genres of instrumental music ar welcome in this category. Classical, rock, acoustic, electric, theme music, film music, jingles or mood music, songs without lyrics, or improvisational pieces – there are no limits. Any type of instrumentation is welcome – eg a single acoustic instrument, electronic, multiple instruments, all keyboards based, live band/ensemble performances etc etc.
EDM & Electronic
For all styles and sub-genres of Electronic, Dance and Electro-Ambient music. These include Electronica, Trance, Atmospheric, Minimal, House, Techno, D&B, Space Music, Jungle, Hardcore, Industrial, Breakbeat, Psychedelic, UK Garage, Electro, Downtempo, Chillout, Nu-Jazz, Nu-Disco, Organic, New Wave, Dub Step, Dance Punk, Progressive, Acid Rave, Gabba, Sambass, Funk, Jump, Freestyle, Euro, Snap, Synthpop, Dark Ambient, Industrial, Ambient Dub, Ethno, Isolationist… and everything in between.
R&B / Soul / Hip-Hop
All contemporary R&B, and all Hip Hop and Urban and Soul styles are welcome in this category. If you think that your songs may overlap with Pop or Adult Contemporary or Singer-Songwriter or EDM / Electronic you may wish to also enter your songs in those categories.
A special category in association with Music Aid FM and other industry bodies. It is a benefit section and 100% of the entry fee goes directly to support official Music Aid Projects and Causes (see musicaid.org for full details). Any style or genre of recorded song, including instrumentals, can be entered in this category. Last year´s winner in this category was released and sung by the Grammy Award winning singer Melissa Manchester and it received wide spread media attention and coverage with articles and radio interviews for the writer Johnny Schaefer. It was also remixed and released as a Club EDM version by well known and successful award winning production team Bimbo Jones The winning song in this category this year will be widely featured online and promoted on the internationally popular musicaid.fm music player.
A special category in association with Music Aid FM and other industry bodies. It is a benefit section and 100% of the entry fee goes directly to support official Music Aid Projects and Causes (see musicaid.org for full details). Any style or genre of recorded song, including instrumentals, can be entered in this category. Last year´s winner was an exceptional cover of “Hurt”, originally by 9 Inch Nails and previously covered by Johnny Cash. The winning song this year will be featured online and promoted on the popular musicaid.fm music player. This category is for performers and songwriters to pay tribute to their favourite songs and songwriters, and to show how different approaches, arrangements and reworkings can present the same song in different ways.
This category was introduced because so many songwriters told us that they had written songs in older styles that they did not think were suitable for a contemporary song competition. This category is for these older style songs, for example 60s Pop, 80s Disco, 40s ballads, 50s Rock and Roll, 90s Brit Pop, California Surf and anything else that is in a Retro style. Check out the archives: there have beeen some great songs in this category.
World music is a musical category encompassing many different styles of music from around the globe including non-Western folk music, ethnic music, traditional and country specific classical music, indigenous music, neo-traditional music, and cultural mixes (eg a mix of ethnic music and Western pop music). Since the term was first used in the eighties it has grown to include hybrid subgenres such as world fusion, global fusion, ethnic fusion and worldbeat.
Indie originally meant music produced independently from major commercial record labels or their subsidiaries, often with a do-it-yourself approach to recording and publishing. It is now also used to describe a genre including indie rock or indie pop that may not be independently produced. Most Indie music artists do not fall into a single, clearly defined musical style or genre: the indie rock movement for example encompassed a wide range of styles, from hard-edged bands, through do-it-yourself experimental bands, to punk-folk singers. This genre seemss to get wider and include more variety every year.
Work In Progress
This category is for songs that you are working on that are not completed or finished yet. Let us have your ideas, sketches and your rough first recording. You may have only the chorus with “dum de dum” lyrics and no words yet, or only a basic melodic idea with a few pieces of lyric, or maybe you have a great hook and an idea but not much else. The essential thing is that these are not complete and finished – this must be very obvious, so do not enter complete finiished songs here. We will choose songs that show potential and we may pass them on to our professional contacts and producers for collaboration and co writing if we see that they show promise. Don´t be shy. You may have a classic in the making and not realise it yet.