OverviewThe Bernard/Ebb Songwriting award is seeking the area’s best songwriters to compete for a chance to perform for a live audience and win a $10,000 grand prize. Both individual songwriters and bands are encouraged to apply.There will be multiple rounds of judging for the competition. A jury of esteemed judges will select the semi-finalists. The Grand Prize Jury will then review the semi-finalists’ submissions and select the finalists who will each perform two of their original songs at the live performance on March 6, 2015. The Grand Prize Jury will select the first Bernard/Ebb Songwriting Award winner and winning Young Songwriter during the live performance.

Each applicant must submit three original songs, a maximum of 4 minutes per song. Applicants under 17 must submit two original songs.  All musical genres are accepted and each song must include lyrics.

  • Adult/Contemporary
  • Broadway/Musical Theatre
  • Country/Bluegrass
  • Folk/Acoustic
  • Gospel/Inspirational
  • Pop
  • R&B/Hip Hop/Urban
  • Rock/Alternative
  • Vocal Jazz/Blues
  • Open

Original songs must be uploaded to the online submission form (we accept .MP3, .WAV or .M4a files or a SoundCloud hyperlink) or submitted on a CD with the mail-in application.

Judging will be based on:

  • Composition
  • Lyrics
  • Originality
  • Melody/Harmony

Lyric Sheet Requirements:
A lyric sheet for each song must be provided with the submission.

  • Typed
  • Include title of song
  • Chorus & verses clearly labeled
  • Double space between sections of the song
  • Year song was written noted at the bottom

*The names of all contributing writers must be included on the entry form. It is the responsibility of the entrant to divide any prizes with co-writers as appropriate.



Songwriters must be 18 or older and permanent, full-time of Maryland, Washington, D.C. or Virginia. Young songwriters, ages 17 and younger, are eligible for the Young Songwriter category.

All songwriters and performers must be available to perform their original songs for a live audience in Bethesda, MD on March 6, 2015.


• Applicants must not have made more than $5,000 in publishing royalties in 2014 and can’t be employed as a staff writer for a publishing company, nor have been paid for such services by a publishing company.

• Each entry must be original and shall not infringe on any copyrights, or any other rights of any third party. Each applicant shall hold Bethesda Urban Partnership and the Bethesda Arts and Entertainment District from and against claims inconsistent with these requirements.




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