Song Writing Contest

Music connects us and a song with great lyrics can truly open our hearts & touch our souls. If you have an original song, please enter it in the second annual Music for Humanity songwriting contest here. This is a songwriting contest so production will not be considered. A phone recording is fine as long as it is clear. All genres are welcome. Songs will be judged based on Melody, Lyrics, Song Structure, and overall originality.

You can enter the song here. Each entry is only $25. We’ll award $1,000 for the best song and $500 for the runner-up at our free monthly concert series at Noble Coffee Roasters in Campbell Hall NY on Saturday night December 21st. At that event, the MFH Free Performance Night, we’ll have two great songwriters, Neil Okeson and Bruce T. Carroll, sharing their music.    

The best song winner will also be interviewed in 2025 on John Burton’s award-winning show “Home from Here.” The deadline to apply is Sunday, November 17th at midnight. To be reminded please sign up for our email list here:

Our three judges: Kurt Henry, Lisa Markley and Stuart Kabak, together, have hundreds of songs to their credit including some award winners. They are volunteering their time. By entering your song, you agree that their decision will be final and there is no appeal.

Best of luck to you!!

Your 3 Judges

Kurt Henry

Kurt Henry

Kurt Henry began singing in coffeehouses in 1968, notably Greenwich Village’s The Village Gaslight, playing with popular regional New York bands the Womblers, Hipshot, and Great Northeastern.

Dubbed “New York’s first country-rocker” (MusicMachine), Henry opened for legends such as Procol Harum, The Byrds, David Bromberg, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, and Asleep at the Wheel. Over five decades and five albums, Henry has evolved into an accomplished, tone-conscious, low-volume/high-energy electric guitarist and a singer/songwriter with a knack for smart lyrics that splash on impact and circle out.

A resident of Ulster County, Kurt Henry performs regularly across the region with Dog Knows (formerly The Kurt Henry Band), in solo gigs, and with band member and life partner Cheryl Lambert. In addition to a fifty-year career in music, Kurt has taught literature on the secondary and college level.

Lisa Markley

Lisa Markley

“A remarkable ability to interpret new song…I’m awestruck and teary-eyed.” Dick Crockett, 88.7fm The Voice, Sacramento

“Markley has more depth, control, and beauty to her voice in a live concert setting than most vocalists get in a studio. Driving that voice is a soul of wit and intelligence, and a heart of gold.” Paul Slavens KERA/KUT, Dallas

Though most often recognized for her abilities as a vocalist, Lisa Markley began her musical journey as a trombonist. A multi-instrumentalist (voice, guitar, piano, banjo, and trombone), Markley is a graduate of the prestigious School of Music at the University of North Texas where she performed in the Lab Bands and in the Jazz Singers, studying composition, jazz, voice, trombone, and music education.

Though Lisa Markley’s career as a songwriter blends folk and jazz influences, her recent recording projects have brought her home, focusing her finely tuned vocal talents on the jazz genre. Lisa is signed with the Soona Songs record label, where she has been given the freedom to explore the more intimate forms of jazz song, art song, and to record new songs along side the jazz “standards”.

She defies category in pursuit of the perfect song.

 John Lennon Songwriting Contest (Folk and Jazz categories 2000) Honorable Mention

BW Stevenson Songwriting Contest Winner 2000

Alternate Wildflower Songwriting contest 2003

Kerville Folk Festival “Regional” songwriter (2000, 2003)

RealWomenRealSongs (Seasons 2 and 3)

Stuart Kabak

Stuart Kabak

Stuart started writing songs in his last year of High School. By his own admission they were just awful but “ya gotta start somewhere” he would say. Next step was Community College. Getting better but no cigar. Being a performer, “At least I got to hang out with the cool kids” State University at Brockport was the next step and it was here where Stuart’s song writing skills took a dramatic turn for the better.  

After graduation there was a brief pause in songwriting and performing. Eventually, Stuart ended up in California and while living in Long Beach, he entered “the Los Angeles International Festival of New Music” which at the time was the country’s largest and most exclusive event of its kind. There were over 6200 entries. 12 finalists and one chosen winner. That was Stuart.

A soul crushing divorce brought Stuart back to New York and with it, plenty of fuel for new songs. Eventually he would link up with the Jack Hardy Songwriters work shop which is still alive and well today. Listening to the critiques of other song writers, Stuart made a mental note to not make the mistakes other members of the group would make and be called on. The strategy worked and his songs got better still. In 2002 he entered the Great American Song Contest for the first time and has been winning awards ever since. Stuart is a precision songwriter and happy to help others develop their craft.  Below is a partial list of his awards. He is happy to give back to the songwriting community by being a judge in the Music For Humanity songwriting event.

2023 Great American Song Contest, Folk/Americana –  First Place

Great American Song  Contest, Singer/Songwriter Outstanding Achievement in Songwriting (their way of saying second place with artful sophistication) X5

Great American Song Contest Honor Awards X12

Rachel Bissex Songwriting Contest – Finalist

Hudson-Harding Folk Now X 7

Fast Folk Musical Magazine X 5

South Florida Music Festival Songwriter’s Contest Finalist

Town Crier Cafe best of the open mics (with Trilogy)

Los Angeles International Festival of New Music 1st place

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