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Winner of UC international songwriting contest announced

Claudia Doman

9 November 2015: A catchy indie-pop original song was recently announced as the winner of the University of Canberra's inaugural UC-Vision Song Contest, with the People's Choice Prize going to a pair of first-time collaborating student songwriters from Canberra.

This competition is an international challenge to give a platform to songwriters from Australia and around the world to showcase their talent through the production of an outstanding original song.

From 230 entries submitted from Australia, New Zealand and as far as Austria, Russia, Scotland, Germany and Canada, the winner of the $10,000 Grand Prize is KYTES for their song "Inner Cinema".

KYTES is a touring indie band from Munich, Germany, made up of four life-long friends: Michael Speiler, vocals and guitar; Timothy Lush, drums; Kerim Öke, guitar and Thommy Sedlacek, bass.

Main judge Tom Busby from acclaimed Australian band Busby Marou said that the KYTES' entry is a "cleverly crafted pop song that potentially has a huge appeal to a wide audience".

"I love how this track is full of vocal hooks from the very start. The lyrics are direct and delivered perfectly for a punchy and original melody," Mr Busby said. "I can hear this song being played on both indie and commercial radio stations."

The songs were judged on musical quality, appeal and originality, while the quality of production of the music and video were not factors considered in the judging process.

The Grand Prize winner was selected from 12 finalists picked out by the shortlist judging panel, which included the director of the Stockholm University College of Music Education, Ian Plaude, record label Studio Sixty-Eight's producer/engineer, Matt Barnes, and Alaskan singer/songwriter Marian Call.

All songs submitted to the contest were also open to the public for voting through the contest's website. The most popular entry – by 13 votes – and winner of the $1,000 People's Choice Prize was "Something to Hold Onto".

This song was a first-time collaboration between University of Canberra students Sherman Leung and Ivona Kraljevic who met at high-school, before choosing to study at the University.

Mr Leung is studying a Bachelor of Commerce/Bachelor of Laws and Miss Kraljevic is studying a Bachelor of Politics and International Relations/Bachelor of Science in Psychology.

Mr Sherman said it had been a really exciting opportunity to develop and showcase their musical skills.

"Neither of us has done much in music and it took a lot more work than we anticipated; we learnt pretty quickly about the difficulties in writing a song," he said.

The winners were announced during the Vice-Chancellor's Excellence Awards ceremony held on 30 October at the University's Boiler House.

UC Music program director and organiser of the competition, Rasa Daukus, said she was "thrilled" with the variety of entries submitted to the first running of the UC-Vision Song Contest.

"It was great to see that the format of the contest provided a platform for entrants taking vastly different approaches with their songs and videos - from raw single takes to super slick productions, and from first-time songwriters to working musicians," Ms Daukus said.  

"I was particularly impressed by the very high standard of musicianship and lyric-writing coming from young songwriters, which has inspired us to open a separate category for school-age entrants next year," she said.