An international songwriting competition connecting musicians and mental health support kicked off at the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville Monday with speeches from Mayor John Cooper and a livestream with a joint event in Liverpool, UK.
The Liverpool International Song Contest is celebrating it’s second season this year by connecting two music cities with “The Road to Nashville.” Organized by The Unity of Faiths Foundation, Visit Music City and the Liverpool city council, the event launching the song competition aimed to put mental health awareness at the focus while celebrating songwriters and musicians internationally.
Competition organizer and TUFF co-founder Shamender Talwar said there is no more important time than now to support musicians’ mental health with the tragic death of Naomi Judd in April.
How to help:Naomi Judd championed mental health. Here’s how you can be an advocate.
Each musician who submits their song to the contest will be able to opt into a network of mental health services. TUFF will connect the songwriter to a mental health practitioner in their local area for three free sessions. Out of the 20,000 submissions last year, 600 musicians received mental health support.
“The song contest is just a blanket,” Talwar said. “Every submission last year had the opportunity to connect with a life coach or psychologist. Now, with the support of the amazing family of Nashville, we will help many many thousands more.”
President of Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp Deana Ivey said she was excited for the partnership between two music cities that have a history of kinship.
“Nashville is known around the world as Music City, and songwriters are the heart of our creative culture,” Ivey said. “For years there has been a kinship between Nashville and the UK – going all the way back to the 1970’s when Paul and Linda McCartney spent six weeks here writing, recording, and visiting the Grand Ole Opry – and it continues today with music collaborations of all kinds.”
Last year’s competition finalists performed at The Cavern Club in Liverpool, a jazz club made famous in part by performance by The Beatles during their early years.
During the launch event, the Mayor of Liverpool Joanne Anderson virtually ‘passed’ to Nashville Mayor John Cooper a vintage microphone used by The Beatles during their performances at The Cavern Club.
This year’s ten finalists will perform in front of judges at the EXIT/IN on John Lennon’s birthday Oct. 9, 2022. Entries will be accepted through July 31, 2022 at tuff.earth/roadtonashville/.
Mayor Cooper said he is looking forward to seeing the performances at the end of the competition, but he is glad to see support for mental health throughout the contest.
Read:Naomi Judd, Grammy-winning matriarch of country music’s The Judds, dead at 76
“Quite sadly, our community recently lost the globally-renowned multi-talented Naomi Judd to mental illness,” Cooper said. “This is a real issue for folks in this industry. Some might feel embarrassed to talk about it, so I’m grateful that Nashville and Liverpool are shining a light on this topic and coming together to combat the stigma often associated with mental health.
“This can save lives.”
Reach reporter Molly Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @mollym_davis.