The results of last year’s Great American Song Contest (GASC) came through over the weekend. GASC has a different system to, for instance, the UK version of the competition. They don’t have semi-final placements at all. There are 11 winners, one per category, and 100 finalists spread between the categories. This year there were around 1800 people from all over the world entering. Most people enter multiple songs, so a modest estimate would be that they had a minimum of 5500 entries.
I kept it very modest last year, with only two entries. I entered “Before” the song I wrote together with Simon Finn into the “Adult Contemporary” category. (You can listen to the song to the right on this page, under the title “My aim with this blog”). I also entered a lyric called “Said and Done” that I wrote about in a blog a few weeks ago.
None of my entries reached the final, but when the evaluations came through I could see some progress. If GASC would have semi-final placements the same way as UKSC does, both entries would have made it to that stage. They both averaged a score around 7.5, which isn’t bad. This is what the evaluation sheet says about the rating system;
“Judges rate the components of each song on a scale from 1 to 10. A rating of ‘1’ suggests a need for major improvement, ‘5’ is average and a rating of ‘10’ signifies excellence.”
Considering another evaluation, I got for “Said and Done” in America, I was very pleased with this one. This is what the judges said;
“There’s a potentially powerful message in this lyric, but it needs to be clearly communicated and well-focused. The singer’s inner musings could apply to his personal dilemma – or to terror in the modern world. When the singer says “…this war can still be won…” what is the intended reference? The idea here is compelling but needs additional development. Two verses and a chorus seem too basic to effectively communicate the meaning. Try adding a bridge section to bolster the song’s power. Keep working on this one!”
I have decided to change the lyrics, so that it is clear to everyone that I am talking about the terror in the world. The hints I’m getting from both GASC and UKSC are that this song lyric is very close to becoming really good, so I would be stupid not to take their advice and make the structure more focused. A bridge and a few tweaks in the lyrics that are already there, could perhaps give me that sought after final place in this year’s competitions.
What makes me really happy is that I was given 8 points for “Imagery/poetics” and “Originality” for both my entries. Those are the areas of my writing into which I always put a lot of conscious effort. What I have to start to remember is not to let that effort cost me in other areas that are just as important.
I liked the encouraging comment ending the evaluation of “Before”. It said; “Keep writing and learning the craft.”
That is exactly what this year is about. Learning the craft and listening to constructive criticism and take on board the parts where I know I need to do better.
Take care until next time and happy writing!