A Contest Dedicated to Crossing Divides
A Songwriting Contest.
A Week of Free Workshops.
A Way to Bring Music Communities Together.

Song Contest

Song Contest







FAQs & Rules



Braver Angels is a national movement to bridge the partisan divide. Braver Angels Music (BAM) extends that mission into the arts through community-building events and partnerships with artists whose work or persona embody the spirit of the organization.

In 2020, our team held its first songwriting contest—and since we were so delighted by the hundreds of songs submitted from all over the country, we’re now excited to announce our 2023 songwriting contest! Braver Angels Music is looking for well-crafted songs that inspire us to look beyond our divisions. We understand that art is broader than politics, so we invite you to submit songs that value the voices across these divides, whether political or social. There are cash prizes, and the grand prize winner will be invited to perform at our national convention in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, this July.

We’re also offering a week of workshops and events that are free to contest applicants. These events—including seminars with music software company Ableton, music marketing guru Andrew Southworth, and some of our celebrity judges—target serious musicians interested in honing valuable skills, meeting other contestants, and learning about being a cultural leader in the bridge-building space. 

Last, we want you to know why we spent so much time building this program. If the divisions in politics are most often presented in binaries, art communities more  closely resemble a mosaic. Everything we present here has been designed specifically to connect with as many music communities as we can. This program is an invitation for you to bring both your songs and your ideas.

We believe that artists can play a key role in healing the divisions in this country! Learn more below, become a Braver Angels member ($12 application fee), and apply now

We are no longer taking submissions for the 2023 song contest, but scroll down to sign up for the free upcoming workshops!


We partnered with judges who are artists & social leaders—people who understand the challenges of creating art that both connects with listeners & does good in the world. 

Workshops & Events

May 28 - June 4

Free for everyone! Click the title to sign up.

Ableton Live For Songwriters (May 30 @ 8 p.m. ET)

Learn how Ableton Live can empower and enhance your creativity as a songwriter. Explore tools to support better workflows for writing, as well as live streaming and stage performances. Ableton has generously partnered with us to cover this workshop, led by the artist Seersha.

Making a Living while Making Change: Tapping the Social Change Marketplace (June 3 @ 2 p.m. ET)

Would you like to turn your passion for a cause into a sustainable initiative that serves your community and supports your work? Explore what it takes to access the $2 trillion 'social good' industry in this interactive session with Liz Stookey Sunde, daughter of Noel Paul Stookey (Peter, Paul & Mary) and Executive Director of Music to Life, a national nonprofit that helps cause-driven musicians realize their bold visions for change.

Facebook to TikTok: Online Advertising for Musicians (June 2 @ 8 p.m. ET)

Feeling lost in the current music marketing landscape? We’ll start with an overview and then look at Andrew Southworth's preferred marketing methods. Learn which metrics matter the most on Spotify and how you can optimize Spotify's algorithm using Facebook ads. We'll also cover budget allocation, TikTok ads, YouTube ads, and some free strategies.

Zoom Sitdown with Celebrity Judges (May 31 @ 9 p.m. ET)

This is your chance to have a conversation with the contest's celebrity judges. What are you interested in learning about their approach to their craft or their cultural engagement?

Depolarizing Within Workshop (June 1 @ 8 p.m. ET)

Attend one of Braver Angel's key workshops that helps us identify some of our own biases and navigate a polarized world. 

SongSquare (May 29 @ 8 p.m. ET)

Pull up a chair and bring a song! In this virtual song circle, which Braver Angels Music hosts on a monthly basis, we'll meet and listen to the other amazing contestants.

Contest Finale (June 4 @ 7 p.m. ET)

Come one, come all! We'll end the week with a Zoom event where everyone is welcome—judges, contestants, leadership, members, and friends! Songwriting contest winners will be announced at the end.

Winners announced June 4th!


Grand Prize
$1000 cash prize
Invitation to perform at the Braver Angels national convention (travel stipend included)

Top Red Contestant Song
$500 cash prize

Top Blue Contestant Song
$500 cash prize


Both the contest and any affiliated events are free to Braver Angels members, and membership is the only requirement. It’s only $12 and easy to join! Apply here.

We want this contest to be less about submission fees and more about community. Our hopes is that your Braver Angels membership will provide value back to you!

  1. Your song must be an original or an original co-write.
  2. We are only taking online submissions. You can submit an audio file (*.mp3, *.wav, etc) or a link to a video you’ve uploaded to YouTube.
  3. Only one song submission per contestant. If there are multiple submissions from a contestant, only the first submission from that contestant will be eligible.
  4. This is open to all songwriters—but judges, members of the music team, and involved volunteers are not eligible.
  5. Winners will be chosen by our panel of judges, with the music team reserving the right to vote in the event of a tie.
  6. Winners will be announced on June 4th, 2023, after which each entrant will receive an email announcing the winners list. Winners have 2 weeks (14 days) to respond. Failure to respond could result in immediate disqualification, and in this case an alternate winner will be selected.
  7. Division of prizes are the responsibility of the winner. Taxes are winners responsibility.
  8. Entry constitutes permission to use winners’ names, likeness, and voices for future publicity and advertising purposes without additional compensation.
  9. Overall grand prize winner will receive a $1000 cash prize and an invitation to play at the 2023 national convention. There will also be top red & blue  songwriter prizes where winners will be awarded $500 cash for each category. 
As submissions are evaluated, we’ll be on the lookout for songs that are…

  • Skillful – Is it a technically strong example of its genre, with good contrast or build between sections? 
  • Memorable – Does it have a catchy melody or rhythm that “stays with” the listener? Maybe it inspires listeners to sing along?
  • Poetic – Does it have understandable, fresh lyrics that make good use of literary devices like rhyme, rhythm, & metaphor?
  • Compelling – Overall, is it an engaging performance or arrangement with a captivating effect?
  • Inviting – Could listeners with different politics appreciate & enjoy this song all the way through? 

Additional notes:

  • Profanity – we require language to be acceptable for U.S. public radio, but we will also look at profanity on a case-by-case basis. If we determine that the language used is not appropriate for the Braver Angels platforms, we reserve the right to  disqualify the song.
  • Braver Angels values – The “Inviting” criteria (see above) is how we incorporate Braver Angels values into our judging. This category will be weighted slightly more heavily than the other categories in the final score .

We are accepting submissions through May 19, 2023 (extend from original date May 12th). Winners will be announced on June 4, 2023. Each contestant will receive an email with a list of the winners.

Yes! We’d love to see you at the workshops. Drop your email here to sign up if you don’t plan on submitting a song.

Braver Angels is an organization dedicated to political balance at all levels. We understand balance can be a difficult fit in the arts world, but we think it’s important to still represent those values. However, the grand prize is available to all contestants regardless of affiliation—and when you submit, there’s no requirement to fit yourself into a strict political affiliation at all.

Yes, we love cross-partisan collaborations! During our last contest, we were excited to give these collaborations a special spotlight in Braver Angels media—and we can’t wait to do the same this year, whether through extra blog features, our email newsletter, podcasts, or social media.

All submitted songs, regardless of the writer’s political affiliation or lack thereof, are eligible for the grand prize. The red/blue prizes are reserved strictly for reds and blues, respectively. 

For questions or more information:

Braver Angels Music Team

Braver Angels Support