The Braver Angels Songwriting Contest

Music Contest

GRAND PRIZE: $500

Contest open: May 14TH -July 4TH

View Current Entries HERE

“With songs… the work of Braver Angels can be brought to a different level. It can broaden, spread and bring hearts together more powerfully than ever before.” 

–Peter Yarrow

Braver Angels is a fast-growing national organization with a mission to depolarize America. We’ve brought together thousands of “Red” and “Blue” citizens through workshops, debates, live and online events. Recently, we changed our name from “Better Angels” to “Braver Angels.” Our new name still hearkens back to Abraham Lincoln’s call to use our Better Angels, but adds the important reminder that answering this call takes courage. 

At this moment of crisis, we want to inspire Americans to answer Braver Angels’ call through music. Therefore, from May 14 through July 4th, we’re running a national songwriting competition asking artists to:

submit a video of an original song in the spirit of Braver Angels

We welcome voices across the political spectrum and in all genres, from jazz, rock, americana, spoken word, country, to hip-hop. Your song doesn’t need to use our literal name, but should reflect our mission. For example, can you share a story about someone you love whose politics differ? Can you bravely sing about your own beliefs in a way that doesn’t devalue those of others? Can your music draw different people together? Can your music inspire honest patriotism and a hope for our country’s future? To get more ideas, learn about our organization HERE

The 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners will receive cash prizes of $500, $250, and $100 respectively, be interviewed and featured on our widely distributed Braver Angels podcast, and perform in a virtual concert with Peter Yarrow and Steve Seskin. In addition, winners and other selected submissions will be highlighted on the Braver Angels website, social media channels, email blasts, and more. 

Our “Red and “Blue” judging panel includes the legendary Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul and Mary; grammy-nominated songwriter Steve Seskin; and hit songwriter Aaron Barkeralong with other accomplished performing artists (watch Peter Yarrow sing for our contest here). They will evaluate each song based on musical and performance quality, originality, and expressiveness of Braver Angels’ spirit. 

“We are hoping you will write songs that allow people to feel the beauty and joy of breaking through barriers and standing together, knowing with certainty that our hearts and good intentions are united.  Such songs have, in the past, brought people together to change history, built a more caring society, and leapt forward to redress past inequities. With your help, your talent, and your music, together as one, let us do this once more. Let us heal and inspire our country with a music and a message that helps us reclaim the good heart and integrity of our citizenry and our country”

-Peter Yarrow

Submit Your Song

You must be a Braver Angels member to enter the songwriting contest. Log in or join now. Anyone can become a member for just $12!

Contest details

Timeline: 

  • The Braver Angels (“BA”) Songwriting Contest will run at least from May 14th through July 4th, with the possibility of extension. 
  • Winners will be announced by the end of August.

Prizes: 

  • Our judging committee will select a first, second, and third place winners to receive cash prizes (respectively $500, $250, and $100). In addition, winning songs and songwriters will be featured in a BA Angels podcast and throughout our social media platforms. At our discretion, we may also select additional submissions for special recognition. Artists retain full copyright and ownership of their original work. Entry constitutes permission to use winners’ names, likenesses, and voices throughout this competition and for future advertising and publicity purposes without additional compensation. 
  • If multiple people submit an entry, prizes will be awarded jointly; the allocation of prizes is the winners’ responsibility.

Cost: 

  • Entry is free for BA Members. 
  • For non-members, the cost is simply that of BA Membership ($12/yr)

Eligibility:

  • Our contest is open to amateur and professional songwriters who are 18 or older. Paid staff of BA and our judges–as well as staff and judge’s families–may not submit entries. 
  • Only one entry per songwriter. However, you can sing another songwriter’s song for them, if you like, but also submit another song, as a songwriter, yourself. 
  • Songwriters can be different from performers. However, the person submitting the song should be the songwriter, whether or not she/he sings her/his song.
  • To enter, you must be willing to participate in our podcast (through an interview) and have your video shared on all our media platforms. 
  • We are seeking originals, not covers. However, we will consider songs with sampling and parodies. 
  • Videos may not exceed six (6) minutes in length. No need to include an introduction within the video. Please let the song speak for itself.
  • Your video must feature a live performer (however, you may add tracks digitally).

Judging:

  • Submissions will be judged by a panel of music and BA experts. In the BA tradition, we will include those who identify as “red” and “blue” on our judging committee. Our judges will evaluate songs based on the excellence of the songwriting (both music and lyrics), performance quality, creativity/originality, and reflecting the spirit of BA. We are open to all genres.
  • While we are not expecting professionally recorded songs/videos, we will consider production quality because we intend to share our selections. However, if we are considering sharing your song in a video that we consider to be of compromised quality, we may give you the opportunity to re-do your video, and we will do our best to help you improve its quality.

Notification:

  • Winners will be notified by email and must agree to be featured on the BA podcast and other social media channels within 7 days. Please do not submit a song if you are unwilling or unable to be a part of this important aspect of our bringing your song to the attention of others in these ways. 

Purpose of Contest:

  • Some songwriting contests are money-making enterprises for the organizers, but Braver Angels’ goal is different. We wish to support musicians while raising public awareness of our work, our objectives, and our mission. Therefore, entry is free for members and held to what we feel is a minimum and affordable cost of membership ($12) for non-members.