The Johnny Mercer Foundation and the American Music Theater Project at Northwestern University are once again seeking the nation’s most talented young songwriters and writing teams for the Johnny Mercer Foundation Songwriters Project, now in its 17th year. The free, week-long songwriting workshop returns to Northwestern’s Evanston campus June 19-25.
The program is accepting applications until February 28 from aspiring songwriters, ages 18 to 30, working in any style of popular music and theater. The application form, guidelines and full details are available online on the project website.
In 2020 and 2021, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the project moved to virtual masterclasses and songwriting sessions, with remote participation from songwriters and master teachers from around the world. . The programs culminated in a free virtual songwriter concert, currently available to stream on YouTube.
“We will be very vigilant amid this pandemic, but anticipate by late spring that we will be able to meet in person and adhere to COVID-19 health and safety protocols,” said Jonathan Brielle, Executive Vice President. by JMF. “Although our songwriters and teachers have graciously adapted over the past two years, we look forward to returning this year in person.”
“Bringing the project back to campus this year is very important to us,” said AMTP producer Brannon Bowers. “While our virtual years have been successful, the in-person version of our workshop offers songwriters a unique residency experience, with more opportunities for impromptu and in-depth conversations about their work.”
The program honors the legacy of Johnny Mercer by fostering the tradition of mentorship in which Mercer has engaged throughout his career. Master teachers have included award-winning artists Stephen Bray, Craig Carnelia, Marcy Heisler, Jon Lind, Andrew Lippa, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Amanda McBroom, Shelly Peiken, Lindy Robbins, Lari White and David Zippel. The project culminates with a streaming performance of the contestants’ songs as well as a group rendition of Mercer’s classic, “Moon River.”
The program is free for songwriters selected through the generosity of the Johnny Mercer Foundation. Last year, more than 200 candidates applied for the 12 places in the prestigious programme, which has been a catalyst for the careers of many artists. Alumni of the program include Tony, Oscar and Golden Globe award winners Benj Pasek and Justin Paul; Fred Ebb Award winners Sam Willmott and Shaina Taub; Latin Grammy Award winners Obed Bermudez and singer/actress Jennifer Peña; and 14 Jonathan Larson Award winners, including Nikko Benson, Emily Gardner Xu Hall, Michael Kooman and Christopher Dimond.