The Great American Song Contest

 
       
 
Apr 03, 2018, 10:30 AM

I entered several songs into the Great American Song Contest 2017 because I’d been told it was totally legit. None of them were even finalists and interestingly I noticed that out of 100 finalists only two or three were from the UK.

One of my songs is called ‘Fred Astaire’ - here it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mo4ic7eILUQ

My name is James Stretten - I am a bloke. I have a #### voice so on this song I worked with a singer whose name is Gina who is a woman and who sounds exactly like a woman. The GASC sends song appraisals to all entrants. This is a verbatim extract of what they wrote to me about ‘Fred Astaire’: “Less impressive is the lyrical story, which feels superficial. Lines like ‘Now he’s noticed me across the floor’ might leave astute listeners to wonder if the singer is gay”.

What does that tell you? I suspect they follow a similar policy to that old joke about how to avoid employing unlucky people by throwing away half the applications. I’m not saying they throw anything away, but it’s obvious in this case that they didn’t bother to actually listen to the track, saw my bloke’s name at the top, skimmed through the lyrics and concluded it was me writing about wanting another bloke to ask me to dance.

I am sick and tired of all the scammers out there making money out of exploiting people’s dreams of making it in the music business.

 
     
James Stretten Joined Apr 03, 2018
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Apr 03, 2018, 11:37 AM

I could be wrong , but I suspect maybe this is your disappointment talking . I listened to the song a couple times , and I think the song has a great vibe , very good production , and an excellent brass section , but I’m a wondering if these kinda songwriting competitions are the right place for this type of song . it feels more like a party song to me . I’m no expert , but because of the great vibe / production of the song , you might be better off looking for licensing opportunities . on a different note , I was kinda surprised , to find out , its a girl singing , coz I thought it was an effeminate male , so I have to agree with them on that one , but I’m not sure what difference that makes anyway

 
     
sandor nevery Joined Jun 08, 2014
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Apr 03, 2018, 12:46 PM

I can’t tell you anything on this because I haven’t heard the song but cultural issues and avoiding controversy could play into it. If, as you say, the voice is effiminent, it might be taken as something other than it is. People are trying to avoid lawsuits because anything these days seem to upset someone.

Most likely is it simply didn’t pass the muster of the judges. You have to remember that all judges are just people. They have tastes, dislikes, personal feelings like every one. They also have to go on their own experiences. If it is a “party song”, those are usually discredited in the eyes of some judges that simply don’t like that kind of song. In my days of judging, I would be hesitant to pass on songs with negative or angry vibes. Already so many of those out there, I just didn’t care for them. But there were also other judges getting the same songs, so if I could have been overridden by others. In almost any contest you are dealing with a PANEL of people hearing the same song independently. So it is not just one person making a decision.

Something to keep in mind might be cultural. In the UK and other areas around the world, the music is quite different than it might be in America, the same way it might be if an American entered a European contest of some sort. There are styles that are different, phrasing and textures that might not fit into the judges criteria. Again in my own case, sometimes getting songs that might be virtual funeral dirges, and would in no way find a home in this area, would be discarded. Same could be with language, subject matter, etc. I’ve heard people use four letter words all the way through the song, and sometimes these were in the “CHRISTIAN” division. I’ve heard heavy metal and rap/hip/hop songs that were so debasing of women, different sexes, cultures, etc. that you can’t imagine anyone ever writing them. much less paying to submit them for a contest. Some get downright scary. I’ve heard songs and met some writer/artists that you would not be surprised if they ended up as the next mass shooter. A lot of very odd people out there, and many gravitate to the arts to verbalize their frustrations with life.
There are criteria in every contests. The recordings do play a part even though they say they don’t. The reason is that most people who don’t do better recordings on their songs usually don’t have the songs in the first place. And some time it is just personal taste.

Contests are very subjective and it is hard to say about “legitimacy.” To some people, it is everything. To a lot of others, it is simply a part of growing as a writer/artist. Professionals don’t do them, because they have advanced past that stage in their career, and also if you have had cuts, or written in a professional capacity, are prohibited from participating.  Contests are usually something you do in the first few years, then you get into the “contest” of the real world.

But anyone can find out how subjective all this is by watching any of the well known AMERICAN (CANADIAN/BRITAIN/EUROPEAN) Idol, or any of the contests out there. You can watch and some people will blow you away, but the judges simply are a “so what?” And some of the contestants who will make you INSANE for them even being on, on will keep going on and on and on, sometimes even winning.

All contests, like life, are very subjective. The key is to NOT get too bogged down by one contest, one song, one placement, one anything. That is not a career. A career are thousands upon thousands of “NO’S” and hopefully a few “yes’.”

MAB

 
     
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MBarne4908 Joined Jul 29, 2010
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Apr 06, 2018, 08:15 PM

First, I liked the song.  As noted by others, it has a good energy to it, and the video had a lot of excellent clips - I especially liked the old folks on the beach and the cat, mostly because they looked like they were having fun just like Fred and Rita.  It said to me that anyone can have fun and dance.  I was not particularly drawn into the story though.  The words were secondary to the groove.

You can’t take competitions too seriously.  It comes down to personal taste, and what the judge happens to listen to in the moments when they are focused.  I wouldn’t take much stock in what they say - if you find value in the feedback use it.  If you don’t, ignore it. 

Your singer sounds female to me, but then the first time I heard Neil Sedaka as a kid I thought he was a woman, so what do I know :)

 
     
Russell Shiffer Joined Apr 03, 2018
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Apr 06, 2018, 10:57 PM

I really enjoyed the song and the video. I wonder if the fact that it was about Fred Astaire might have played a role. The judges could have been looking for something a bit more relevant for today’s “yoof,” many of whom might not even know who Fred Astaire was.

I’m on the fence about the sex of the singer. I thought it was a bloke at first (except I didn’t because you mentioned above that it wasn’t). Later it sounded more like a girl. Then back to more like a bloke. It didn’t matter to me.

 
     
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Gavin Sinclair Joined Dec 02, 2014
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Apr 07, 2018, 06:54 AM

gavin@.....personally i don’t think it has much to do with the ‘‘fred astaire’’ song title , coz I remember ten years ago when mika had a big hit with the song ‘‘grace kelly’’ , and I’m pretty sure a lot of the kids who bought that song , didn’t know who grace Kelly was

 
     
sandor nevery Joined Jun 08, 2014
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