Sign Ups - Tennessee Songwriters Week Qualifying Round

Songwriters can now sign up for the 2024 Tennessee Songwriters Week Qualifying Rounds!

Please note our songwriters sign ups are full for 2024.

Tennessee Songwriters Week is a celebration of the songwriters and craft that put Tennessee on the map, celebrated with qualifying rounds, then showcases during the last full week of February. The goal of Tennessee Songwriters Week is to support music venues, support songwriters with live performances, drive visitation and inspire travelers to experience the state’s music stories, history, attractions and venues.

Here are some guidelines specific to the qualifying round in Cleveland, Tennessee. 

  • Each artist will perform one original song with music and lyrics.
  • No more than three performers will be on stage at one time and one of those performers must be the songwriter.
  • No drums that require setup will be allowed in the performances. Only handheld, carryon drums will be allowed.
  • No soundcheck or warm up time on stage is provided. A green room will be provided for tuning and warm up.
  • The first 20 songwriters whose submission is received and vetted by a screening committee will be selected to perform.
  • The sample of your work submitted upon application does not have to be the song that will be entered into competition.
  • You may only register for one qualifying round. Space is limited and you cannot take up space at two qualifying events. Registration lists are shared with state organizers.
  • The winners of our Qualifying Round in Cleveland, TN will advance to the Showcase Round at the Bijou Theater in Knoxville on February 19.

Important Dates:

  • Dec. 14, 2023-Jan. 21, 2024 – Songwriters can start signing up for qualifying rounds across the state (songwriters cannot sign-up and perform at multiple qualifying rounds)
  • Jan. 21-Feb. 3, 2024 – Songwriters perform at qualifying rounds across the state.Tennessee Tourism and the venues will reach out to collect information from songwriters, including contact information, bio, headshot, lyric sheet of song submission, equipment/tech/av needs and photo and video release form. Select songwriters who win at qualifying rounds will advance to showcase events.
  • Feb. 18-24, 2024 – Tennessee Songwriters Week Showcases in 7 cities across the state:Lafayette’s Music Room in Memphis, Franklin Theatre in Franklin, The Temple Theatre in Portland, Songbirds Foundation in Chattanooga, The Bijou in Knoxville, Ole Red in Gatlinburg and The Down Home in Johnson City. (Tennessee Tourism and venue will contact songwriters regarding next steps re: which venue you will perform at, as well as timing of arrival, check-in info and sound check. Please note, if you win at the showcase event, you will need to fill out a W2 for prize info.
    March 2024 (date TBA) – Finale

How Your Song Will be Judged:

  • Song Quality scored on a scale of 1-10: Considering lyrical originality, lack of cliches and clarity of the narrative;
  • Performance score on a scale of 1-6: Considering instrumental sound (voice or musical instrument), ability of the audience to audibly understand the lyrics and the Entrants connection with the audience
  • Entrant must sing one (1) original song not to exceed five (5) minutes which Entrant owns/retains the rights to perform and either wrote or co-wrote. Entrant may sing acapella or have live accompaniment. Light percussion is allowed if there is no set-up time necessary. Entrant may bring up to two (2) performers to play an instrument. Back up tracks are permitted if it is original work
  • The original song must not disparage any group of persons, religion, be considered inflammatory or inappropriate
  • The original song will be performed at every stage of the competition, at the qualifying round, showcase and finale
  • Entrant must provide lyrics to song ahead of the qualifying round

Prizing Info:

  • Each of the seven (7) prize winners will receive a two (2) night hotel stay located near The Bluebird Cafe for date(s) to be determined once Finale is confirmed. Winners will receive two (2) single show tickets to a Saturday, March ?, 2024 show at the Bluebird Cafe. Each of the seven (7) prize winners will also receive a membership to the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) which will include mentoring sessions, a workshop, and a $100.00 gift card. Finally, each of the seven (7) prize winners will receive a branded commemorative guitar from Taylor Guitars. Finale songwriters will perform at the finale and be placed first, second or third.

Finale in March 2024

  • March ?, 2024
  • Finalists will be required to fill out W2 (following showcase from above)
  • Finalists may also be filmed or interviewed ahead of the finale that weekend for promotional material for Tennessee Songwriters Week
  • Finalists’ guest allotment will be determined by staff of The Bluebird Cafe

Next Steps after Tennessee Songwriters Week

  • Please take advantage of NSAI membership opportunities
  • Networking opportunities with other songwriters
  • Tennessee Tourism to reach out regarding ambassador opportunities and potential opportunities to perform at other festivals and performances across the state
  • Tennessee Tourism to invite you to be special guests at Tennessee Songwriters Week 2025 showcase venues where each finalist won to perform one or two original songs