International song contest links Nashville and Liverpool

Finalists will battle it out for the Liverpool International Song Contest on John Lennon’s birthday, October 9.

The Beatles (PA)

By Kim Pilling, PA

A global competition linking the famed music cities of Nashville and Liverpool has been launched.

The Liverpool International Song Contest will culminate with the top 10 finalists battling it out in the home of country music on John Lennon’s birthdate on October 9.

It follows in the footsteps of last year’s inaugural event staged at Liverpool’s Cavern Club and inspired by the ex-Beatle’s peace anthem Imagine.

More than 20,000 entries were submitted from 28 countries, with Bolton’s James Holt chosen as the winner.

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The focus for this year’s contest, to be held at Nashville’s Exit/In venue, is to advocate for mental health during the search for songwriting talent.

Entrants will be offered the option of complementary sessions with a psychologist or life coach.

Mayor of Liverpool, Joanne Anderson, said: “What a fantastic mission to be supporting. Liverpool is a city of music. Building a relationship with Nashville is exciting.

“We are looking forward to a long-term relationship. I’m also looking forward to getting to share a message of love and hope.”

A statue of the Beatles in Liverpool (Peter Byrne/PA)

Her US counterpart, mayor of Nashville John Cooper, said: “Two years ago the pandemic hit Nashville and the music was temporarily silenced. Now, we are back and louder than ever but the human and emotional recovery has been difficult.

“We have seen an increase in depression within our entertainment industry. Quite recently our community lost the world-renowned and multi-talented Naomi Judd to mental illness.

“This is a real issue for individuals in this industry. I am grateful that Nashville and Liverpool are shining a light on this topic and coming together to combat the stigma often associated with mental health. This can save lives.”

Shamender Talwar, co-founder of event organisers TUFF (Unity of Faiths Foundation), said: “We are very honoured and proud to be a bridge of togetherness between these wonderful musical cities. Many thousands of musicians/songwriters could be supported through our joint project.”

Further details can be found at

The deadline for entries is July 31.

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