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17th Annual Johnny Mercer Songwriters Project Seeks Submissions For 2022 Workshop

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Applications open now through February 28, 2022.

17th Annual Johnny Mercer Songwriters Project Seeks Submissions For 2022 Workshop

The Johnny Mercer Foundation and the American Music Theatre Project at Northwestern University once again seek out the nation's most talented young songwriters and writing teams for the Johnny Mercer Foundation Songwriters Project, now in its 17th year. The free weeklong songwriting workshop returns to Northwestern's Evanston campus from June 19-25.

The program is accepting applications through Feb. 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 at the Project's website.


In 2020 and 2021, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Project transitioned to virtual master classes and writing sessions, with the songwriters and master teachers participating remotely from across the world. Programs culminated in a free Songwriters in Virtual Concert, currently available to stream on YouTube.

"We will be very vigilant in the midst of this pandemic, but anticipate by the end of spring we will be able to gather in person and meet the COVID-19 health and safety protocols," said Jonathan Brielle, executive vice president of JMF. "Although our songwriters and teachers gracefully adapted these 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 Brannon Bowers, AMTP producer. "While our virtual years were 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 that Mercer was committed to 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 streamed performance of participants' songs plus a group rendition of the Mercer classic, "Moon River."

The program is free-of-charge to selected songwriters through the generosity of the Johnny Mercer Foundation. Last year, over 200 applicants applied for the 12 spots in the prestigious program, which has been a catalyst to the careers of many artists. Among the program alumni are 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.


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