Get Competitive With Your Original Songs

YouTube star Sarah Bella’s tips for success in spreading the word about your music.

How do you get your foot in the door at singer-songwriter competitons?

Sarah Bella knows how – she’s one of ten finalists (out of 17,000!) at Guitar Center’s massive competition.

She’s on her way to LA now to meet Grammy award winning producer John Shanks and perform her music.

We asked Sarah to tell us how other singer-songwriters can get more exposure.

How did you hear about this competition?
In this case, I heard about the contest through family members who saw the advertisement. There are Tons of songwriting contests – google will bring up plenty. I don’t know of many Singer / songwriter contests, this was a rare opportunity, but an internet search is the best way to find out.

What did you have to submit – was it all on-line?
Yes, I just needed to link a video of myself performing an original song. I also linked my other social networking sites.

Do you get to practice in their venue first – or do you have to go on cold?
All the finalists will be able to do a sound check before the show starts. I just listen to the balance of guitar and vocals. I want to make sure you can hear both clearly, and I always hope for a great mic that really showcases the vocals.

Do you get to bring your own mic – or control any technical parameters for your live?
Everything is provided for us, except the instrument we play. I will bring my Taylor guitar to perform with.

What will you choose to perform – and what do you base that decision upon?
I have three songs I am debating between; I probably won’t make my final decision until that day. I’ve never liked set lists, I’d rather go off the crowd and the emotion that is in the atmosphere and base my decision off that.

After this contest do you think you will try to enter more?
I’m always open to songwriting contests and will continue to pursue any contest or event that may open more doors.

What will you do to get into the right frame of mind to do your best with your music on that day?
I’ll run through the song or songs earlier in the day so I feel prepared, and I like to drink something warm, like a cup of coffee. This weekend, I’m sure I’ll say a quick prayer before the show as well!

What do you recommend for other singer-songwriters to get their music into the limelight?
I recommend that each songwriter take full advantage of the resources around them, especially the internet. Build a fan base and continue to keep your listeners engaged and coming back for more. You never know who’s listening!

Useful Links

Songwriter’s Block?

Sarah Bella’s Songwriting Blog

Guitar Center’s Ten Finalists

Sarah Bella is a singer-songwriter from Michigan with a rapidly growing YouTube fan base. Her recently featured original song, Time Hasn’t Moved, has had over 300,000 views. Sarah’s songwriting recently caught the attention of the film industry and she’s now written the theme song for the independent film Rancho D Amour. Sarah is also a recent winner of “Detroit’s Got Talent” and, as a result, will be performing two of her original songs at the Detroit Pistons’ Game! Check out Sarah’s many original songs on YouTube.

  • Ed

    Amazing! Well in Costa Rica there aren’t competitions nor companies that support composers. What would you recommend in that case? are there any contest that accept people outside the US?

  • Sarah Bella

    Yes Ed! Check out the International Songwriting contest, they accept entries worldwide!