This weekend, Muse Music Cafe will host its Songwriter Showdown, a three-day event featuring some of Provo’s emerging musicians.
This is the second songwriting competition put on by Muse’s new owners, the first having taken place last October. The preliminary rounds for this year’s showdown take place Thursday and Friday and the finals will be held Saturday. The elimination rounds will feature six songwriters each night, all vying for the top two spots. On Saturday, the finalists will each play a full set and compete for the grand prize — $150 and recording time in the Muse studio. A panel of judges and an audience vote will decide the winner.
The judges will score the event based on lyrics, melody, chords and song structure. Among others, the panel of judges will include Colin Hatch, owner of Muse Music and a recent runner-up in the John Lennon Songwriting Competition, as well as Cody Rigby, a reputable local songwriter and frontman for Back Chat.
Rigby is known for his authentic performances and genuine lyrics, which are some of the traits he said he will be looking for as a judge this weekend.
“What I want to see most is honesty in songwriting and performance,” he said. “It’s really important that they’ve written songs that come from an honest, emotional place and that perform it in a way that they make a real connection with the audience.”
According to Hatch, the purpose of the competition is to give young artists exposure and the opportunity to showcase their talent.
“There is some really amazing talent out there to discover,” Hatch said. “The biggest thing for the performers is to get exposed to a new crowd. Some of them are already established in the scene, but the others will hopefully realize they have the talent to come and play shows every month and a half or so.”
Last year’s winner, Brady Parks, has since become a solid fixture in Provo music, forming a band that is set to release an album on Feb. 24 at Muse.
“Playing the Songwriter Showdown last year opened a huge door for me,” Parks said. “I was able to meet some people and we formed a band and made the Velour Battle of the Band finals. Last month we were able to open for Matt Costa, but it all started at the Songwriter Showdown.”
This year’s event promises to be a treat for concertgoers, especially those who prefer a more intimate listening experience. For those performing, it’s sure to be a positive experience, and hopefully a springboard to success in the local music scene.
The showdown runs Feb. 9-11. The cover charge is $6, or you can buy a pass for all three nights for $15. Doors open at 8 p.m.