The Road to Nashville song contest focused on mental health

An international songwriting competition connecting musicians and mental health support kicked off Monday at the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville with speeches from Mayor John Cooper and a live stream with a joint event in Liverpool, UK.

The Liverpool International Song Contest celebrates its second season this year by linking two musical cities with ‘The Road to Nashville’. Organized by the Unity of Faiths Foundation, Visit Music City and Liverpool City Council, the song contest launch event aimed to put mental health awareness front and center while celebrating songwriters and musicians at the International scale.

Competition organizer and TUFF co-founder Shamender Talwar said there was no more important time to support the mental health of musicians than now with the tragic death of Naomi Judd in April.

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Each musician who submits their song to the competition will be able to register with a network of mental health services. TUFF will connect the songwriter with a mental health practitioner in his area for three free sessions. Of the 20,000 applications last year, 600 musicians received mental health support.

“The song contest is just a cover,” Talwar said. “Every submission over the past year has had the opportunity to connect with a life coach or psychologist. Now, with the support of the Amazing Nashville Family, we’ll be helping thousands more.”

Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp President Deana Ivey said she was thrilled with the partnership between two music towns that have a related history.

Deana Ivey, president of the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corp., spoke at the launch of the Liverpool International Song Contest in Nashville, Tennessee on May 9, 2022, highlighting the two musical cities' kinship throughout history.

“Nashville is known around the world as Music City, and songwriters are central to our creative culture,” Ivey said. “For years there has been a kinship between Nashville and the UK – dating back to the 1970s when Paul and Linda McCartney spent six weeks here writing, recording and touring the Grand Ole Opry – and it continues. today with musical collaborations of all kinds.”

Finalists in last year’s competition performed at the Cavern Club in Liverpool, a jazz club made famous in part by performances by the Beatles during their early years.

At the launch event, Liverpool Mayor Joanne Anderson virtually “passed” Nashville Mayor John Cooper a vintage microphone used by The Beatles during their performances at the Cavern Club.

Nashville Mayor John Cooper spoke about supporting mental health in the entertainment industry at the launch of the Liverpool International Song Contest on May 9, 2022.

This year’s ten finalists will perform in front of judges at EXIT/IN on John Lennon’s birthday, October 9, 2022. Entries will be accepted through July 31, 2022 at

Mayor Cooper said he was looking forward to seeing the performances at the end of the competition, but was happy to see the mental health support throughout the competition.

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“Very sadly, our community recently lost the world-renowned, multi-talented Naomi Judd to mental illness,” Cooper said. “It’s a real problem for people in this industry. Some might feel embarrassed to talk about it, so I’m grateful that Nashville and Liverpool are bringing this topic to light and coming together to tackle the stigma often associated with healthcare. mental.

“It can save lives.”

Contact journalist Molly Davis at [email protected] or on Twitter @mollym_davis.

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