USA Songwriting Competition Winners

USA Songwriting Competition Winners

Established in 1995, the USA Songwriting Competition selects winners from 15 different song categories including pop, rock, country, r&b, jazz, world, folk, and more.

The results of the 17th Annual USA Songwriting Competition were recently announced and members of the Berklee community made an impressive showing.


Mike Schmid ’01 contest overall first-prize winner and first prize, children’s music category

Colin McCaffrey ’90 first-prize   winner, jazz category

Wendy Jill Cohen ’92 finalist, children’s music category

Gernot Wolfgang ’89 finalist, instrumental music category

Catie Offerman (current student) finalist, country music category

Leni Stern ’80 honorable mention, world music category

Andy Bianco ’88 honorable mention, jazz category

Luiz Fernando Costa e Silva

Luiz Fernando Costa e Silva (aka Nando Costa) of Juiz de Fora, Brazil, is head engineer for the Versão Acústica Studio in São João Nepomuceno, Minas Gerais, Brazil. The studio launched the label Versão Acústica in partnership with Sony Music Brazil. Visit 

Nick Suda

Nick Suda of Renton, WA, released the album Mixed Metaphors under the artist name Cloud Canvas. Visit 

Brian Paulding

Trombonist Brian Paulding of Jamaica Plain, MA, recorded with Akhil Gopal ’12 and Leon Cotter on the album People Hear What They See by Oddisee. Visit 

Sam Moss

Guitarist Sam Moss of Brattleboro, VT, won a MacDowell Colony fellowship where he composed music for the solo album The Tempest May Howl. He curated the compilation album Imaginational Anthem Volume Five. He has also toured and recorded with the Howling Kettles, who released two albums in 2012. 

Bryan Laurier

Bryan Laurier of Turner, ME, produced and mixed Bryan Laurier & the Lost Acres: Bought & Sold, featuring a number of alumni serving as engineers and performers. Visit 

Ayumi Ueda

Ayumi Ueda of Tokyo, Japan, Giorgia Renosto ’09, Annette Philip ’09, and others are part of the vocal group Women Of The World. They recently toured Japan and performed at the 2012 Beantown Jazz Festival. In the summer of 2013, they will tour Europe and return to tour Japan. For a full list of alumnae in the group, visit 

Neara Russell

Neara Russell of Hollywood, CA, is a keyboardist/backup vocalist with Bridgit Mendler and played piano in the soundtrack for the independent film Mr. Christmas, scored by Jim Briggs ’05.

Wayne Potash

Wayne Potash of Easton, MA, released the album Yes!, featuring Berklee Associate Professor Alizon Lissance and Len Rabinowitz ’77. Visit 

Sang Hyun Park

KTG Sang Hyun Park released the self-titled album KTG Sang Hyun Park in September 2012. It features faculty members David Fiuczynski and Mark Walker, plus many alumni performers.