Closing Date: 31st July 2022


PRESS RELEASE: Global Music Cities “Come Together” to tackle the pandemic of mental health with The Road to Nashville, Season 2 of the Liverpool International Song Contest 

A global historic project is being launched, linking Nashville & Liverpool together to support musicians & songwriters by advancing mental health awareness while promoting diversity and understanding. Live-streamed simultaneously in both Nashville USA at 10:30 CST & Liverpool U.K. at 16:30 GMT on May 9, 2022, a press conference announced a joint initiative by both mayors from the biggest music cities in the world. The mission is to advocate for mental health while also championing the search for the best songwriters from around the globe. 

The Road to Nashville – Liverpool International Song Contest 2022 is a seven month project, which highlights original material by global songwriters & musicians with a unique infrastructure to support them with mental health services and counseling, as well as submitting their songs throughout the process of the international song contest.

With May marking Mental Health Awareness Month, the timing is perfect to ignite this initiative especially given the tragic news that recently struck the Nashville and country music community. The project kicked off May 9 with a live stream launch between Liverpool, hosted at the British Music Experience & Nashville, anchored at the Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum. Presented by The Unity of Faiths Foundation (TUFF), Visit Music City and the Liverpool City Council, the contest was initiated in an effort to create a community of kindness spanning Liverpool to Nashville in the spirit of John Lennon. 

As a display of the unity between the cities, the Mayor of Liverpool Joanne Anderson passed to Nashville Mayor John Cooper a special vintage microphone used by The Beatles when they performed at The Cavern Club in Liverpool. As a show of support from Nashville, a resolution was read by Metro Councilman Jeff Syracuse at the most recent Metropolitan Nashville City Council Meeting stating “that the Metropolitan Council hereby goes on record as showing their support for the Liverpool International Song Contest – Road to Nashville 2022.”

Songwriters can submit their songs starting today with the final deadline set for July 31, 2022. The top ten finalists will perform live before judges in Nashville at the Legendary EXIT/IN on John Lennon’s birthday Oct. 9, 2022. When writers are submitting their content for review in the contest, they will be presented with a prompt asking if they are interested in meeting with a mental health professional.  Should they select that option, upon submission the TUFF team will connect with the songwriter to set them up with complimentary sessions with a psychologist. 

Last year, the project took place in Liverpool U.K, receiving over 20,000 song submissions from 28 countries with over 6.7 million hashtags of their branded #Kind20. The top ten were chosen by experts from all the partners and the overseas contestants were also flown into Liverpool to perform live at legendary The Cavern Club. The top prize for the inaugural contest went to James Holt for his song “Make My Day.” To view the itv News profile on James and his performance at The Cavern Club, click here.

TUFF is the British charity responsible for the project and also serving as the bridge between Nashville & Liverpool. Dr. Shamender Talwar, co-founder of TUFF said, “We are very honored and proud to be a bridge of togetherness between these wonderful musical cities. Many thousands of musicians/songwriters could be supported through our joint project.”

“Nashville is known around the world as Music City, and songwriters are the heart of our creative culture,” said Deana Ivey, President, Nashville Convention & Visitors Corp. “We are honored to partner with our friends in Liverpool to bring awareness to the mental health needs of our music community here in Nashville and to songwriters worldwide. For years there has been a kinship between Nashville and the UK – going all the way back to the 1970’s when Paul and Linda McCartney spent six weeks here writing, recording, and visiting the Grand Ole Opry – and it continues today with music collaborations of all kinds. We are grateful to be a part of a transatlantic collaboration like this one that will have an impact and make a meaningful difference.”

The Road to Nashville – Liverpool International Song Contest is proud to partner with BMI (Broadcast Music Inc), The Cavern Club, Culture Liverpool, EXIT/IN, LIPA, Liverpool City Council, Metropolitan Nashville City Council, Musicians Hall of Fame & Museum, Nashville CVC and SAE Institute Global for the 2022 contest. 


About Liverpool International Song Contest

Last year, Liverpool City Council played a role in supporting the International Song for Kindness which was created by the charity TUFF (The Unity of Faiths Foundation) www.tuff.earth to support their wider goals of empowering young people and promoting acceptance, equality and respect for other cultures. 

The Liverpool International Song Contest is a vehicle used to tackle discrimination and the stigma of mental illness, providing support for those most in need and developing a bespoke mental health service infrastructure specifically tailored toward those in the creative sector. Participants in the 2020/21 Liverpool International Song Contest were invited to attend one of 23 workshops across the Liverpool City region, delivered by TUFFs Music division and led by TUFFs co-founders Anna Prior &  Dr. Shamender Talwar FRSA (renowned social psychologist) and Liverpool based producer Daniel Xander BSc MA (TUFFs Head of Music). These engaging workshops provided education in music, production and human values. In addition, they provided education on mental health and one to one counselling with mental health practitioners. As well as the thousands who attended the in-person workshops, TUFF also provided an online version of the syllabus for those unable to attend through medical reasons, covid-19 and/or mental health disorders such as social anxiety and depression. This online digital format provided people with the same opportunities and one to one counselling, delivered in a way that best suited their needs.

The connection with Liverpool came about because TUFF developed the global #KIND20 campaign as a way to demonstrate and promote social integration. The campaign reached a staggering 6.7 million people worldwide. After conversations with The Cavern and other organizations in Liverpool, they came up with the idea of an International Song Contest to celebrate what would have been John Lennon’s 80th birthday. Kevin McManus, Head of UNESCO City of Music, was involved on behalf of the city and attended the final event at The Cavern in October 2021. The songs were judged by an impressive panel of industry figures (including Adele’s agent and respected musician/songwriter Andrew Roachford MBE who had a number of hits with his band Roachford) who all attended the event in Liverpool. Entries were received from 28 countries in the inaugural contest. 

The closing date for entries is July 31st 2022 – the 50 year anniversary of the recording of John Lennon’s Imagine – and the Top 50 entrants, as selected by the competition judges, will be announced on August 21st 2021.


For quotes from the International Song for Kindness partners please see below:

Anna Prior & Dr Shamender Talwar, Co-founders of tuff.earth, said:
 “The contest is inspired by the message of Imagine, the world’s most-popular anthem for unity, peace and kindness. And that song pretty much says what this is all about – Liverpool, and indeed the world, must come together and be as one.

Bill Heckle, Director of The Cavern Club where The Beatles first performed on the lunchtime of February 9th 1961, said:
 “We’ve just marked the 60th anniversary of when and where it all began. The Cavern Club is supporting this contest in the hope that it will begin something truly great again.

Kevin McManus, Head Of Music UNESCO for Liverpool City Council said:
Over the past year, music has become even more important — bringing some light into what has been dark and worrying time for us all.“”

He continued:
As a UNESCO City of Music we embrace music in all its forms and recognise the deep rooted role music plays in everyday life. We’re proud to be the host city for the Song for Kindness contest and look forward to hearing the submissions.

Martin Isherwood, Head Of Music for LIPA, said:
As ‘World Capital City of Pop’ and the home of the world’s best songwriters and songs, it’s great to see Liverpool once again leading the song writing world in the search of a song for these dreadful times and to inspire songwriters to use their skill and creativity to promote what the world needs now: human kindness.

She continued:
Wouldn’t it be great to find through this competition the musician or musicians who can put all the goodness and kindness we discovered at the heart of humanity during this awful pandemic into a song for future generations to hum and hold onto in their dark days.  That would be awesome wouldn’t it?