+ Winners Announcement (New)

+ Finalists Announcement (New)

+ Categories & Prizes

+ Studios

+ Enter WAM Song of the Year 2005

+ How to Enter

+ Entry Form

+ Guidelines

+ Conditions

+ Judges

+ Judging Guidelines

+ Frequently Asked Questions

+ Schools

+ Previous Winner Profiles

+ About WAM

+ Sponsors

RTR FM WIN TV The West Australian Ten Groove Magazine Xpress Magazine Nova 93.7fm Australia Council for the Arts Woodside Lotterywest Government of WA ArtsWA Smokefree WA Healthway
Damian Crosbie with the Hon. Sheila McHale MLA
Winner Damian Crosbie with the Hon. Sheila McHale MLA. Photo by Mojo Photography

The WAM Song of the Year Presentation Ceremony was a group huddle of top upcoming WA songwriting talent on Thursday October 27 at the Fly By Night in Fremantle.  WAM’s annual songwriting competition awards evening toasted some well and not so well known names.  Damian Crosbie of the Panda Band was the man of the night, taking away the winning titles of the Mixed Bag category, Pop category and GRAND PRIZE WAM Song of the Year for Sleep Little Death Toll Town.  The Panda Band, having played their very first gig at a WAMi showcase and then being name by Rolling Stone as 1 of the top 10 bands to watch in 2005, have just returned from their In The City showcases and on the night in question were jet setting off again to tour the east coast.  

The winners in full are…
GRAND PRIZE - Sleepy Little Death Toll Town by Damian Crosbie (The Panda Band)
Pop - Sleepy Little Death Toll Town by Damian Crosbie (The Panda Band)
Mixed Bag - Then You Appear by Damian Crosbie (The Panda Band)
Blues & Roots - 4 Men Dead by Kevin Smith
Country - Lord I Want An Exit by Emily Barker
Electronic / Dance - We Gave Colour Away by Harvey Rae and Hiro? (Thread)
Love - Drunkard's Wife by Pete Stone
Rock - Information by Sascha Ion, Ronan Charles, Stuart Leach (One Horse Town)
Urban - Take 5 by Bjorn Berlinger (Tsunami)
World and Folk - Long Time Ago by Peter Brandy
Jazz - Storm by Marnie Kent and Grant Windsor (Ginger Blu Collective)
Heavy Rock / Metal - Falling by Shannon de Bie
Gospel - Learning to Say by Mark Cullen
Indigenous Song of the Year - Long Time Ago by Peter Brandy
Regional Song of the Year - Lord I Want An Exit by Emily Barker
Primary School Aged - Holey Cheeses by Oliver Bradley & Albert Loss
Lower Secondary School Aged - Memory Lane by Wesley Fuller
Upper Secondary School Aged - The Best is Yet to Come by Ben Blondel


We all know that the WA Music sector has been producing exciting acts of late, so who’s the next batch of songwriters to watch? The WAM Song of the Year 2005 finalists have been announced - a total of 86 songs have been nominated from the close to 1500 entries vying to win.  Independent panels of judges selected 5 songs per category that they felt were the top of the crop, congratulations to the songwriters behind the finalist songs!
WAM Song of the Year is a great opportunity for bedroom songwriters to get their music out there as anyone can enter and the song does not have to be professionally recorded.  Finalists in 2005 come from all over Western Australia spanning towns such as Kununurra in the Kimberley region up north to Kojonup down south. And through the School Aged Categories there are finalists as young as 11 years old!

You can download the full list of Finalists in PDF here.
And the finalists are…

James Thompson - Broken Bone Blues
Ben Witt - Firefighter
Paige Trantham - Your World
Kevin Smith - 4 Men Dead
Emmet Sullivan - Truckin' Man

Emily Barker Lord I Want An Exit
Hayden McGlinn (The Mystery Bets) - Utes n Dogs
Pete Stone - Drunkard's Wife
Pete Stone - Caravan
Richard Woolett & Kevin Smith - Rose in the Spring

Diego Bosco & Tim Macnamara (Lake of Bass) - Sombre Yet Happy
Jonathon Craig & Mia Roberts (8ball & Mia) - Angel Spit
Harvey Rae & Hiro (Thread) - We Gave Colour Away
Brendan O'Brien, Matt Reed & Tony Colley - Creature from Planet Didge
Trilby Temperley & Rebecca Brennan (The Resonance) - The City

:: GOSPEL ::
Court, Court (Andy James Court) - Believe
Emma Everett - Closer
Clement Tay & Lisa Koh - So Real
Mark Cullen - Falling At your Feet
Mark Cullen - Learning to Say

Jarryd Bird - The Pendant
Karl Heussenstamm (3 days later) - 12 Times The Pain
Shannon de Bie - Falling
Smith, Cox Filante- Dark Side of Brightness
Voyager - What I Need?

:: JAZZ ::
Marnie Kent & Grant Windsor (Ginger Blu Collective) - Storm
Andrew Murray - Punishment
Peter Jeavons (Frames of Minds) - Ultra Violet
Sam Anning (Sam Anning Quintet) - Hone Heke
Sam Anning (Sam Anning Quintet) - La Rambla

:: LOVE ::
Dyslexic Fish - My Eyes
Che'nelle & RA.M.I - 2nd Nature (I Need U)
James Crombie, Bekk Reczek & The Bank Holidays - Like a Piano
David Paddon, Luke Brown, Steve Richardson & Mike Richardson (Tourist) - Hopeless?
Pete Stone - Drunkard's Wife

Damian Crosbie (The Panda Band) - Then You Appear
Doc Jones (Doc Jones's Lechery Orchestra) - Room Service
Brendan O'Brien, Matt Reed & Tony Colley - Creature from Planet Didge
Peter Jeavons (Thrust) - Feel That Rhythm
Robb, Stiggs (The Bees Knees Kids Show) - Walking Bus

:: POP ::
Damian Crosbie (The Panda Band) - Sleepy Little Death Toll Town
Lawson, Turnley, Craig (The Avenues) - Something Got Me Started
Jane, Yuncken, Fuerst & Kerimofski (Burgers of Beef) - Satellite
Keep Math (The Fabulous Fyshwick Brothers) - 22 Point Walter
Sean Pollard & New Rules for Boats - Not Impressed

:: ROCK ::
Andrew Martin  (Pathaway) - Hidden Scars
Birds of Tokyo - Stay
James Crombie & The Bank Holidays - Not So Long Ago
Ion, Charles, Leach (One Horse Town) - Information
Yee, Bisschops, Crooke, Dhue & Maszkowski (Halogen) - The Letter

:: URBAN ::
Bjorn Berlinger (Tsunami) - Take 5
Diego Bosco & Tim Macnamara (Lake of Bass) - Tammurra
Che'nelle - Don't
Dean Hopkins & Farita - Karma
Glenn Thompson & Lorenzo Martinez - Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda

David Hyams - Flat Out Like A Lizard Drinking
Eloy Cardenas - Gone Fishing
Peter Brandy - Long Time Ago
Sonny Morgan - Festival Creole
Tessa Lee - Out of the Night

Savannah Ebeling & Madeleine March-Anthony - Strong
Alyssia McDonald - Wishing for Freedom
Ben Hellewell & Michael Connors - Australia - Our Home
Oliver Bradley & Albert Loss- Holey Cheeses
Antonia Sassine - I Can't

Danni Stefanetti - Too Caught Up
Mitchell MacKintosh - Friday
Mitchell MacKintosh - Walkin'
Samantha Clarke - Someday
Wesley Fuller - Memory Lane

Ben Blondel - The Best is Yet to Come
Gavin Hunter - Does of Reality
Jason Shaw - Your Ballad
Lauren Brede - Box of Kisses
Sophie Jane Thompson - Wanted Girl

Peter Brandy, Donovan Jenkins, David Hyams & Lynn Hazelton - Country Shows
Candice Dempsey - Life is Like a Ride
Jon Bullen (The Hill)- Superwoman
Peter Brandy - Long Time Ago
Terrence Melesar - Change My Ways

Clare James - I'm Not Yours
Emily Barker - Lord I Want An Exit
Gene Pool - Get Up in the Morning
Tenielle Musulin - All To Myself
Sophie Jane Thompson - When You're Not Around

Award presented by
Sony BMG Music Entertainment
  • $1,000 Cash
  • 1 day free recording time at Loop Studio.

Loop Studio, engineered by Anthony Cormican

Award presented by
Warner Music Australia
  • $1,000 Cash
  • 1 day free recording time at Soundbaker Studio.

Soundbaker Studio, engineered by Rob Agostini

Award presented by

  • $1,000 Cash
  • 1 day free recording time at Soundmine Studio.

Soundmine StudioLoop
Soundmine Studio, engineered by Lee Buddle

World & Folk
Award presented by

  • $1,000 Cash
  • 1 day free recording time at Gibsonic Productions.

Gibsonic Productions
Gibsonic Productions, engineered by Andrew Gibson

Award presented by
Country Music Assoc. of Australia
  • $1,000 Cash
  • 1 day free recording time at Both Barrels Music.
  • 1 year membership to CMAA.

Both Barrels Music
Both Barrels Music, engineered by Mark Donohoe

Blues & Roots
Award presented by
Blues @ Bridgetown

  • $1,000 Cash
  • 1 day free recording time at Witzend Recording Studio
Witzend Recording Studio
Witzend Recording Studio, engineered by Alan Dawson
Award presented by
Festival Mushroom Records

and Festival Publishing
  • $1,000 Cash
  • 1 day free recording time at Studio Couch

Studio Couch
Studio Couch, engineered by Shaun O’Callaghan

Electronic/ Dance
Award presented by
The DJ Factory
  • $1,000 Cash
  • $500 DJ Factory Voucher
  • 2 tracks mastered ready for duplication at The Vault
The Vault
The Vault, Audio Post Production by Adrian Sardi
Heavy Rock/ Metal
Award presented by
Rosemount Hotel

  • $1,000 Cash
  • 1 day free recording time at Bergerk!

Bergerk! Recording Studios, engineered by Alan Smith

Mixed Bag
Award presented by
EMI Music Australia

  • $1,000 Cash
  • 1 day free recording time at Blackbird Sound Studio.
Blackbird Sound Studio
Blackbird Sound Studio, engineered by Dave Parkin
Award presented by

  • $1,000 Cash
  • 1 day free recording time at Bonsai Studio.

Bonsai Studio
Bonsai Studio, engineered by Tom Thorpe

Award presented by
Creation Pro

  • $1,000 Cash
  • 1 day free recording time at Scope Music.

Scope Music
Scope Music, engineered by Kieren Kenderessy

Get songwriting activities happening at your school - contact WAM for teacher support materials including lesson plans.

This program caters to primary and secondary needs and offers in-school lunchtime concerts and workshops; songwriting & recording workshops; and the invaluable songbook style resource with more – the WA Music Education Pack. For more info, visit the Schools section of the WAM website.
(Under 13 Years - Lyrics only)

Award presented by
Zenith Music
  • $500 Zenith Music Voucher
  • WAM Songwriting & Recording workshop for your whole class.
WAM Songwriting & Recording Workshop
Lower Secondary
(Under 16 Years)

Award presented by
Zenith Music

  • $500 Zenith Music Voucher
  • 1 day free recording time at Core Music.
Core Music
Core Music, engineered by Jeremy Allom
Upper Secondary
(Under 18 Years)

Award presented by
  • $500 Musgroves Music Voucher
  • 1 day free recording time at Cazfair House.

Cazfair House
Cazfair House, engineered by Steve Bond

Indigenous Song of the Year
(Judged from Indigenous entries in any category.)
Award presented by
  • 1 day free recording time at Satellite Recording Studio.

Satellite Recording Studio
Satellite Recording Studio, engineered by Darren Halifax

Regional Song of The Year
(Judged from Regional Entries in any category)
Award presented by
There's no excuse. Belt up.

  • 1 day free recording time at Revolver Sound Studio.
  • 2 nights accommodation at
    Riverview Apartments.*
  • Free Flights with Skippers Aviation. *

    *Conditions Apply.

Revolver Sound Studio
Revolver Sound Studio, engineered by Vic Manfrin

GRAND PRIZE - WAM SONG OF THE YEAR (Judged from the first prize winners in each category)
Award presented by
SmokeFree WA
  • 3 days recording, mixing and mastering time at Poons Head, with producer Rob Grant.
  • Pressing of 500 promotional singles/ EP’s with barcode thanks to Westlink Multimedia/ MGM
  • $200 voucher for Clancy's Fish Pub, Freo.

WestlinkClancy'sMGM Distribution

Poons Head


Need somewhere to record??  Check out our studio sponsors...

Poons Head
Poons Head
Poons Head
East Fremantle
Ph: +61 (0)8 9339 4791
Email: mail@poonshead.com
Web: http://www.poonshead.com

Proprietor: Rob Grant

Ph: +61 (0)8 9201 1610
Mob: +61 (0)402 740 792
Web: http://bergerk.cjb.net

Area of Speciality: Bands. Pop, rock, metal - everything!

Producer/ Engineer: Alan Smith

Blackbird Sound Studio
Blackbird Sound Studio
Osborne Park
Ph: +61 (0)8 9446 4355
Email: meco_lads@hotmail.com

Proprietor/ Engineer: Dave Parkin

Bonsai Studio
Bonsai Studio
Ph: +61 (0)8 9246 4408
Email: bonsai@iinet.net.au

Area of Speciality: Wide

Producer/ Engineer: Tom Thorpe
Administrator: Georgina Goss

Both Barrels Music
Both Barrels Music
Ph: +61 (0)8 9246 1911
Email: admin@kevfm.com

Area of Speciality: Country & Roots

Producer/ Engineer: Mark Donohoe
Artist Manager: Mike Ardon
Reception: Skye Humphries

Cazfair House
Cazfair House
Ph: +61 (0)8 9328 6770
Mob: +61 (0)404 74 64 33
Email: cazfair2@hotmail.com

Area of Speciality: Indie

Proprietor/ Engineer: Steve Bond

Core Music
Core Music
Hamilton Hill
Ph: +61 (0)438 928 734
Email: jj@coremusicwa.com
Web: http://www.coremusicwa.com

Proprietor: Jeremy Allom

Gibsonic Productions

Gibsonic Productions
Ph: +61 (0)8 9414 7726
Mob: +61 (0)414 231 114
Email: gibsonics@hotmail.com

Area of Speciality: Accoustic instruments & vocals

Owner/ Operator: Andrew Gibson

Loop Recording Studio
West Perth
Ph: +61 (0)8 9228 0140
Mob: +61 (0)431 559 180
Email: loop@highway1.com.au

Studio Manager: Anthony Cormican

Revolver Sound Studio
Revolver Sound Studio
Ph: +61 (0)8 9272 7505
Email: revvic@bigpond.com

Proprietor: Vic Manfrin

Satellite Recording Studio
Satellite Recording Studio
Ph: +61 (0)8 9470 4003
Mob: +61 (0)419 908 766
Email: darren@satelliterecording.com
Web: http://www.satelliterecording.com

Area of Speciality: Tracking studio

Proprietor: Darren Halifax

Scope Music
Scope Music
West Perth
Ph: +61 (08) 9228 4768 / +61 (0)412 098 490
Web: http://www.scopemusic.com

Area of Speciality: Christian Music Recording

Director: Ian Warrilow
Engineer: Kieran Kenderessy
Studio Manager: Darren Reynolds

A memorable Scope Music recording...
Scope Music is currently recording a project for Mick Gander. Some years ago Mick has been diagnosed with Mesothelioma and may
actually not live to see the finished product. He is a man with great faith (particularly considering his situation) and a great heart and it is an absolute privilege and honour to be assisting him in realizing this recording. It's awesome to see a man rise above the pain and morphine to deliver gut-wrenching vocals. Truly memorable!

Wattle Grove
Ph: +61 (0)8 9453 6396
Mob: +61 (0)411 336 944
Email: rob@soundbaker.com
Web: http://www.soundbaker.com

Area of Speciality:
Pop. Singer/songwriters

Producer: Rob Agostini

Memorable recording experience...
My production tour in Vancouver 2002 whilst working in company the of several 'platinum status' producers such as Garth Richardson, Anthony Velchec and Darren Grahn who have worked with such artists as Rage Against The Machine, NIN & Linkin Park. It was a truly invaluable experience and I continually apply lessons I learnt on that tour with artists I work with.

Soundmine Studio
Soundmine Studio
West Perth
Ph: +61 (0)8 9328 5715
Mob: +61 (0)411 22 5349
Email: soundmin@foxgold.com.au

Area of Speciality: Mastering. Jazz, roots & accoustic based music.

Manager: Lee Buddle
Engineer: Jason Brown

Studio Couch
Studio Couch
Ph: +61 (0)8 9433 2959
Mob: +61 (0)414 381 433
Email: shaunlounge@yahoo.com.au

Area of Speciality: Live instrumentation. Little or no sequencing. Acoustics.

Producer/ Engineer: Shaun O'Callaghan

The Vault
The Vault
Ph: +61 (0)417 473 940
Email: vault_sonics@hotmail.com

Area of Speciality: Mastering and post-production

Sound Engineer: Adrian Sardi

Witzend Recording Studio
Witzend Recording Studio
Ph: +61 (0)8 9336 1888
Web: http://www.here.at/witzend

Manager: Alan Dawson

To enter send all items on the checklist below to:
WAM Song Of The Year PO Box 171, Northbridge, 6865
or hand deliver to 1st Floor, 58 James St, Northbridge
by Monday August 8

+ COMPLETED ENTRY FORM. Be sure to read the Guidelines and Conditions and don’t forget to indicate the category that you wish to enter the song into!

+ ONE CD / AUDIO CASSETTE RECORDING PER SONG, PER ENTRY Please label each cassette or CD with: song title, track length, contact name and phone number.

+ ONE SONG LYRICS SHEET PER SONG, PER ENTRY If there are lyrics, you must provide the words to each song entered, typed or printed legibly in English. No responsibility will be taken for illegible entries. Include the song title and contact name.

+ ENTRY FEE (PER ENTRY) Cheques and money orders should be made payable to the ‘West Australian Music Industry Association Inc.’

Adult Entries: $30 each
School Aged Category Entries: $10 each
WAM Individual Memberships: $40
WAM Members receive 3 adult entries for the price of 1

+ Regular enews bulletins which detail Opportunities, WAM News and WA Industry News
+ Voting rights at the WAM Annual General Meeting
+ Single Season Pass for The WAMi Festival, Conference & Awards
+ Annual Kiss My WAMi compilation CD
+ 3 adult entries for the price of 1 in the WAM Song of the Year
+ Discounted services with related industry service providers
+ The satisfaction of supporting the existence of a peak representative body for contemporary music in WA


+ Download a PDF version of the Entry Form (288kb).
+ Download a PDF version of the Entry Guidelines (488kb).
+ Download a PDF version of the Categories & Prizes (421kb).
Note: You will need Adobe Acrobat. (If you do not have it you can download it from the Adobe Website for free.


+ It is your responsibility to determine which category to place your song in. You may enter a song in multiple categories, just remember that each entry requires its own recording, lyric sheet and entry fee.

+ You can enter as many as songs you like, if you have more than 10 entries attach an additional form.

+ Instrumental music may be entered into all categories except the Primary School Aged Category.

+ Where entries contain lyrics, they may be in any language. Please supply a translation if not performed in English.

+ Presentation and recording quality are not taken into consideration by the judges.

+ Eligibility for the Outstanding Regional Song of the Year and the Outstanding Indigenous Song of the Year will be determined at WAM's discretion.

+ Five songs will be nominated for each category. The nominees will be notified in September -watch our website for more details.

+ Winners will be announced at the presentation ceremony, details of which will be available in August.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION read the Conditions and FAQ or contact WAM by phoning (08) 9227 7962 (1800 007 962 for regional WA) or emailing songoftheyear@wam.asn.au


+ WAM Song Of The Year is open to all residents of Western Australia. WAM staff and affiliated sponsors of WAM Song of the Year are not eligible to enter the competition.

+ The song must be the original work of the entrant/s and the entrant/s must not be subject to a Publishing deal. Entries must not compromise WAM’s obligations to its principal sponsors.

+ The deadline for entries is 5.00pm, Monday August 8, 2005 (entries postmarked Monday August 8, 2005 will be accepted). Under no circumstances will late entries be accepted. WAM holds no responsibility for entries that are late, lost, misdirected, or mailed with insufficient postage. Nor is it responsible in any way for entries that are stolen or misappropriated.

+ All copyrights remain the property of the songwriter. No contestant may infringe upon existing copyrights and in signing the entry form the contestant agrees that the West Australian Music Industry Association Inc (WAM) is not held responsible for any such infringement which may occur, and will indemnify WAM against any legal action which may arise as a result of such breaches of copyright.

+ Cash prizes will be paid by cheque at the WAM Song Of The Year Presentation Ceremony. Recording studio time will be available upon arrangement with WAM and each category studio sponsor (contact WAM for details). Studio prizes must be used before December 31 2005, unless otherwise arranged with both WAM and the respective studio.

+ All category winners agree to have their winning song included on a WAM Song Of The Year compilation CD, should one be produced.

+ Entry fees are non-refundable. Recordings and lyrics will not be returned.

+ By signing the entry form the entrant agrees to these conditions.


What do I need to enter?
See the Entry Checklist.

When is the closing date?
5pm Monday August 8, 2005(entries postmarked by this date will be accepted).

How much does it cost to enter?
Adult Entries: $30 each
School Aged Category Entries: $10 each
Plus WAM Individual Memberships are $40 and WAM Members receive 3 adult entries for the price of 1.

How does the 3 for the price of 1 entry work for Members?
Members pay for their 1st entry and get the next 2 free, each entry after this costs $30, the standard price.

If I join as a member with my WAM Song of the Year entry will I get the members discount on my entry fees?


Do I have to become a member to enter?
No, but it's a bargain if you're interested in our membership benefits which include your 2nd and 3rd entries free.

Is there an age limit?
No, there is no age limit for any categories except the School Aged Categories which are specified for each category.

Can I enter lyrics only?
No, you must enter a complete composition for all categories, except the Primary School Aged Category (instrumental songs are acceptable however).

Can I enter an instrumental song?
Yes, instrumental songs are acceptable. Please note on the cover of your recording that the song is an instrumental.

How many songs can I enter?
There is no limit to the number of songs you can enter.

Can I enter the same song in different categories?
Yes, but make sure you have a separate recording and lyric sheet for each entry.

Does my recording have to be good quality?
The recording needs to be clear enough for the judges to assess the song but it doesn't have to be professionally recorded. The quality of the recording is not taken into the judges considerations.

Who judges the songs?

A team of expert judging panels assess the entries according to their category. The panels consist of active members of the local music industry. Profiles of the judges will be available after the judging has taken place.

Why do I need to provide a lyric sheet?

Lyrics are an integral part of the song. The lyric sheet allows the judges to focus on the lyrical content of the song as well as the overall composition.

Will I get my entry returned at the end of the competition?
No, entries will not be returned after the competition.

Can I get feedback from the judges?
Yes, for $15 per entry you can have your song professionally evaluated. Look for the evaluation section on the entry form.

I live outside Western Australia, can I still enter?
No, entry is open only to Western Australian residents.

Does the entry have to be original?
Absolutely, this is a songwriting competition after all!

When will the winners be announced?
The winners will be announced at the Presentation Ceremony, details of which will be available in August.

Where do I send my entry?
Please send entries to:
WAM Song Of The Year
PO Box 171
Northbridge 6865

Can I photocopy the entry form?

Can I write my songs with another person?

Yes, co-writers are eligible to enter the competition, one entry covers all writers. Please note though that to enter the School Aged Categories all co-writers must fit the age specifications of the category.

Entries in the School Aged Categories that are co-written should be submitted into the category relevant to the oldest co-writer, if they are 18 or over, then the song must be entered into a genre or special theme category at the adult price.

What does ‘lyrics only’ mean for the Primary School Aged Category?
Entries in this category do not have to be a complete composition of lyrics and music. Entrants do however still have to provide a recording of the lyrics being sung, so that the melody can be assessed.

If children under 13 years wish to submit a complete composition of music and lyrics (or just instrumental music), then they can enter the Middle School Category.

Can background music be included on the recording of a Primary School Aged Category entry?

No, only original compositions of the entrant may be submitted in WAM Song of the Year and if the entrant has written this music then the song should be entered in the Lower Secondary Category.

If I’m under 18 how much does it cost to enter the genre and special theme categories?
$30, which is the adult entry price. School Aged Category entry prices only apply to the 3 School Aged Categories.

What category do I enter if I’m not in the usual age group for my year at school?
Eligibility for entry into the School Aged Categories is based on age, not school year. To enter Upper Secondary you must be under 18; Lower Secondary under 16; and Primary under 13.


If you’d like to get songwriting activities happening at your school then contact WAM for teacher support materials including lesson plans.

Did you know that WAM runs a contemporary music schools program catering to primary and secondary needs? On offer are in-school lunchtime concerts and workshops; songwriting & recording workshops; and the invaluable songbook style resource with more – the WA Music Education Pack. See our Schools page for more info.


Judging for the 17 separate categories was carried out by independent panels of industry experts who donated their time. Thank you to:

Aarom Wilson
Alan Corbet
Alice Haines
Andrea Grimshaw
Ben Taafe
Bob Gordon
Brett Ladhams
Brian Newnham
Briony Paternoster
Bruna Chiovitti
Chris O'Halloran
Dan Stinton
Dave Cutbush
David Hardie
Ilan Zaggoria
Ivan Borgnino
Jamie Searle
Jason Namour
Jesse Hill
Jon Pratt
Karen Lee
Karl Brown
Kim Siragusa
Laurie Sinagra
Lee Bradshaw
Matt Salleo
Michael Fletcher
Michaela Mason
Paul Bridge
Peter Barr
Peter Kenyon
Phil Barry
Phil Warburton
Rachel Mann
Renae Hibben
Rohan Smith
Roly Skender
Ronan McGinnis
Rosie Johnstone
Rudy Yusof
Salli Craik
Stephen Hall
Steve Pike
Tenille Elkins

Judging for the WAM Song of the Year 2005 went through rigorous processes. Here are the guidelines that the judges adhered to:

The total score is out of 100.  This is made up of:
-      25% lyrics
-      25% melody
-      50% appeal
In some categories there may be a need to alter this for some songs, eg where instrumentals are common.
Some basic points help with the above:
-      Do the lyrics address a universal theme/ will people relate to it?
-      Has a unique or fresh approach been applied?
-      Is the storytelling interesting and not confusing?
-      Is the title or hook memorable?
-      Are there clear changes between parts?
-      Are the rhymes too predictable?
-      Are the lyrics too repetitive?
-      Is there consistency in use of metaphors, point-of-view etc?
-      Is the use of words efficient?  Or wasteful?
-      Is there a memorable musical hook?  Is it placed appropriately?
-      Does the melody suit the lyrics?
-      Do the rhythm and tempo set an appropriate mood?
-      Are there effective, clear changes between parts?
-      Does the song have a suitable structure?
Does the song have commercial potential and general appeal?  It's worth reflecting upon the fact that a song may not necessarily score highly on lyrics and melody, but could have strong appeal and possibly commercial potential.  This is obvious when listening to commercial radio every day.

It’s also worth noting that this competition is targeted towards offering career opportunities for songwriters. Commercial potential, within the context of the category being judged (ie a jazz song should appeal in a jazz context, not necessarily mainstream radio etc) , is therefore a crucial component of the winning entries.  

Conflict of Interest
Judges should be aware that they may hear an entry where their opinion may be compromised due to a conflict of interest.  Judges are informed that a conflict of interest exists in the case that they would personally benefit should the entry in question win the category or, conversely if they would personally benefit should the song score badly.  This extends to benefit derived by immediate family.  Judges are asked to inform the panel and absolve from judging that particular entry.

Recording Quality
The recording quality/ production of an entry is irrelevant.  Of course, the recording must at least be of sufficient quality that the elements of the song are audibly discernible.
Variations to the Guidelines
In each category a discussion was held with the judging panel prior to the commencement of judging.  In the cases below it was deemed that there was a variation required to the judging criteria.
Jazz Category
As a significant number of Jazz entries were instrumental, it was agreed last year that the 25% score usually allocated to lyrics would be assessed on the basis of harmonic and rhythmic structure, for instrumental tracks only.  Lyric based entries were assessed as per the standard judging criteria.
Electronic/ Dance Category
Lyric criteria is not assessed, with a 50% score therefore allocated to a technical assessment of the music.  Where there was significant lyric content, this was simply incorporated into the scoring of this 50%.  
Instrumentals (all categories)
In general instrumentals received a score based on 50% or the overall score for the music content.


WAM, the West Australian Music Industry Association Inc, exists to develop the contemporary music industry in WA. WAM is non profit membership based association and its activities encompass: Advocacy & Policy; Access, Education & Information services; Events such as The WAMi Festival, Conference & Awards and WAM Song of the Year; Indigenous Programs; plus Support for Regional WA and entry into Interstate and International markets. WAM is the peak representative body for contemporary music in WA.

Have a surf around the rest of the site for more info.

Contact WAM

Phone: 08 9227 7962 (1800 007 962 for Regional WA)
Fax: 08 9328 7711
Email: songoftheyear@wam.asn.au
Postal: PO Box 171 Northbridge 6865
Street: 1st Floor, 58 James Street, Northbridge


Marcia Czerniak recently caught up with a handful of past WAM Song of the Year grand prize and category winners to get an insight into their experience…

Fourth Floor Collapse won the WAM Song of the Year Pop category in 2001

What have you been up to lately?
We have just spent 11 days recording an album with Dave Parkin at Blackbird Studios. We've also relocated to Melbourne and are look forward to putting out the album early next year.

How did your WAM Song of the Year win impact your career?

At the time it helped get us some recognition Australia-wide and the prize money was handy in paying off some outstanding debts!

What have been some career highlights?
Playing with so many other bands like Counting Crows, Badly Drawn Boy, The Tea Party, Augie March and Turin Brakes, winning 10 WAMI awards and all the cool people we've met all over Australia who have come up to talk to us after shows.

Why did you enter the WAM Song of the Year competition?

The outstanding debts as mentioned in question two were a factor. And we thought we had some songs that might have a chance.

What do you think is the importance of such a competition to WA musicians?
It's a great opportunity for exposure and recognition for all WA songwriters.

Outstanding Regional Song of the Year winner and Grand Prize winner 2004

What have you been up to lately?
I recently attended the Tamworth Camerata, which is a country-music based weeklong school for people under 18. There were 10 positions available for application in Australia and New Zealand and I was lucky enough to receive one of those spots. I’ve also been busy sorting out the EP mastering, cover, etc.

How did your WAM Song of the Year win impact your career?

A few days after the award was announced my song received some radio play which was very good exposure. Other than that, as the EP has not been completed yet, but hopefully it will be released soon!

What have been some career highlights?
Definitely attending the Camerata and winning WAM Song of the Year.

Why did you enter the WAM Song of the Year competition?
I thought it would be a good opportunity to see how my songs were received by the judges and the public, and also to hopefully get my songs some exposure.

What do you think is the importance of such a competition to WA musicians?
I think it is extremely important, as it is one of the only big songwriting competitions for people from WA, all the other competitions are based over east.

Blues category winner 2001

What have you been up to lately?
I have been working with some younger people and trying to just help them get their music out there. Two in particular are Ben Witt, who is 15 years old and he writes all of his own music, and Dom Diblasio who is 21 years old and who I have just come back with from a tour of the North West. I have also been holding workshops at the Stock Road Markets on Saturdays to teach the fundamentals of the delta blues guitar and the harmonica. It’s been good to see a lot of younger players coming in, and getting into blues.

How did your WAM Song of the Year win impact your career?
I think it helped a lot and it brings attention to a lot of different styles of music. The competition also allows your music to be heard by a newer generation of musicians and audiences. It also looks good to put on the resume.

What have been some career highlights?
Meeting a lot of blues musicians in the 80’s and being able to spend time and hang out with them. I started playing music when I was 16 or 17, and I found it hard to get records of certain artists that I was into, and then later on, I actually got to meet them and ended up supporting some of them when they came through Perth. Travelling is also a great part of being a musician. You learn lots of new things and meet lots of different people. It is through these experiences that you can get some great material to write new songs. I also enjoy helping out the younger players that are coming through now.

Why did you enter the WAM Song of the Year competition?

Just to give it a try. I thought it was a good song and it really represented what the blues genre is meant to be about. It was moody and there was some great playing on it. It was also good to have someone judge it and have it noticed by others.

What do you think is the importance of such a competition to WA musicians?
The competition is very important in that it showcases excellent writing across all music categories. It also puts you in front of your peers and gives you a lot of promotion, and it exposes new talent and gives you a step up. It not only helps out the artist though, it helps showcase WA musicians on a national level, which is important.

Cass from ESCHER
Escher won the Commercial / Contemporary Pop category in 2004

What have you been up to lately?
We have been mainly writing and recording some new songs in preparation to record another EP in Melbourne later in the year.

How did your WAM Song of the Year win impact your career?
It was such a wonderful promotional tool. We got some great reviews from local press and were played on community radio stations all over Australia and got some great responses from listeners. It earned us a lot of respect and people immediately sat up and paid attention.

What have been some career highlights?

This response from a radio station was a great highlight:
“ This is the best CD out of AMRAP that I have heard for the past 18 months. The feedback that I have had from my listeners has been extraordinary; to think a non-mainstream band can produce such hype with my listeners is somewhat unheard of” (Triston Gunn, Mount Gambier Community Radio).

Why did you enter the WAM Song of the Year competition?

We just thought, why not, there’s nothing to loose. We really couldn’t believe it when our name was called.

What do you think is the importance of such a competition to WA musicians?
WA has such amazing talent and it deserves to be recognised.

Political category and Grand Prize winner, 2003

What have you been up to lately?
I have been havin’ a ball working in my profession as a speaker, trainer, facilitator, MC and comedian. I have also been performing at the Comedy Lounge (Thursday nights, Hyde Park Hotel), and working on my new RTRFM show, The Dead Set, with some outstanding local comedians and friends.

How did your WAM Song of the Year win impact your career?

The prize enabled me to record with two great musicians – Matt Willis (bass) and Troy Greatz (percussion) – and work with superb engineers – Eddie Parise and Shaun O’Callaghan. I received cash from The West, mastering from the wonderful James Hewgill, 1000 copies from WAM and Westlink MGM and the outstanding, expert design talents of Nat Brunovs at Papercut Media.

The song Georgie Boy was played on JJJ and has had a run on some public stations around the country. People who hear it sometimes write to me. That’s always nice.

It was also posted on an American political website and that drew hundreds of people to mine. They write some fascinating – and scary – emails about life in the USA!

There was some media for winning the award, tremendous practical assistance with the amazing prizes and an enormous feeling of encouragement.

What have been some career highlights?
In order of occurrence, I’d say …
• Writing (I’d Really) Father Not and learning how to play it on guitar.
• Winning a prize in the WAM Song Contest in 2000, I was still very new to songwriting and couldn’t believe I’d won an award for it.
• Winning the ASA National Songwriter of the Year. That was a huge buzz.
• The first time I played Georgie Boy to 400 people at the Comedy Lounge. They went nuts. That would be one of the best moments so far.
• Winning the WAM Song of the Year and recording Georgie Boy and hearing the song come together as it was supposed to.
• Playing any gig – with 20 people or 200 – where people listen and get into it.
• The old Club Acoustica days at the Grosvenor.
• Getting emails from strangers. That’s amazing.

Why did you enter the WAM Song of the Year competition?

Because I’d won a couple of song-writing competitions before and they’d been a great boost. I’d entered plenty that I hadn’t won, too, and nearly didn’t enter the 2003 one. I was unsure about it but my business partner at the time said, “Go on, enter! They won’t pick it, but enter anyway, just to see.” We were pretty sure Georgie Boy wouldn’t rate. How delightfully wrong we were! You can’t guess what the judges will do.

What do you think is the importance of such a competition to WA musicians?

Huge encouragement, something specific to aim for, wonderful prizes that are really useful and great publicity.

Aboriginal category winner 2001

What have you been up to lately?

We’ve just finished a few gigs over NAIDOC Week (National Aboriginal Islander Day of Celebration – except we stretch it out over a week), which is always a great opportunity for local Indigenous artists to get out there and shine.

You started out as a journalist, how did you become involved in music?

I’ve always been interested in music, but until recently it was more of a hobby. I worked in television for eight years, much of which was spent on the road, so I used to write songs. When I got out of the media, my husband suggested I ‘do something with my songs’ so we entered the WAM Song of the Year and won the Aboriginal category. I haven’t looked back since.

Is journalism something that you have considered going back to, or is it music all the way?

I like the idea of music being my vehicle to tell stories. I got into journalism because I wanted to tell people’s stories. Music isn’t much different, except that it’s probably easier because people often just enjoy the tunes and the politics of the song come out later. When we recorded Brilliant Blue, people were saying to us ‘oh, we thought they were just nice songs, we didn’t realise you were singing about such dark subjects’. It hadn’t occurred to me that the album had such a political slant, I was just writing about things that were (and still are) really important to me.

How did your 2001 win in WAM’s Song of the Year comp for ‘Rainy Tuesday’ impact your career as a musician?

It started it! I entered it to get feedback, so the win was a huge confidence boost and the suddenly I got all these opportunities to perform, so it was fantastic to enter.

Brilliant Blue not only takes the listener through the story of your journey so far, but also treats their ears to a few musical styles. Was it your intention to dabble with different genres?

The first intention was to record songs that I felt a personal connection to. The tracks are all songs that I really love, and the different genres are all sounds that I like listening to myself, so the album list is a result of that.

Lucky Oceans and Lee Buddle produced the album, with a lot of input from the band (particularly keys player Kallan Sadler and drummer Calvin Webb). It’s a fairly good indication of what we do live, so if you enjoy the album then you should come to our gigs!

What are some of the highlights of your career?
Biggest highlight this year has been going to New Zealand, Sydney and Melbourne and then coming home to launch Brilliant Blue. Jimmy Little (a childhood hero) came to one of our shows in Sydney and we got to spend a bit of time talking to him, which was amazing. Other highlights have been supporting Wendy Matthews, Archie Roach and Ruby Hunter.

Who or what influences your music?
I want to listen to music that moves me, that inspires. I’m not really interested in music that doesn’t have much to say.

You recently retired from your position on the WAM management committee. Where do you see WAM fitting into Perth’s music industry?
I think WAM plays a critical role in supporting established musicians, and nurturing emerging artists. Opportunities like WAM Song of the Year and celebrations like Kiss My WAMI are great occasions for local artists to really show off what they can do.

As an Indigenous artist, what do you see are some of the issues that are facing Western Australian musicians?

I think the issues facing indigenous artists are probably the same as those in the wider community. Ultimately it’s all about gigs and airplay. The problem for us is often people love what we do, but they don’t know what to do with us because we never quite fit into any particular genre. I think this is particularly the case for contemporary Indigenous artists, who don’t necessarily sing in language or include traditional instruments in their recordings, but still have something valuable to contribute.

Personally, I would like to see broader representation of local indigenous artists in the media. RTR do a fine job supporting our mob, but I think there’s more to be done.

What’s on the cards for the rest of 2005?

The plans for world domination continues…watch this space and see.