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Meet Our Judges

The inital task of judging the huge number of songs will be led by producer Daniel Xander and his team at TUFF, considering the theme, the lyrics, melody, composition and originality as they whittle the entries down to the top 50. The top 50 finalists will then be handed over to the inspiring Knoydart Songwriting Retreat which brings together a collective of multi-platinum selling songwriters, music managers and a BAFTA award-winning producer to decide on the final 10.

Part of the judging panel are the immensely successful Shelly Poole and Paul Statham who have written tracks for superstar artists such as Janet Jackson, Dido, Paloma Faith, Kylie Minogue, Marc Ronson, Jack Savoretti, Gary Barlow, Massive Attack and Simple Minds.

Andrew Roachford

Roachford is best known for the international hit single Cuddly Toy, a mainstay of radio airplay for the last three decades and which at its peak was selling 33,000 copies a day. The band were Columbia’s biggest selling UK act for a decade.

Andrew Roachford himself was awarded an MBE for services to music in 2019 and he is a patron of the Music Venue Trust, a charity that supports hundreds of grassroots music venues in the UK. As a songwriter he has written for many other artists including Chaka Khan, Michael Jackson and Joss Stone and for the last decade has performed with Mike + The Mechanics

Knoydart Songwriting Retreat co-founder and judge Duncan Lewis said: "It has been a mammoth task in choosing 10 songs from the 1563 we received. All are of exceptional quality and the task of choosing a winner will be very difficult and so we are delighted that such a successful artist and songwriter as Andrew Roachford has come on board to help us."

Shelly Poole

Shelly Poole

She is a multi-platinum selling British singer and songwriter who has achieved international success in an ever-increasing variety of musical settings. The daughter of Brian Poole of the classic 1960s group The Tremeloes, Shelly formed the chart-busting band Alisha’s Attic in the late nineties with her sister Karen. Alisha’s Attic scored 4 gold and platinum selling albums and a string of hit singles.

Shelly is a highly respected award-winning songwriter and has worked closely and had hits with talents as diverse as Janet Jackson, Massive Attack, Jack Savoretti, Mark Ronson, Gary Barlow, Westlife, Ronan Keating, Boyzone, Roachford, Paloma Faith, Michael Gray, Zucchero, Giorgio Moroder amongst many others. Shelly also continues to write with produce and mentor new and emerging artists.

Paul Statham

Paul is a multi-platinum selling songwriter and producer whose commercial pop compositions have contributed to around 30 million album sales. These include the lead single 'Here With Me' and the title track 'No Angel' from Dido’s US and UK No 1 album ‘No Angel’ (22 million sales) and 2 co-writes and productions on Kylie Minogue's international No 1 album ‘Fever’ (7 million sales).

Paul is one of the longest serving writers at Warner Chappell publishing having been signed for over 20 years. He has written with an eclectic range of artists including Natalie Imbruglia, Will Young, Tina Arena & Sophie Ellis Bextor and many European artists. He also writes with many more left field artists including former Massive Attacks vocalists Shara Nelson and Dot Allison.

He has co-written and produced two albums for mercury prize nominated Helicopter Girl alongside writing with the Scottish rock legends Simple Minds. Paul is also known for his long standing seven album collaboration with gothic icon Pete Murphy. A passionate believer in the art and craft of songwriting Paul also develops, mentors and writes with new artists for his publisher.

Duncan Lewis

Duncan has a 30-year career working within the music industry. As a manager he has represented artists, groups and songwriters and secured major and independent publishing and recording deals. He has supported artists in their development from raw ambition to chart success in both the UK and International markets. He has extensive experience in artist development and A&R working alongside and with industry leaders.

As a producer Duncan has been involved in numerous recording sessions and produced the Delays hit debut album ‘Faded Seaside Glamour’. Artists that he has represented have worked with top line producers and he has also produced live radio sessions for both national and regional broadcasters.

He has years of experience working in the live arena, advancing the logistical and budgeting of tours and tour management. In collaboration with headline companies he has covered tours, festivals and promotional commitments in the UK & Europe, USA, South America and Japan, working from the smallest of club tours up to the main stages at major festivals. He is also a visiting lecturer at various institutes & universities in the UK lecturing in Music Business BA [Hons].

Supporting Our Judges...

Janey de Nordwall, Knoydart Songwriting Retreat co-founder said: “One of the positives to come out of this last year is that songwriters have been able to have the time and space to spend writing and we have certainly seen a huge burst in artistic creativity. It’s commonly accepted that being involved in the creative arts can have great benefits to an individual’s wellbeing and mental health.”

She continued: “It’s a real honour to be involved in the judging process of this brilliantly conceived contest and it’s very exciting. We can’t wait to start and then announce the next line up of well-known expert judges.”

Janey De Nordwall

BAFTA award winning producer Janey has over 25 years working in the film and advertising industry and set up her production company Silver Films in 1996. Alongside producing her own award winning films she has produced music videos and commercials for leading brands in the automotive, computer games & fashion industries including producing commissioned content with David Bowie, Jamiroquai and the Tomb Raider franchise.

Since 2013 Janey has produced and directed ten British Arrows award ceremonies which are now the largest and most prestigious within the advertising industry. In 2017 she served as MD and Director of the board at British Arrows. She was instrumental to the strategy, creation and delivery of BAD (British Arrows Doorway) an initiative connecting the advertising industry with young people of colour or from disadvantaged backgrounds who are looking for paid jobs in the creative industry.

Uniquely connected, and highly respected within the industries she has worked in, Janey has also been a fellow of The RSA since 2017. Since returning from a six-week solo roadtrip last year, around the west coast of Scotland and the Outer Inner Hebrides in her 1970's VW campervan with her cat, she has written her first book - FROM A WONKY PATH TO AN OPEN ROAD.