Best New Song

The Best New Song is awarded on an annual basis recognising an outstanding song from a new musical written by a member of MMD. Since 2008, this has been done in conjunction with the Stephen Sondheim Society’s Student Performer of the Year – however, as of 2020, we now run this as a stand-alone celebration of new writing. 12 finalists have their songs showcased by West End performers.

The twelve finalists for the Best New Song Prize 2021 are announced here. The 2021 Song Prize Final will take at Hackney Empire on Friday 10th September 2021 and will also be livestreamed on stream.theatre.
Follow the links for full details and to book tickets.

A panel of judges, including Stiles and Drewe, award the Best New Song and the winner receives a prize of £1,000 to put towards developing their work. All finalists have access to a Feedback Lab, hosted by Stiles and Drewe at a later date.

Entry Requirements for the Best New Song: Please read the following instructions carefully before you submit any materials. Entrants should complete the online application form via the button below and will be sent a link inviting them to upload their anonymous submission files for each song. Each member of the writing team will also be sent a link to complete an anonymous Equal Opportunities form. Each individual only needs to complete the Equal Opportunities form once, regardless of how many song submissions they are involved in as a collaborator.

We ask writers or writing teams to ensure they meet the following entry requirements:

  • The Best New Song is open to all MMD members, including Overseas Members.
  • Entrants may submit a maximum of two songs for consideration for the Best New Song but may submit one song only if they wish. If submitting two songs, they must be submitted in two separate applications.
  • If submitting two songs for the Best New Song, entrants may submit two songs from the same project or one song from two different projects, either:
    • written solely by themselves
    • or two songs with the same collaborator
    • or two songs with different collaborators.

Please note: that any one writing team will only have a maximum of one song in the final – an individual could however end up with two if these are with different writing collaborators. 

  • The song/s must be from a musical, although the musical does not need to be complete. Stand-alone cabaret songs will not be accepted.
  • The Best New Song entries must be suitable for performance by a solo singer. Duets or ensemble numbers are not permitted.
  • The song cannot have been included in a previous professional production (defined as a production with professional cast and creatives, mounted for an audience.) We will accept submissions from writers who have had developmental workshops or sharings of their work, either financed privately, by a producer, venue partner or via funding. Songs from shows which have previously been presented at the Edinburgh Fringe, Vaults Festival, or similar, are also eligible even if some of the creatives were paid.
  • If you are part of a song writing team, at least one of you must be a paid up member of MMD.

Please submit:

  • An mp3 or mp4 audio demo file of each song(s) uploaded to your song’s individual online folder via the email link you will be sent on completion of the application form. We encourage you to submit a demo of the highest possible quality. We welcome full orchestrated demos if available which convey more fully how the writer(s) conception. However, we are not judging the backing tracks, we are judging the quality of the song itself.
  • Lyric sheet for the song (Microsoft Word or pdf format).
  • A show synopsis and song context explanation (Word or pdf format, and no more than 500 words in total).
  • Demos and Word/pdf files should be completely anonymous. Please do not include any identifying information regarding the writers in either the file names or within the documents themselves.

General Notes:

  • If a song is selected as a Best New Song finalist, the writer(s) will be required to provide a PDF sheet music (piano and vocal arrangement) in order for the performer to learn the song.
  • Due to the volume of submissions, neither Stiles and Drewe nor MMD are able to give individual feedback regarding the final selection.
  • Please label each file uploaded SONG TITLE_ followed by key words/information as applicable):
    • Sound file (e.g. People Will Say We’re In Love_Demo
    • Lyric sheet (e.g. People Will Say We’re In Love_ Lyric Sheet)
    • Synopsis & Song Context (e.g. OKLAHOMA!_People Will Say We’re In Love_Synopsis & Song Context)

Please note, if you do not upload your files or label them accordingly, we will be unable to accept your application. Please read the above instructions carefully before you submit any materials.

Stiles + Drewe Prize 2021 Timeline:

Applications for Best New Song 2021:
Open: Friday 30th April / Close: Wednesday 26th May at 23.59

Finalists for Best New Song Prize announced:
July 2021

Best New Song Prize Concert 2021:
Autumn 2021 – Date and venue TBC

If you have any questions about the submission process, please email Martin Jackson at martin@mercurymusicals.com or call on 020 7395 5461