Ray Martin Wins Nashville Songwriting Contest

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One of Manitoba’s singer/songwriters is heading to Nashville this month, having won a prominent songwriting contest. Oakbank’s Ray Martin, who was once the "Martin" in popular local country act Foster Martin Band, was one of the top winners of the Nashville Song Search. He also won a weekly contest for his song “The Bridge.” The winning song was cowritten by Lyle Foster – "Foster" of the Foster Martin Band – but the contest only awards one of the co-writers.

“We were honoured to have been selected,” said Martin. “It is a very rewarding feeling to get the recognition.”

The Nashville Song Search was established to help struggling songwriters gain critical exposure to launch their “dream career in songwriting.” Songwriters submit songs in several different categories - including folk, traditional country, ballad, and crossover/pop country – which are judged by a panel of top industry professionals on originality, lyrics, melody, and composition. One hundred per cent of the proceeds (including submission fees) go to benefit Crisis Center, a free 24-hour telephone crisis counseling service.

Prizes for the contest include airfare and accommodations in Nashville; connections within the Nashville songwriting scene, mentoring sessions with hit country songwriters; including ASCAP Songwriter of the Year 2003 Craig Wiseman, and two-time Music Row Song of the Year Recipient, Vince Melamed; preparation by the pros to pitch songs to the pros; a guarantee from Sony/Tree Music, Universal Music-Nashville, EMI, and Warner Chappell Music that they will listen to the winning song. Martin will have the chance to play the famed Bluebird Café – which he considers “a milestone in itself.”

Judges for this contest included several key country songwriters who have written for some of the biggest names in the genre, including Garry Burr (Wynnona, Randy Travis, LeAnn Rimes), Pat Pattison (Alison Krauss, Emmy Lou Harris, Trisha Yearwood), and Grammy-nominated producer/songwriter Chris Lindsey (Faith Hill, Tim McGraw).

Martin recently finished co-writing a second song with Canadian-born Nashvillian Gilles Godard, who is known for co-writing the #1 Terri Clark song “I Want To Do It All” as well as work with Patti Loveless. “This will be an opportunity to meet publishers and other song writers,” Martin says of the experience. “It will no doubt open a few more doors and one can only hope for a positive end result.”

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