Alexander Biggs, Teenage Joans, and du0 garner First and Second Place wins
16 other Aussies win Honorable Mentions
September 9, 2021 – Unsigned Only Music Competition today announced its 2021 winners. Selected from almost 10,000 entries from 120 countries, the winners represent some of the best unsigned artists worldwide in contemporary music.
Established in 2012, Unsigned Only has become an important source for discovering new talent and acts as a benchmark for excellence in the arena of contemporary music. The winners share in over $150,000 in cash and prizes split among 38 winners. The Grand Prize package totals more than $50,000 and includes $20,000 (US) cash and more in merchandise and services geared toward helping an artist’s career.
Winners were selected by a judging panel comprised of high-profile industry experts and renowned recording artists, including: Chris Daughtry (Daughtry); Aimee Mann; Sanctus Real; O.A.R.; Ruthie Foster; Robert Smith (The Cure); David Benoit; Linda Perry; NLE Choppa; Bibi Marin (Reik); The Devil Makes Three; Showtek; LoCash; and many more (see complete list below). Also on the judging panel were music journalists from Rolling Stone, Guitar Player, JazzTimes, Yahoo Music, No Depression; Pandora; Blues Music Magazine; Austin Chronicle; and more.
Singer/songwriter Alexander Biggs (Melbourne, VIC) and EDM artist du0 (Brisbane, QLD) have both been awarded First Place in their respective categories. The band Teenage Joans has been awarded Second Place in the AAA category. In addition to these winners, 16 Australian artists have been awarded an Honorable Mention in their categories in the competition (see below for a complete list of Aussie winners).
Founders Candace Avery and Jim Morgan state, “We always receive a lot of great entries from Australia, so we have come to expect it. Over the years, so many of our favourite winners have been Aussies, and we love having the opportunity to share their music with the world.”
Alexander Biggs (Melbourne, VIC) is awarded First Place for the song “Madeleine” in the Folk/Singer-Songwriter category. His debut album Hit or Miss was released independently in February 2021 and features the single “Madeleine”. Self-recorded and produced by Biggs, the album was written and recorded in many places — from blanket fort hideaways in a noisy city to a suburban kitchen, the lively lounge room of friends of friends, to a makeshift bedroom on the lounge floor of his mother’s house. The 27-year-old artist has supported top-tier talent, received tastemaker support from folks at Triple J, BBC Radio 1, KCRW, Rolling Stone Australia, Consequence of Sound, and Paste Magazine among others, and amassed over 13 million streams on Spotify.
du0 (Brisbane, QLD) is awarded First Place for the song “Come Home” in the EDM category. du0 (aka Ryan Dobbrick) is a songwriter/producer who makes unique blends of electro-house music with subtle pop influences as he draws inspiration from the likes of Hayden James, Rufus du Sol, and Shallou. He released his debut single, “Bits of Tape”, in 2018 and has since released seven more singles which have collectively accumulated over two million streams on Spotify alone, and over one million of those coming from the single, “Come Home.” His music has received support from a variety of music industry curators such as Acid Stag, Pilerats, Cool Accidents, Your EDM, Run The Trap, Thissongissick, Indie Shuffl, and more. He has received continuous support from Spotify’s playlist curating teams and has scored airplay as well on Triple J.
Second Place honours go to the indie rock duo Teenage Joans (Adelaide, SA, Australia) for their song “Ice Cream” in the AAA (Adult Album Alternative) category. Consisting of vocalist/drummer Tahlia Borg and vocalist/guitarist Cahli Blakers, they rose to prominence with their debut single “By the Way”. Their second single, “Three Leaf Clover”, was released in March 2020 and became the winning song of Triple J’s 2020 Unearthed High competition. Their debut extended play, Taste of Me, was released in May 2021. The duo has been the recipient of multiple awards, including South Australian Live Act of the Year at the 2019 National Live Music Awards.
The overall Grand Prize goes to the gifted 17-year-old Sophie Pecora (Danville, CA, USA) for the song “Anxiety”. Pecora is a compelling singer/songwriter with a unique poetry-rap style of pop music. Her debut EP Raise the Bar was released at the end of 2020, and her recent EP Wildflower was released in August 2021. Pecora was a performer on Season 14 of America’s Got Talent, winning the Golden Buzzer and receiving standing ovations for each song she performed. She is currently working on new material in the studio with the acclaimed will.i.am who discovered her on TikTok. When asked what her music is about, she says, “I turn feelings into art”.
The complete panel of judges includes: Chris Daughtry (Daughtry); NLE Choppa; Aimee Mann; Robert Smith (The Cure); Sanctus Real; LoCash; Bow Wow; I Am They; Bibi Marin (Reik); Darryl McDaniels (Run DMC); David Benoit; Linda Perry; Showtek; The Devil Makes Three; Janiva Magness; Ruthie Foster; Craig Campbell; Josh Baldwin; Vertical Worship; Rhett Walker; Victor Wainwright; Derek Brown (The Flaming Lips); Russ Landau; Christopher Lennertz; Zbigniew Preisner; Tinariwen; Anthony DeCurtis (Contributing Editor, Rolling Stone); Lyndsey Parker (Managing Editor, Yahoo Music); Christopher Scapelliti (Editor-In-Chief, Guitar Player); Kevin McNeese (President, NewReleaseToday); Jeff Zuchowski (VP, Artist Marketing/Industry Relations, Pandora); Damian Fanelli (Editor-In-Chief, Guitar World); John Dibiase (President, Jesus Freak Hideout); John Cameron (Editor-In-Chief, Selector); Angel Romero (Founder/Sr. Editor, World Music Central); Hilary Saunders (Managing Editor, No Depession); Art Tipaldi (Editor, Blues Music Magazine); Raoul Hernandez (Music Editor, Austin Chronicle); Brandon Chitwood (Founder/Writer, The EDM Scholar); Mac Randall (Editor, JazzTimes); Chad Jensen (Artist Manager, Jensen Artist Mgmt); Brinson Strickland (President, Collective Music Nashville); Evan Stein (Owner, Experience Music Group); Sheryl Louis (CSM Management); James Kempner (Owner, JMK Connections); Jennifer Taunton (Music Supervisor, Level Two Music); Angela Stefano (Editor-In-Chief, The Boot); Leticia Ramirez (Sr. Latin Curator Programmer, Pandora); James Whitting (Partner, Paradigm Talent Agency); Alison Bonaguro (Freelance Country Music Journalist); Gaston Leone (Talent Buyer, Goldenvoice); Mark Garfield (Co-Director, Pop-Up Music UK Ltd.); and Daryl Berg (VP, Music Strategies and Licensing Hallmark (Crown Media)
Unsigned Only is sponsored by A&F Drum Company, Celebrity Access, Disc Makers, Ernie Ball, Eventric, IK Multimedia, Lurssen Mastering, Merch Cat, Mojave Microphones, Orange Amps, The Music Business Registry, TuneCore, and Zildjian.
Unsigned Only is now accepting entries for the 2022 competition. For more information and to enter, go to: www.unsignedonly.com.
To see the complete list of winners and to listen to the winning songs, go to: www.unsignedonly.com/winners.
The complete list of 2021 Australian winners is as follows:
Alexander Biggs (Melbourne, VIC) – “Madeleine”– Folk/Singer-Songwriter.
du0 (Brisbane, QLD) – “Come Home” – EDM (Electronic Dance Music).
Teenage Joans (Adelaide, SA) – “Ice Cream” – AAA (Adult Album Alternative).
Alter Boy (Perth, WA) – “Bad Dream Break In” – AAA (Adult Album Alternative)
Alter Boy (Perth, WA) – “Bad Dream Break In” – Pop/Top 40
Bree Rusev (Newcastle, NSW) – “Drift” – Teen
Chuditch (Perth, WA) – “Grasping At The Water” – Folk/Singer-Songwriter
ELKI (Sydney, NSW) – “Spend Your Life” – AC (Adult Contemporary)
Em George (Sydney, NSW) – “Light Comes In” – AAA (Adult Album Alternative)
JEFFE (Brisbane, QLD) – “Home” – AC (Adult Contemporary)
Jessica Arlo Irish (Sydney, NSW) – “Breath Ft. Sihyun Park” – Instrumental
Josiah McAllan (Alice Springs, NT) – “Sanctify Me” – Christian
Lachlan Edwards (Newcastle, NSW) – “Little Too Late” – Folk/Singer-Songwriter
Leonie Kingdom (Hervey Bay, QLD) – “Night Terrors” – Folk/Singer-Songwriter
LT (Cairns, QLD) – “How Would It Feel” – AC (Adult Contemporary)
Natasha Duarte (Sydney, NSW) – “Can’t Tell For Sure” – AC (Adult Contemporary)
Rumours (Melbourne, VIC) – “If Only You Could Feel Something Too” – Rock
Sage Rogan (Melbourne, VIC) – “Dusk” – Instrumental
Zoe A’dore (Melbourne, VIC) – “Read” – Pop/Top 40