Last year, the Queen song "Don't Stop Me Now" was declared the "top feel-good song of the past 50 years." The title wasn't assigned by music critics, but a scientific formula concocted by Dr. Jacob Jolij, a cognitive neuroscientist the University of Groningen in Holland.
Dr Jolij's formula first made us (ironically enough) depressed, but then it got us thinking. What would be the most beautiful song of the past 50 years? The answer, naturally, is "Moon River," composed by Henry Mancini with lyrics by Johnny Mercer (the song was actually released 55 years ago).
Therefore, in our humble opinion, the strength of this song alone (no forumla required!) should be reason enough for aspiring songwriters to check out the 11th Annual Johnny Mercer Foundation Songwriters Project. The program is currently accepting applications through Friday, March 4 from aspiring young songwriters and songwriting teams between the ages of 18 and 30 working in any popular music style.
Before we take a closer look at the program, let's first step back and introduce you to the Johnny Mercer Foundation and the program's partner, the American Music Theatre Project (AMTP) at Northwestern University. The mission of the L.A.-based Johnny Mercer Foundation is to support the discipline of songwriting in the tradition of the Great American Songbook, as exemplified by the life and work of the legendary lyricist, composer, performer, collaborator, and producer Johnny Mercer. The foundation supports causes and organizations such as UCLA's Art of The Brain, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles via the Mark Taper and Johnny Mercer Artists Program, and the Braille Institute's Johnny Mercer Music Program.
The AMTP, meanwhile, works to invigorate American music theater by bringing together the nation's leading artists with Northwestern University's faculty and students. The Johnny Mercer Foundation Songwriters Project will host emerging songwriters and writing teams from June 19-25 on Northwestern’s Evanston, Illinois campus. And competition is fierce. Last year, more than 130 applicants applied, and only 12 made the cut.
This year's program will be led by acclaimed songwriters Craig Carnelia, Andrew Lippa, and Lari White, and the project will culminate on June 25 with the Songwriters In Concert, a program showcasing the talents of the program's participants.
Interested? Check out the online application and guidelines here. But do us a favor. Don't refer to Dr. Jolij's formula in advance. That's cheating.