AFA Education
Song Writing Competition
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Judges

Singer / Songwriter

Grace Parry

Born in Swansea, South Wales, singer songwriter and pianist Grace performs regularly at festivals and events, with a mixture of covers and her own original material. Her songs are written from personal experience and are deeply heartfelt, which she believes accounts for her appeal to her diverse fanbase, while her extensive vocal range enables her to perform with eclectic variation across every musical genre. Grace started playing music when she was a child, writing her first song at 11 and she is a massive advocate for tenacity in the industry and has never compromised on her music. Her latest song ‘Real’ features another amazing voice; David Adonis.

Professional Musicians

Marius Frank & Cindy Stratton

Cindy Stratton and Marius Frank are well-known West Country-based professional musicians.

Cindy began a career in music in the late eighties, rapidly establishing herself as a singer-songwriter. Success in a Radio 1 competition led to Radio and TV appearances, as well as supporting Phil Collins, Jules Holland, Labi Siffre, John Martyn and many others. Five album releases later, Cindy is still writing great songs and sining to packed houses www.cindystratton.com

Marius has combined a career in education with one in music. Son of an opera singer (his father was also the one who ate the monkey brains in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom!), Marius burst onto the Bristol scene with his amazing world music/jazz fusion band “Taboola Rasa” closing the Bath International Festival some years ago. Marius is sought after for his arranging and composing skills, working closely with Cindy, Sassparella, and his producer/recording engineer Marcellus Fernandes, as part of the Dharma Sound Lab project https://scip5.net/music-and-media/

Percussionist

Ben Burton

Ben is a classical percussionist who has played at concert venues including the O2 Arena, Royal Festival Hall and Cadogan Hall. He has performed with the likes of Stormzy, Russell Watson, SEARLS & Rick Wakeman.

Working consistently in London’s off West End Theatre scene and continuing to work with regional orchestras; theatres include Prince Edward Theatre, Young Vic and Royal Lyceum Theatre in Edinburgh to name a few. He has worked on recording projects at studios including Angel, BBC Radio and BBC Maida Vale. Ben has also worked on some fantastic contracts in China and Thailand.

Singer / Songwriter

Martyn Joseph

Martyn has won the love of audiences from USA and Canada to Europe through an impressive number of live dates, and has previously toured with the likes of Art Garfunkel, Jools Holland, Ani DiFranco, Suzanne Vega, Mike and The Mechanics, Joan Armatrading, Celine Dion and Shirley Bassey.

In addition to his 5 top 50 UK hits, the importance of his work has been recognised by programmes such as BBC Radio 2’s prime time series on Singer/Songwriters. Social justice has an essential presence throughout his music, which has been recognised with various humanitarian awards and plaudits. There is a versatility to Martyn’s music that is hard to categorise. Many have tried, resulting in labels such as Folk, Rock, Soul, Folk Funk and Americana; all of which somehow miss the mark. But sometimes music doesn’t need a defining genre and with the ability to articulate a sense of the bigger picture, Martyn’s music and social commentary manage to empower and speak for many. His songs are pictures, and stories, and feelings all put to music and delivered by a master craftsman.


January 2019 saw the release of his 33rd studio album, “Here Come The Young, produced by Gerry Diver (Tom Robinson, Lisa Knapp and Sam Lee). The album has received praise from all corners including Uncut magazine, which described the songs as “anthems of hope that bigotry and hatred will not prevails” The title track also won the award for “Best Original English Language Song” at the 2019 Wales Folk Awards.
With lyrics such as these, you know he is a massive supporter of youth today!
Here come the young
With open minds and hearts
Inclusive from the start
Here come the young
Here come the young
They might just save the day
Martyn will shortly be releasing a new album – watch this space!