Anna Wolf Wins the Grand Prize in the 2019 Unsigned Only Music Competition

The Unsigned Only Music Competition is pleased to announce its 2019 winners. Unsigned Only is open to all artists who are unsigned to a major record label and gives artists exposure, recognition, and validation for their artistry.

A total of $150,000 in cash and prizes is awarded to 38 winners, including an overall Grand Prize winner and a First and Second Place winner in each category. An additional group of Honorable Mentions were also selected. Over the years Unsigned Only has become an important source for discovering new talent. Since its inception in 2012, five Grand Prize winners have been signed to record labels.

For the first time in Unsigned Only’s history, the 2019 Grand Prize is awarded to a South African artist, Anna Wolf, for the song “Believer.” Wolf beat out almost 6,000 entries from more than 100 countries to be named the Grand Prize winner. Wolf is truly a compelling and rare artist – a hypnotic performer with passion and style, a singer with hauntingly beautiful vocals, and a songwriter with depth and vulnerability. The winning song, “Believer,” is a powerful track, inspired by Wolf’s desire to break the silence about domestic violence and serves as a personal refusal to become the victim of her circumstance.

“I feel such gratitude for this honour,” said Anna Wolf. “The message of ‘Believer” is burnt into every fibre of my being: to let go of expectations, to face my own vulnerabilities and to always keep faith that tomorrow will be the day I get to share my music with the world.”

Born in Pretoria, South Africa, Wolf (formerly known as Tailor) has had a celebrated career, amassing hit singles, sold-out shows, South African Music Awards nominations, and a legion of dedicated fans. In 2018, she moved to London, where one night she took her guitar to the bathtub and recorded herself performing “Believer” on her cell phone by stomping her feet against the tub. She sent the demo to producer Pete Boxta Martin, (Missy Elliot, Jessie J, Sugababes), who ended up recording the song. You can still hear some of the noise from the bathtub in the final mix. Apple Music selected the song for four playlists (including Best of the Week, Future Hits, Jump Start and The A-list Alternative) and gave the music video a worldwide release as an exclusive premiere on their platform. More recently, Wolf has released the follow-up single, “Silence,” to acclaimed reviews, dedicating the song to her fans she calls “wolves.”

“Anna Wolf is such a phenomenal artist,” said UO founders, Candace Avery and Jim Morgan. “She has so much passion and authenticity, and she needs to be heard. She is an artist who is not afraid to tackle difficult issues and make you feel emotion, and she is one of the most magnetic and inspiring artists we have ever come across.”

In addition to winning $20,000 in cash (US) and $40,000 (US) in merchandise and services, Wolf also receives one-on-one mentoring from a group of upper-echelon music industry executives, including: Pete Ganbarg (President of A&R, Atlantic Records); Nick Haussling (Senior VP of A&R, Warner Records); Liz Cohen (A&R, RCA Records); Kim Stephens (President, Forward Entertainment / A&R, Lava Records); David Silbaugh (Talent Buyer, Summerfest); Brinson Strickland (President, Collective Artist Management); and Kristyn Ciani (Talent Buyer, C3 Presents).

The complete panel of 2019 judges includes: Aimee Mann; Garth Hudson (The Band); Taj Mahal; Sanctus Real; Bow Wow; Robert Smith (The Cure); The Secret Sisters; Boney James; Gareth Emery; O.A.R.; Janiva Magness; Fred Hersch; Francesca Battistelli; Frank Foster; Aaron Shust; Toots Hibbert (Toots and the Maytals); Ruthie Foster; Tinariwen; Craig Campbell; JD McPherson; Carter Burwell; Zbigniew Preisner; Russ Landau; Josh Jackson (Co-Founder and Editor-In-Chief, Paste Magazine); Anthony DeCurtis (Contributing Editor, Rolling Stone); Mac Randall (Editor, JazzTimes); Marcos Juarez (Head of Latin Music, Pandora); David Sikorski (Senior Editor, EARMILK Media INC.); Lyndsey Parker (Managing Editor, Yahoo Music); Kevin McNeese (President, NewReleaseToday); Art Tipaldi (Editor, Blues Music Magazine); Nigel J. Farmer (Editor-In-Chief, Jazz In Europe); John Dibiase (President, Jesus Freak Hideout); David Silbaugh (Talent Buyer, Summerfest); Angel Romero (Founder / Sr. Editor, World Music Central); Brandon Chitwood (Assistant Director, EDM Joy); Enrique Santos (Chairman / Chief Creative Officer, iHeart Latino); Chad Jensen (Artist Manager, Jensen Artist Management); Brinson Strickland (President, Collective Music Nashville); Deborah Klein (JV Partner and Artist Manager, Primary Wave Entertainment); Kristyn Ciani (Talent Buyer, C3 Presents / Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits, Shaky Knees); Evan Stein (Owner, Experience Music Group); James Kempner (Owner, JMK Connections); Jennifer Taunton (Music Supervisor, Level Two Music); Jessica Cole (Founder / President, Lyric House); and Sheryl Louis (Artist Manager, CSM Management).

Unsigned Only is sponsored by Celebrity Access; Eventric; Hybrid Studios; Lurssen Mastering; Merch Cat; Musicians Institute; Musician Wellness; Pro Tour Nutrition; Radio Airplay; Shubb Capos; Symphonic Distribution; The Music Business Registry; and Vocal Eze.

The complete list of 2019 Unsigned Only winners is as follows:

Grand Prize

Anna Wolf (Pretoria, South Africa) – “Believer”

AAA (Adult Album Alternative)

First Place
Adrian Chalifour (Victoria, BC, Canada) – “Head Down Heart Up”

Second Place
Whitefield (Werrington County, NSW, Australia) – “Ivy”

Adult Contemporary (AC)

First Place
Madison Olds (Kamloops, BC, Canada) – “Thank You”

Second Place
CAEZAR (Gloucester, GLR, England) – “Hold On”

Americana

First Place
Kenny Foster (Joplin, MO, USA) – “Wood & Steel”

Second Place
Roger Street Friedman (New York, NY, USA) – “Everyday”

Blues

First Place
Layla Zoe (Victoria, BC, Canada)  – “The Deeper They Bury Me”

Second Place
Teresa James And The Rhythm Tramps (Canyon Country, CA, USA) – “Forgetting You”

Christian

First Place
Avery Blank (Sedgwick, KS, USA)  – “Not Over”

Second Place
Francesca Ani (Tampa, FL, USA) – “Heart On Fire”

Country

First Place
Tyler Dial (Phoenix, AZ, USA) – “Damn, Denver”

Second Place
Kaylee Bell (Waimate, CT, New Zealand) – “Keith”

EDM

First Place
Krane (Los Angeles, CA, USA) – “Movin”

Second Place
Friendzone (Salt Lake City, UT, USA) – “Neighbors”

Folk/Singer-Songwriter

First Place
Tom Freund (Venice, CA, USA)  – “Freezer Burn”

Second Place
Clinton Clegg (Pittsburgh, PA, USA) – “Spain”

Instrumental

First Place
Roman Smirnov (Toronto, ON, Canada)  – “Kuwaka”

Second Place
Symphonex Orchestra (Charlestown, RI, USA) – “Dreams In Bloom – The Encounter”

Jazz

First Place
Chico Pinheiro (Sao Paulo, Brazil)  – “Flor de Fogo”

Second Place
Chris Parker (Port Jervis, NY, USA) – “The Chimney”

Latin

First Place
Gio Cadario (Santa Cruz, Bolivia)  – “Devuelveme”

Second Place
Teff (Caracas, Venezuela) – “Te Equivocaste”

 Pop/Top 40

First Place
Cray (Norway)  – “Monkey Wants Banana”

Second Place
Tia P (Inglewood, CA, USA) – “Come Together”

R&B/Hip-Hop

First Place
Alexander Lewis (Los Angeles, CA, USA)  – “Pearl Magnolia”

Second Place
Coco Jones (Lebanon, TN, USA) – “Just My Luck”

Rock

First Place
Fink Tree (Poznan, Poland) – “Love Somebody”

Second Place
Dogtooth (Glasgow, Scotland) – “Trying To Save You”

Screen Shot

First Place
Bryan Elijah Smith (Dayton, VA, USA) – “In Through The Dark”

Second Place
Big Little Lions (Royston, BC, Canada) – “Find Your Tribe”

Teen

First Place
Carolyn Hao (Toronto, ON, Canada) – “Losing Count”

Second Place
Camryn Quinlan (Sayville, NY, USA) – “Monsters”

Vocal Performance

First Place
Rhia (Melbourne, VIC, Australia) – “Crystalline”

Second Place
Pedro Barbosa (Maputo, Mozambique) – “Crazy Love Is”

World Music

First Place
OYME (Moscow, Russia) – “Vaya”

Second Place
Kidum Kibido And Boda Boda (Bujumbura, Burundi) – “Nipe Nguvu”

Fandemonium Winner (winner selected by online public vote)

Corvyx (Staten Island, NY, USA) – “Alive”

Grand Slam Promotion Winners

Week 1 – Get Exposed Online With Digital Distribution and Promotion
Sara (Belgrade, Serbia) – “Player Of Mine”

Week 2 – Get Licensed With Your Music
Charlie Grant (Totnes, DVN, England) – “Black Lines”

Week 3 – Get Published With Your Songs
Goodnight, Sunrise (Toronto, ON, Canada) – “WVV”

Week 4 – Get Paid For Your Music
Dylan Holton (Ottawa, ON, Canada) – “I Used To”

Win Some Love Promotion Winners

First Place: Kat Beck (North Vancouver, BC, Canada) – “Hooked On Your Love”
Second Place: Maham Suhail (Lahore, Pakistan) – “Pauna”
Third Place: Angus Brill Reed (Adelaide, SA, Australia) – “Be You”

Video Only Promotion Winners

Professional Video Winner
Tia P (Inglewood, CA, USA) – “Come Together”

Homemade Video Winner
Matt Ellis (Sydney, NSW, Australia) – “Some People”