Kris Allen and Blackbird Academy of Arts Harmonize on Songwriting Contest to Benefit Arts Education

Oct 14, 2011, 12:54 ET from Music Empowers Foundation

NEW YORK, Oct. 14, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Blackbird Academy of Arts announced today the commencement of The Alchemy Songwriting Competition. The showcase will be presented by platinum recording artist and 2009 American Idol Winner, Kris Allen and is a songwriting contest and performance event designed to inspire musicians of all ages, while also raising awareness about the need for more affordable arts education. All proceeds from contest entry fees, event sponsorships and showcase finale ticket sales will go to benefit Blackbird Academy, an arts and music school in Conway, Arkansas.

The Alchemy Songwriting Competition is open to songwriters ages 13 and over.  Contestants will compete in one of two age group categories (13-17, and 18 & over) and numerous music genre categories including: Rock, Pop, R&B, Gospel/Christian, and Country.  The Grand Prize winner will receive an all-expenses paid trip to Los Angeles and the chance to record their song in a professional studio with Grammy-winning producers Ryan Peterson and Nolan Sipe.  

According to Blackbird Academy, contest finalists will be invited to perform their songs at a gala showcase concert in Arkansas on December 3rd. At the gala, Kris Allen will serve as one of three celebrity judges who will give feedback to the finalists and determine a winner. Joining Mr. Allen will be Grammy-winning singer/songwriter and producer, David Hodges and Andy Davis, founder of Music Empowers Foundation, a national not-for-profit that provides funding for music and arts education.  

Mr. Allen is no stranger to advocating on behalf of music and arts education. Through partnerships with organizations like Music Empowers and, he has helped to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for numerous projects and programs, including: Berklee City Music, Artists Corps of America, and Blackbird Academy of Arts.        

"Music and arts education is so vital to any person's development and it has long been a cause that I hold close to my heart. I want to do whatever I can to make sure that as many folks as possible, both in Arkansas and across the country, have access to great programs like Blackbird's," says Kris Allen.

"We are incredibly excited about this opportunity to showcase new songwriting talent. The Alchemy Songwriting Competition is a great way for songwriters - young and old - to get their music heard by professionals who know what it takes to make it in the music industry," says Jennie McNulty Strange, founder and executive director of Blackbird Academy. Ms. Strange went on to explain that Blackbird plans to use proceeds from the Showcase to help fund scholarships and to expand music and arts offerings.  

Alchemy Songwriting Competition submissions will be accepted from October 15th through November 15th. Complete information regarding the competition including: entry forms, contest rules, sponsorship information, and additional background on the judges and Blackbird Academy can be found at

Blackbird Academy of Arts is a nonprofit organization with the primary purpose of providing quality, but affordable, arts education to the Central Arkansas area. After only two years in operation, they are averaging 300 students per semester in music, dance, art, theatre, writing, visual arts, and film classes. In the past year they have provided over $17,000 in scholarships.

Since winning American Idol in 2009, Kris Allen has become a household name.  After releasing his self-titled debut album in 2009 on 19 Recordings/Jive Records, Kris toured the U.S., opening for Keith Urban, Maroon 5, The Barenaked Ladies, and Lifehouse, as well as headlining his own club tour. His first single "Live Like We're Dying" has sold over 1.6 million copies to date.  Kris currently is recording new material for his second album.

Contact: Jennie McNulty Strange

SOURCE Music Empowers Foundation