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Teen with no voice becomes finalist in The John Lennon Songwriting Contest 2024


Teen with no voice becomes finalist in The John Lennon Songwriting Contest 2024

The 17-year-old goes head-to-head for ‘Song of the Year’ at The John Lennon Songwriter Awards…

Brodie Brown’s debut single ‘Monsters’ won the prestigious prize for ‘Best Rock Song‘ in the John Lennon Songwriting Awards in 2023 and is now in the running for the grand prize – ‘Song of the Year‘, despite fighting for his life during a psychotic break only one year ago.

As we approach World Health Day on Sunday 7 April the John Lennon Songwriting Awards celebrates the music achievements of the 17-year-old from Stirling, Scotland who was born with a rare condition called Lymphangioma/Cystic Hygroma, which saw him need over 70 operations on his throat from the moment he was born, throughout his childhood and into his teens. Spending much of his childhood at Great Ormond Street Hospital, literally fighting to breathe, his family moved down to Kent to be closer and Brodie was unable to attend school. This took an understandable toll on Brodie’s mental health causing a traumatic mental breakdown at the age of just 14 resulting in being sectioned in a mental hospital.

As Brodie spent his 15th birthday within the facility struggling to cope, famed Glaswegian indie band, The Fratellis (Brodie’s childhood musician heroes), heard about his plight and sent him a bass guitar – now he had a reason to keep fighting. Brodie had never played an instrument before, but a passion for music soon came as he unveiled it to be a way to express himself – a previously impossible task with just words before.

Brodie’s musical sound twists from Nigerian gospel to punk rock having commissioned gospel and jazz musicians through social media during the lockdown. Brodie’s songs are a rally-cry against the failing kids’ mental health system and his struggles with audible, visual and tactile psychosis.

On being considered for ‘Song of the Year’ at The John Lennon Songwriting Awards, Brodie says

“I can’t believe it. I just wanted people to know they’re not alone as most of my friends didn’t make it. I’m just lucky to have found my reason.”

Now – despite Brodie’s daily challenges he has been offered a place at WaterBear College of Music to do a degree in songwriting – without having any traditional school qualifications at all. Since writing ‘Monsters‘, Brodie has written and recorded over a dozen more songs and released his debut EP, ‘Just Another Day in Paradise‘, available to listen to on Spotify. ‘It’s Never Enough‘ also won the ‘Best Break-Up Song‘ category at The John Lennon Songwriting Competition.

The John Lennon Songwriting Contest is an international songwriting contest that began in 1997 to allow songwriters to express themselves, and get their music heard. The JLSC is made possible by Yoko Ono Lennon with judges including Flea from The Red Hot Chilli Peppers.

Proceeds from the contest help support the non-profit John Lennon Educational Tour Bus mobile recording studio which is dedicated to providing young people with opportunities to create original music and digital media. Voting for The John Lennon Songwriting Contest is open now until 30 May 2024. Please vote here:

Founder of the WaterBear College of Music, Bruce Dickenson:

“When we heard his music, we knew we had to help, even though he didn’t meet the entry requirements. WaterBear exists to find and nurture raw talent so we worked with our partners at Falmouth University to formally recognise Brodie’s real-world musical achievements, and I am so pleased that we could offer a place on the degree due to the sheer quality of his musical output.

“This was so important to me, as I too left formal education with very few qualifications having spent my youth in van touring, and I was later able to get myself onto a degree course in the same way as Brodie. Music can change our lives and I see that every day. Well done Brodie. Where you tread others will follow.”

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