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16th Annual John Lennon Scholarship Winners Announced
The winners of the BMI Foundation’s 16th Annual John Lennon Scholarship, a program that recognizes the best and brightest young songwriters between the ages of 17 and 24, were announced on September 24, 2013 by Samantha Cox, Director of the Competition.
First place was awarded to Phoenix, Arizona native and Berklee School of Music student, Luke Niccoli for his song, “Empires In The Sky.” Sophomore University of Miami student, Jared Goldstein placed second for his winning song, “In Panic.” Tying for third place was Berklee School of Music student, Tiffany Chan for her song, “Lost and Found,” and SAE Institute of Technology student Michael Elliott for his song, “The War Within Me.”
The 2013 judges include Producer Benny Blanco, Warner Chappell Music Publishing VP Lee Dannay, Senior VP/Co-Head of East Coast Operations Universal Music Publishing Group Jessica Rivera, Imagem Music President Richard Stumpf, and SONGS Music Publishing Katy Wolaver.
Thousands of students representing schools from every state participated.
Established by Yoko Ono in 1997, in conjunction with the BMI Foundation, the John Lennon Scholarship has been made possible through generous donations from Ono with matching funds from Gibson Musical Instruments. More than $300,000 has been awarded over the last 15 years to students from U.S. colleges and universities.
The BMI Foundation, Inc. is a not-for-profit corporation founded in 1985 to support the creation, performance, and study of music through awards, scholarships, commissions and grants.
Luke Niccoli is a 19-year-old recording artist, songwriter, and producer from Phoenix, Arizona. He began playing guitar at age 10 and by age 12 was recording original material and performing all the instruments for each track. He launched his first CD in early 2012 and the title song from the album, “Empires in the Sky,” made Dale Kawashima’s SongwritersUniverse.com Top 5 songs of the month for April 2012.
After finishing high school, Luke applied to the prestigious Berklee College of Music and was awarded a Songwriters scholarship.
He is an established performer in the Phoenix Metro Area playing for a variety of live events. This summer, he opened for Martina McBride in front of a sold out crowed at the legendary Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix, Arizona. He was called back just a few weeks later to open for Chris Isaak at the same venue. Luke’s current studies include songwriting, performance, and business while working on new material.
His influences include John Mayer, Kings of Leon, and Jeff Buckley to name a few. Luke’s writing continues to mature and progress as he gains inspiration from the world around him. He is working on releasing new songs and touring with his band soon.
Jared Goldstein is a sophomore at The Frost School of Music, University of Miami majoring in Music Business and Entertainment Industries. He is a participant in the highly competitive Bruce Hornsby Contemporary American Music Program and is responsible for the formation of “Pathways Rock,” the first inclusive rock band featuring musicians with disabilities.
Performing as Jared Dylan, Jared was a cast member on Season 3 of NBC’s “The Voice” and released his first EP in 2012. Jared Dylan can be heard on Pandora, iHeart Radio, and major radio stations throughout the U.S. He is also an alumnus of the New York Film Academy for acting.
Jared has worked with multi-platinum producer, Anthony J. Resta (Collective Soul, Blondie, Elton John) and has performed with rock legends like Mark Farner (Grand Funk Railroad), Joey Molland (Band Finger), and Kip Winger (Alice Cooper, Winger).
Jared’s music ranges from alternative rock to pop and electronic, and composed jazz, blues, and classical pieces. Armed with killer lyrics and compelling melodies, his music crosses genres and appeals to all ages. Seven of Jared’s songs are licensed to television shows like “Kourtney and Kim take Miami,” “Bad Ink,” and “MTV Road Rules Challenge.” Fans can watch Jared’s video for “Mistakes” on MTV.com.
Jared can frequently be found performing in local venues such as Bar East in NYC, Great Adventure Theme Parks, and holds the distinction of the only freshman composition chosen to perform in the 2012 Songwriter Showcase at Festival Miami. Jared is a member of The Music and Entertainment Industry Student Association (MEISA), GRAMMY U, and other student organizations.
Tiffany Chan is a 19 year-old independent singer/songwriter from Hong Kong who is majoring in songwriting at the Berklee College of Music in Boston.
As an honors student at Berklee, Tiffany was awarded the Student Achievement Scholarship for the 2013-2014 school year. With a strong passion for music at an early age, she was admitted to the Junior Music Course of the Hong Kong Academy for the Performing Arts (HKAPA) at age 11 on trumpet. Despite being classically trained, Tiffany showed interest in pop music and formed a fusion band with her schoolmates playing pop songs she re-arranged herself.
Determined to become a singer/songwriter, Tiffany formed her own music production company, Electone Music Limited, just months before the release of her debut EP, Rockertude, in July 2012, and her second EP, A Token of Memories, this August. On both EPs, Tiffany is the producer, as well as the writer of all the songs. Tiffany mainly writes pop-rock songs mostly about her personal experiences and dreams. Videos of her songs can be viewed on YouTube.
This past summer, Tiffany performed several live gigs including the reputable 2013 Gongliao International Rock Festival in Taiwan, StreetVoice HK The Next Big Thing, and HK IFPI LiveTube July Concert. She held two live concerts and has performed at a charitable function. Tiffany was also interviewed by radio stations and print media in Hong Kong, including Commercial Radio HK and Cosmopolitan Magazine HK.
Tiffany hopes her music can heal people’s soul and inspire people to strive for their dreams.
As composer and musician Michael Elliott can attest to, never give up on pursuing your passion and talent. Michael was exposed to music through family jam sessions from a young age, found his way to a guitar at 11, then taught himself to record at his home studio, amassing what is now a library of compositions. His first EP was created in early 2012, a collaboration via Skype with lyricist/vocalist Archie Wilson in England, resulting in the metal band “Mortimer Chang.” Together, they created a 6 song EP. That EP’s music got some attention, including MTV commissioning one of their songs for a reality TV show.
His long-time mentor and instructor Victory Mori describes his creativity as having “a rare balance if imagination and control, with elements of surprise and almost poetic depth.” Another mentor, BMI writer/publisher Gary Mallaber, refers to Michael’s compositions as having “vision and maturity.” And, as Michael puts it, music is an inseparable part of him, inspiring a constant creative process.
While he continues to compose and record, Michael is enhancing his audio engineering and sound design skills while attending the SAE Institute of Technology in Hollywood, CA. His aspirations are to record and perform his music, as well as compose for film and television.