If you’ve been following The Big Hook contest, then you know we recently announced our winners and you’ve probably already listened to the winning hooks.
The month-long competition invited musicians from around the world to write and perform original 30-second song hooks for a chance to win a songwriter boot camp in Nashville, TN.
While the winning entries speak for themselves, we wanted to know these three artists a bit better. Find out how each got started in music, what their songwriting process is like and how The Big Hook has made an impact on their career.
Third Place: Jamie Willetts
Award: $1,000 + $200 in Fiverr Credit
“I began songwriting when I was about 16, and a few years later I met Amy Wadge, who co-wrote “Thinking Out Loud.” Her advice, encouragement and support made me strive to be a better songwriter, and I had the privilege of working with her on my debut extended play.
I came across The Big Hook competition just a few days before the entry deadline closed, but I had been writing a lot recently and thought this would be a great way to gauge if people liked my new material. All I had to do was share 30 seconds of my song, so I really had nothing to lose!
I never think about writing a hook. I often start singing a melody, record it, and work around that. With “Ghost,” I began with writing the pre-chorus, and the melody for the chorus came to me later on. I also began writing the song on the piano but then took it to my computer to develop the sound. I think the beat behind the hook works really well with it now, and I’m really happy with where the song ended up.
The Big Hook has helped me out massively! With the prize money, I can now afford to begin recording my new music! I’m thrilled the judges picked me; otherwise, I could have been waiting months before I was in a position to start recording again! The Big Hook has also really given me the support and drive to pursue my music. I can’t wait for everyone to hear it!
Some of the things on my musician bucket list include hearing one of my songs on the radio, going on tour, playing a wicked festival, and playing a sold out show.”
Second Place: Axel Mansoor
Award: $2,000, $300 in Fiverr Credit + mentoring session
“I’ve been writing songs since I was 15. It started as a way to deal with the tough emotional things in my life, so it basically acted as a form of self-therapy.
It would be so great if I had a standard process that I could follow every time, but for me it varies. I usually start with a guitar and a melody and then add lyrics. Then I try to make something that I’ve never written before and haven’t heard before, and then combine that with whatever has been going on in my life or the life of someone I know. That way I can combine something musically interesting and emotionally relatable. Honestly though, a lot of it is trial and error, and I write A LOT.
The hook in “Paint” actually came about pretty strangely. A good friend sent me some poetry of his, and I ended up adapting a part of it into the vocal hook. Then I forgot about it for three years. Then a few months ago, I was jamming over some simple chords and the melody popped back into my head, and I thought “YES!” After I combined the two, I continually revised the guitar line until it was something I felt was truly dope.
Winning the contest was very timely! It is helping me promote the fact that I just released my album, and the money I’m getting is going straight into my savings, which is going to go straight into the next extended play. I’ve actually used Fiverr a bunch in the past, and my logo came directly from a Fiverr seller, so I’m excited to get some new artwork and designs. I’m also excited about my mentoring session, and hopefully I can connect again with Lonna and Jamie.
My goal with my songs is to inspire others to be self-loving and self-empowered. I want to get a publishing or record deal, mostly so I can go touring and eventually play my music for fans all over the world. I also really want to write for other artists and even score some web series/movies. I have a little fantasy that John Mayer will someday hear one of my songs and be like, “Cool dude!” Maybe he’ll high five me too.”
First Place: Lonna Marie
Award: Trip to Nashville + songwriter boot camp
“I started writing my own songs when I lived in New York. I was inspired by a very complicated relationship, and music was the only way I could communicate how I was feeling. We would go through something, and instead of talking it out, I would write a song expressing myself and then he’d understand me. Once I realized how invested I was in creating these songs, I made the decision to stop being a professional auditionee with Broadway aspirations and take my career into my own hands. It was terrifying, but writing music has been the most fulfilling thing I’ve ever done, and I’m so happy I took this leap.
I think the best hooks I’ve ever written started with having a melody that I couldn’t get out of my head. From there, the melody would lead me to what to say. That’s how it happened with “Blue Bird.” “Blue Bird” ends up being a pretty sorrowful yet empowering song, but I can’t take all the credit for going in that direction. The melody drove the context and what it wanted to say and feel. Melancholy always finds a way to inspire me no matter if I’m going through those emotions in reality or not.
I initially signed up on Fiverr because I was going through a bit of a writer’s block for my own projects. I signed up just to put a jingle portfolio together and be challenged creatively. It was the best decision I ever made. I’m constantly challenged by the diversity and extremes, and it has really shaped me into the writer I am today. Having music as my full time job doesn’t hurt either! Because I feel less constrained as an artist, I have a lot more confidence, and Fiverr has a lot to do with that. I can take on any type of project and do my best work, and that makes me feel unstoppable.
I try to stretch myself as much as I possibly can when creating music. I am constantly writing on so many diverse projects, from records to jingles, and I don’t see why I can’t do it all. Something that I’ve always wanted is to have a solid band of players on my team and go on tour. I have toured solo, but there’s just something so special about how a band enhances the experience and the music.”
Congratulations to all three winners! We wish you lots of success and look forward to hearing more from you!