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SongLink Prizes presented at LIPA Graduation 2009
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David Stark with the winners
David Stark with the SongLink winners
Tony Platt, Steve Levine, Paul McCartney
Tony Platt, Steve Levine, Paul McCartney
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David Stark, publisher of SongLink International, presented the annual SongLink Prizes at LIPA Graduation Day on Friday July 24th 2009, attended by Sir Paul McCartney and other dignitaries at Liverpool's Philharmonic Hall. The two songwriting prizewinners, Michael Halls and David Wilson, were among 300 graduating students of McCartney's 'fame academy', the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts, which caters for all aspects of music, dance, theatre and associated skills.

"The standard of songs I had to assess from this year's crop of songwriting students was particularly strong," commented Stark, who was himself honoured as a Companion of LIPA in 2006. "The choices were especially hard as so many displayed great originality and versatility in their work, along with a high level of musicianship and production. However, after much deliberation I was delighted to award the two SongLink Prizes to Michael Halls and David Wilson, whose songs are quite superb albeit being at opposite ends of the musical spectrum. Michael writes mainly acoustic pop/folk for his band Fables, while David's melodic brand of dance/pop, recorded by Untouched, is as strong as anything by top-selling chart acts. They certainly both have the potential to follow in the footsteps of other LIPA successes like Sandie Thom, the Wombats and the Zutons, and I'm delighted to help them in a small way with these awards. Paul also mentioned he was quite aware of their talent, having tutored them briefly during their final year. He's very proud of all the students who go there."

Also honoured at the ceremony were singer Will Young, actor Joe McGann and record producer Tony Platt (Bob Marley, AC/DC, Foreigner etc), who were all made Companions of LIPA along with four other arts professionals. McCartney had only arrived back in the UK from New York the previous day, and returns to the USA to continue his mini-tour next month. In his closing speech, he recalled his schooldays at the Liverpool Institute in the building that eventually became LIPA over forty years later. He also light-heartedly warned the students to be prepared for making mistakes in their career which might need some quick thinking to put right. As an example, he cited his own boob in 1990 when he opened a Pittsburgh show with the words "People of Detroit....", before quickly adding ".... you are not!" on realising his error. The ceremony closed with the traditional mortar-board throwing by the 300 new graduates, before Paul headed to the VIP reception along with his brother Mike and other guests.

Meanwhile Michael Halls and David Wilson both have two tracks included on the latest SongLink CD sampler "Gold Songs" which is currently being mailed out to the music industry, as well as being up on the SongLink website. David Wilson's tracks "Make You Feel Good" and "Don't Wanna Talk" feature Untouched singer Fiona Grace, while Michael Halls' "20 Years From Now" and "Sewn With Your Thread" feature Fables singer Ellie Redhead. This latest edition of the promo-only CD continues the Liverpool theme with a timely Beatles tribute, "Remember (Gold Songs)" penned by David Stark himself, along with other tracks by LIPA and Liverpool artists. SongLink is a service used by songwriters and music publishers for placing songs with recording artists around the world, which it has been doing succesfully since 1993.

LINKS:

LIPA

Michael Halls / Fables

David Wilson / Untouched

Tony Platt

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