The International Songwriting Competition (ISC), widely recognised as the world’s premier songwriting event, recently announced its 2012 winners. Over 20,000 entries were submitted from 119 countries

worldwide, and for the first time ever, more than half of the competition’s 68 winners are from outside the USA. This year, South African songwriters have earned their place in the competition’s history by walking away with three of the 68 awards given this year, in addition to four Honourable mentions. 

Teejay Terblanche of Black Handed Kites and Kahn Morbee of The Parlotones have earned First Place wins in the Folk/Singer-Songwriter and Music Video category, respectively; Kaindu Chiluba (known as Blaze Blackheart) received Third Place in the R&B/Hip-Hop category. The Sout African winning representation across some of the competition’s most competitive and popular categories attests to the country’s musical depth and diversity.

Winning First Place in one of the most competitive categories, Folk/Singer-Songwriter, is the song “Golden Hearts” by Teejay Terblanche of Black Handed Kites, a duo comprised of Terblanche and multi-instrumentalist, Richard Onraet. What began as a mere side project has been welcomed with an overwhelming amount of support and excitement for the South African based indie-folk duo. Their first single, “Up,” was recently featured in a video clip for Australian-based headphone company, Audiofly, which resulted in a feature artist story on the company website. Terblanche is currently in the studio recording the Black Handed Kites’ debut full-length album, set for release this summer, with a new single available by the end of May 2013.

Taking home First Place in the Music Video category is ISC veteran Kahn Morbee of the South African rock band The Parlotones. Morbee first began entering the competition in 2008 and has since been a strong competitor in the Music Video, Rock, and Performance categories with multiple wins from 2008 to 2010. This year, he returns to the competition forefront with “Honey” and reaffirms his well-respected place in the winners’ circle, as well as an Honourable Mention for the same song in the AAA category. The Parlotones have achieved multi-platinum status in South Africa and hold the record for the country’s biggest-selling rock album of the decade with their second studio album, A World Next Door To Yours, released in 2007. Morbee and the band have recently relocated to Los Angeles, California, and are currently finishing up a US headlining tour. A new full-length album is expected by the end of summer, 2013.

Third Place in the popular R&B/Hip-Hop category is awarded to hip-hop artist and songwriter, Kaindu Chiluba (known by the stage moniker “Blaze Blackheart”) for his song, “A Happy Day.” Born in Zambia, raised in London, and now based out of Cape Town, Chiluba considers himself unrestricted by his chosen drama and draws inspiration from all forms of music he has encountered in life. Both lyrically and musically, his songs are motivational and inspirational, unlike many of the stereotypical rap songs that fill modern-day radio waves. “A Happy Day” also received an Honourable Mention in ISC’s Music Video category, and Chiluba’s video is currently being aired across Africa on Channel O, one of the continents biggest music video networks.

In addition to the above winners, the following South African songwriters received Honourable Mentions in their respective categories: “Honey” – Kahn Morbee (The Parlotones) – Johannesburg, South Africa – AAA (Adult Album Alternative) “Jericho (These Walls Are Coming Down)” – Johan

Vorster (Bobby van Jaarsveld) – Pretoria, South Africa – Adult Contemporary (AC) “I Still See You” – Brendon Mendes – Durban, South Africa – Performance “1000 Miles From Your Door” – Lindiwe Suttle, Tammy Ingram – Cape Town, South Africa – Performance “ISC’s mission is to inspire and promote greatness in the field of songwriting,” says Candace Avery, Founder and Director. “It is humbling to hear so many talented songwriters, and it is gratifying to play a part in the growth of the winners’ careers.” Established in 2002, ISC awards more than $150,000 in cash and prizes to amateur and professional songwriters around the world. Past ISC winners include Gotye, The Band Perry, Kasey Chambers, Amanda Palmer, Gin Wigmore, King Charles, Kimbra, Passenger, Andrew Bird, and many more.

Winning ISC’s highest honour, the Grand Prize, is California native Joshua Hanson for his song “Monsters With Misdemeanors.” The lead singer and songwriter of the award-winning indie folk/rock trio Yellow Red Sparks, Hanson is the son of a lounge-singing mother and a theatrically trained father. From a young age he was always fascinated with words and how the stories would unfold through the liner notes of some of his favourite songwriters. His ability of expression is eloquent and effortless, crafting and delivering candid and poetic lyrics that elicit the slightest hint of bittersweet heartache.

Candace Avery, Founder and Director of ISC, says, “The judges loved the song for its sparse honesty and achingly tender lyrics. ISC is very excited to honour such a talented songwriter, and we anticipate a brilliant future for this promising artist.” Yellow Red Sparks released their debut full-length CD in early 2013, and it has already garnered glowing reviews and the attention of music tastemakers.

For a complete list of 2012 ISC winners, to hear the winning songs, and to download low-res photos of all winners, go to