The 2021 edition of the Vanda & Young Global Songwriting Competition has just had its deadline extended to October 22nd, and with official music credit gurus Jaxsta hopping on board as sponsors, former winner Gretta Ray chatted with them about her journey with the competition from the beginning, and all the way to stardom.

With the deadline now extended to October 22nd and latest sponsors Jaxsta joining the team, there’s never been a better time to enter the Vanda & Young Global Songwriting Competition. 2016 winner Gretta Ray had a chat with Jaxsta’s Rod Yates about her rise in the music world, and is keen to see others take the same road she did and turn themselves into the next global name in the music world.

Working towards her dreams since she was a child, Gretta Ray now has two EPs, one album, and a good chunk of singles in her arsenal, and has amassed millions upon millions of streams via Spotify.

Keen to try your talents for Vanda & Young just like Gretta Ray? Just head over to the competition’s online portal, upload the song you’re wanting to submit to the competition, and attach a digital photo of yourself and a brief biography, and you could be the world’s next big star.

Check out 2016 Vanda & Young winner Gretta Ray chatting with Jaxsta:

So, as for the competition itself, it welcomes musicians in all stages of their careers, no matter their age, background, language, or lack of professional studio set up. Meaning, no matter where you’re at in the world, or what language you like to sing in, this competition is wide open for you.

As Gretta stated about her entrance to the competition, she was in the middle of her year 12 examinations. “It was so ridiculous. I missed a call from Milly from APRA to tell me that I’d won. I’d like entirely forgotten about it at that point.”

Her winning song, ‘Drive’ began to come together around the age of 17: “It came together the space of the musical department at my high school,” Gretta begins. “I worked on it over a couple of months.”

“I think ‘Drive’ was kind of like, in a way, a patchwork of ideas I had accumulated over the course of the past couple of years,” that came from her brainstorming on the trams in Melbourne or even while in school. “Conceptually, it’s oddly a song that kinda celebrates unrequited love and just focuses on that feeling of, ‘it’s still a wonderful feeling even though it’s still all in your imagination’.”

So, as long as you’ve got a good song up your sleeve like Gretta Ray did, a method of recording, and the $50 entry fee, then you’re all set for the Vanda & Young global songwriting competition.

Check out ‘Drive’ by Gretta Ray:

One of the driving points for the Vanda & Young Global Songwriting Competition is the fact that it has the largest cash prize available out of all songwriting competitions with a massive $80,000 sprawled across 14 winners, with the first prize winner getting $50,000.

For Gretta Ray, she remembers this moment with excitement: “I called Milly, and the way that she [told me I won] was not, ‘you’ve won the Vanda & Young songwriting competition,’ it was, ‘hey Gretta, you’ve just won $50,000. My tiny 18-year-old brain was like, ‘what?’.”

With exams in the way, Gretta had to wait a few days before going to Sydney to begin interviews, photoshoots, and fast track her way to stardom direct from high school. She recalls not knowing where to start with her prize money, and feeling slightly overwhelmed, especially with comments coming about like, “oh, she’s going to have the most lit schoolies.”

Check out ‘Bigger Than Me’ by Gretta Ray:

For Gretta Ray, the importance of winning the Vanda & Young competition cannot be understated, as it gave her the freedom to take her musical journey whichever way she wanted: “The security that the prize gave me was that I could really take the time to work out what I wanted to do next, and how I wanted to present my artist project, which was so important to me.

“It meant that – though there was quite a bit of interest surrounding the project – I didn’t necessarily have to sign with the first label that was offered to me. […] I actually got to think about, ‘okay, what’s going to suit my artist project, and who’s going to be the best team for me.”

So, with the competition entries well underway, and open to anyone from any background, age, language, and country for a simple $50 entry fee that gets sent directly to the Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy Australia (Noro) charity to shine light on the benefit of music therapy, there’s no better time like now to follow your dreams.

Who knows, you could join Gretta Ray, and other Vanda & Young winners like New Zealand pop artist Kimbra, Sydney rockers The Preatures, Melbourne indie-folk outfit Husky, and other favourites like Amy SharkMatt Corby & Dann Hume, and Thelma Plum in the music world.

Learn more about the Vanda & Young songwriting competition here!