The darling of Australia’s quirky music scene, Kate Miller-Heidke has taken out the International Songwriting Competition’s (ISC) Grand Prize.

Miller-Heidke and writing partner and husband Keir Nuttall won the prestigious award for  their song Caught In The Crowd, a brilliantly quirky pop song with an emotional message about schoolyard bullying and peer pressure.

The Grand Prize winner takes home US$25,000 in cash (US) and more than US$20,000 in prizes -” the largest Grand Prize of any songwriting competition.

With judges as diverse as Tom Waits, Neil Finn, Rob Thomas (Matchbox 20), Ray Davies (The Kinks), Chaka Khan, McCoy Tyner, Jerry Lee Lewis, Robert Smith (The Cure) and many more, winning the ISC Grand Prize is an accomplishment that recognises excellence in the craft of songwriting.

Caught In The Crowd struck an emotive chord with the ISC judges for its narrative about a young girl who befriends a fellow student but then, succumbing to peer pressure, turns her back on him when he gets bullied at school. The song, entered in the Pop/Top 40 category, was praised by the ISC judges for its powerful lyrical content and strong pop sensibility.

The song tugs at my heart and give me chills every time I hear it, ISC founder and director Candace Avery said.

Its theme is so personal yet universal that everyone can relate to it. That, combined with its infectious melody, makes the song a stand-out. This is the first time the Grand Prize has ever been awarded to Australian songwriters, and we hope this throws the spotlight on the extraordinary and creative music scene in Australia.

Miller-Heidke is a trained opera singer who burst onto the pop charts two years ago with her debut album Little Eve, which achieved gold sales and erned four ARIA nominations.

Her latest CD, Curioser, was produced in the USA by Mickey Petralia (Beck, Flight of the Conchords) and released in Australia at the end of last year.

Caught In The Crowd is the newest single from the CD and was part of a national campaign in Australia where high school students were invited to make a video for the song addressing the issue of bullying, a common and disturbing occurrence in schools worldwide.

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