Bernard Ebb Songwriting Awards 2023 Judges

2023 Grand Prize Judges 

Brent Baxter

FernandoBrent Baxter is an award-winning hit songwriter who helps other songwriters turn pro by teaching them how to write like a pro, do business like a pro and by connecting them to the pros. He hosts a growing songwriter community at and co-hosts a successful music business podcast, “The C.L.I.M.B. Show,” which has earned over 500,000 downloads. Baxter’s songs have been recorded by Country, Gospel, Bluegrass and Comedy artists including Alan Jackson (the top 5 hit, “Monday Morning Church”), Randy Travis (on the Grammy-nominated and Dove Award-winning album “Around The Bend”), Lady A, Joe Nichols, Lonestar, comedy legend Ray Stevens, Gord Bamford (including the 2014 CCMA Single of the Year and #1 song “When Your Lips Are So Close”), The Sound (the Dove-nominated #1 Southern Gospel single, “Can I Get A Witness”), Wilburn & Wilburn (the #1 Southern Gospel single, “Hallelujah Homecoming”), guitar legend Steve Cropper, Andy Griggs, Buddy Jewell, Australian country artist Benn Gunn (the top-10 hit, “Down Highway One”), Brian Free & Assurance, The LeFevre Quartet, Ruthie Collins and more.

Mike Hamilton

FernandoMike Hamilton composes, produces, sings, and plays keyboards, saxophone and bass. Mike graduated from the Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA and was asked to join the faculty at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in 2002. He has produced recordings for Interscope and BGP Records. His recordings include Heart and Soul with the Winans, Thus Spoke Z with CTI and others. Mike’s solo albums “Natural Attraction,” “Here Together,” “God’s Will,” “Moving,” “Passport to Joy,” “Day Dreaming,” which feature Nate Watts and “Overcome” are available through most digital distribution companies in the world. Hamilton’s music has been described as “a skillful combination of rhythm & blues, pop, funk and contemporary jazz…” by Kenneth Yarbrough of Boston’s WUMB-FM radio. Hamilton was a member of the house band for the Viacom network late night show “Live from LA” where he was featured for his album “Natural Attraction.” Hamilton has also appeared and toured with recording artists such as Neyo, Tyrese, Savage Garden, Coolio, Ronny Jordan, Jonathan Butler and Phil Perry to name a few. He has performed at the Austin Performing Arts Center, BBC London, the NFL World Bowl IX Halftime Show, The David Letterman show, the Turn Ben Stein On show, the Today Show, the Boston Globe Jazz Festival and the Santa Barbara Jazz Festival. Hamilton has recently been named the music director for the Austin Area Jazz Festival and it’s group the AAJF Allstars. Mike continues touring throughout the US, Brazil and Europe.

Tidtaya Sinutoke (ฑิตยา สินุธก)

FernandoTidtaya Sinutoke (ฑิตยา สินุธก) is a Jonathan Larson Grant, Billie Burke Ziegfeld Award, and Fred Ebb Award-winning musical theatre composer, writer and musician. Originally from Thailand, educated and living in America, her music reflects a life-long multicultural journey. Her writing celebrates Asian American women and immigrant stories through combining contemporary musical theatre sounds with traditional world music tonality. Composition and writing credits include Half the Sky (The 5th Avenue Theatre's First Draft Commission & 20/21 Digital Season), Weston-Ghostlight New Musical Award, Theater Mu's New Eyes Festival, Theater Latté Da's NEXT Festival); Sunwatcher (The Civilians R&D Group, Ancram Play Lab, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater's Global Forms Theater Festival), Dear Mr. C (NYFA’s City Artist Corps Grants, Polyphone Festival, Diverse Voices Playwriting Initiative Award by The Crossroads Project), and Little Dugong and Her Seagrass Song (American Opera Project). Her works have been developed and supported by the Composer-Librettists Studio at New Dramatists, Yale Institute for Music Theatre, Johnny Mercer Foundation, NYFA IAM Mentoring Program, Robert Rauschenberg Residency, Kurt Weill Foundation, Drama League, Tofte Lake Center, Rhinebeck Writers Retreat and the American Opera Project. Sinutoke is a proud member of ASCAP, Dramatists Guild, Maestra, MUSE, and Thai Theatre Foundation. She received her Bachelor of Arts from Berklee College of Music and earned her Master of Fine Arts from New York University.

2023 First Round Jury

  • Calvin Brown, Jazz pianist, Singer/Songwriter, University of Virginia Jazz Piano Instructor
  • Anika Chapin, Director of Artistic Development at Signature Theatre
  • Alison Crockett, Jazz/progressive soul singer, Director of Capital City Voices and New Generation Jazz Youth Choir at Levine Music
  • Christie Dashiell, Jazz vocalist, Composer, Educator
  • Reginald Golden, Singer/Songwriter, Musical Director of the Howard Gospel Choir, Choral Director of Duke Ellington School of the Arts
  • David Lester, Bassist, Music Educator
  • John Linn, Singer/Songwriter, musical director, guitar and ukulele teacher
  • Margot MacDonald, Singer/Songwriter, Member of Pop Ensemble The North Country
  • Tamara Wellons, Singer/Songwriter, President of the DC Chapter of the Recording Academy
  • Chris Youstra, Music Director/Associate Artistic Director and Artistic Director of The Applause Concert Series at Olney Theatre Center