Bernard Ebb Songwriting Awards 2019 Selected Songwriters

Congratualtions to the 2019 Bernard/Ebb Songwriting Awards Finalists and Winners


Upper Marlboro, MD

RoquiosRoquois writes and performs pop music with influences of hip hop, rock, doo wop and R&B. She has been writing lyrics and melodies since childhood and began performing at the early age four with her church and school choirs. Roquois has been heard widely, performing at venues including Howard Theatre, Washington, D.C., Anita’s Way, New York, NY, The Abbey, Orlando, FL, The Creative Alliance, Baltimore, MD, Carnegie Library, Washington, D.C., Venue 578, Orlando, FL and more. Roquois has worked with artists, musicians and producers affiliated with Sony, Universal Music, Def Jam, The Voice and more. And her music has been featured in shows such as Orange is the New Black, Switched at Birth and Odd Mom Out. Roquois’s goal is not only to share her voice, but also to write relatable, expressive and uplifting lyrics. Her debut album “Metaphors” was released in 2018.

Ruut DeMeo

Phoenix, MD

Ruut DeMeoRuut DeMeo is a Finnish-American writer and composer. Since immigrating to the United States 20 years ago, Ruut has worked primarily as a performing songwriter, collaborating with many renowned musicians. Over the years, Ruut has shared the stage with acts including, Passenger, Hem, Brett Dennen and Kat Edmondson. In addition to writing music, she focuses on creative writing and in 2018 her short story and poetry were published in Fine Print Literary Magazine. When Ruut’s not writing, taking care of her daughters, or immersed in photography, she composes and records original music in her home studio in Baltimore, MD. Ruut's new instrumental album, “Soliloquy,” is due to be released in April 2019 and will be her 9th independent release to date. Ruut competed as a finalist in the 2017 Bernard/Ebb Songwriting Awards. 

Peter Garza with Band of Us

Silver Spring, MD

Peter Graza with Band of UsPeter Garza, on lead vocals and keyboard, has been writing songs and playing the piano since age 16. Since then, music has become an obsession and a positive outlet to share his own words. In 2015, as an avenue to explore and further his musical ideas, he formed the Peter Michael Band, now called Band of Us. The group continues to build on its success, playing at numerous venues and events throughout the Washington, D.C. area. Band of Us considers themselves a family that is all inclusive with a mission to shed a little light and a little love. Peter Garza, with Band of Us, was a 2017 finalist for the Bernard/Ebb Songwriting Awards.

Band of Us: Pete Garza (Lead Vocals and Keyboard), Marcus Jackson (Drums), Kyle Alexander (Bass and Background Vocals), Myles Gilbertson (Violin and Trumpet), David Byass (Sax and Aux Keys), Brandon Watts (Guitar and Background Vocals).

Heather Aubrey Lloyd *GRAND PRIZE WINNER*

Owings Mills, MD

Heather Aubrey LlyodHeather Aubrey Lloyd has co-fronted Baltimore’s ilyAIMY (i love you And I Miss You) for 17 years. After nearly two decades and 45 states and a stint backing Dar Williams, Lloyd started work on her solo CD, 2017’s “A Message in the Mess.” On the album Lloyd pushes new limits along with inventive arrangements featuring mandolin, banjo, upright bass, ukulele and percussion. The CD ushered in national awards including 2017 Telluride Troubadour Top 4 and Falcon Ridge Folk Festival Most Wanted Artist. Additionally, in 2018 honors included the Songwriter's Association of Washington/Mid-Atlantic Song Contest Director's Award for "Album of the Year," National Women's Music Festival emerging artist, and a finalist for the No Depression magazine Singer-Songwriter Award. Lloyd has also been a Lilith Fair Talent Search Finalist, and a frequent honorable mention in both the Mid-Atlantic Song Contest and American Songwriter Magazine Lyric Contest.

Heather Mae

Washington, D.C.

Heather MaeAn imaginative lyricist with a powerhouse voice, Heather Mae is known for her interesting indie-pop sound, but also for her musical take on touchy subjects ranging from LGBTQ discrimination, gender stereotypes, body image, and mental health issues. She seeks to write music for those that need an anthem and doesn’t shy away from tackling topics not often heard in pop music. She considers her songs to be pop music with a mission. After a vocal nodule diagnosis in 2013 that threatened her voice, Heather relearned how to sing and took a step away from her previous folk-heavy style to create a new sound is a unique fusion of indie-pop Tegan and Sara meets dynamic vocalist Etta James. Heather has won many songwriting awards and accolades and has had the honor of studying and working with countless musicians with diverse talents. 

Young Songwriting Awards Finalists

Sarah Baumgarten

Arlington, VA

Sarah BaumgartenSarah Baumgarten is 12 years old and a 6th grader at H-B Woodlawn Public School in Arlington, VA. She has been writing social justice songs since December 2016 when her music teacher gave the students an opportunity to begin songwriting. Sarah trained for four years in the Arlington Children’s Chorus and has performed at The Kennedy Center. Sarah also organized her school band, The X-Americans. Sarah has also performed her songs at the Arlington Palooza and the Arlington County Fair as well as participated in UkeFest 2018 at Strathmore in Bethesda. 

Davis Gestiehr

Bethesda, MD

Davis GestiehrDavis Gestiehr is 17 years old and a senior at Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda, MD. He is a blues/rock singer-songwriter and has been performing since the age of five and writing original music since the age of nine. He has performed with the band Green Day, been a contestant on America’s Got Talent Season 10 with his sister, and has sung the National Anthem over 100 times for many of the Washington D.C./Baltimore major league and collegiate sports teams. He has performed at many venues in the Greater Washington, D.C. area including The Kennedy Center, Capital One Arena, Xfinity Center, Merriweather Post Pavilion, Capitol Hill for the Senate, National Building Museum, Union Stage and Jammin’ Java. Davis was a Young Songwriter finalist in the 2016 Bernard/Ebb Songwriting Awards.


Gaithersburg, MD

Emily MitchellEmily Mitchell is 16 years old and a singer/songwriter from Gaithersburg, MD. Emily began pursuing music when she joined her school choir when she was six. By age 11 she was performing her first original work in her school’s talent show. She has performed at The Sandy Spring Strawberry Festival, The Louisa County Agricultural Fair, The Music Café, The New Deal Café and for The World Folk Music Association. This past summer, Emily earned a spot in the Singer/Songwriter program at Interlochen’s 2018 Summer Music Camp and was the featured soloist at the 2018 Interlochen End of Summer Awards Ceremony. She enjoys collaborating with other artists and is a member of The Bog Band, McFlen and the MCYBO Jazz Band. Her first EP, “A New Beginning,” released in July 2018, is a collection of her original music that combines, folk, jazz and acoustic elements.