Bernard Ebb Songwriting Awards 2022 Selected Songwriters

James Fernando

Baltimore, MD

FernandoHailed as a “prodigiously gifted composer and virtuoso pianist,” James Fernando creates music that lies at the intersection of jazz, classical and electronic music. He relies on his genre-expanding original compositions to deliver thought provoking and exciting performances. The Berklee College of Music graduate has several releases to his name, including Extended Layover, The Lonely Sailor, Blackbird/Fly, and The Grind. James is on faculty at Levine Music in Washington, D.C. and is a Strathmore Artist in Residence. In 2019, James released his first album as a solo artist, The Lonely Sailor, to widespread critical acclaim. After releasing Blackbird/Fly in 2021, he teamed up with Matt Lagan to release his fourth album, The Grind, in 2022.

Calista Garcia

Arlington, Va

BE 2020 FaheyFolk-rock singer-songwriter Calista Garcia brings a mix of complexity and sophistication to her confessional musings that carry a hint of pop and blues. As seen on Season 16 of NBC’s The Voice, her style hearkens back to ’70s classic acts such as Fleetwood Mac, the Eagles, Paul Simon and Joni Mitchell, but with a fresh modern twist. Calista released her second EP called A Beautiful World on October 29, 2021, mixed by Grammy Award-winning producer, Jim Scott in his vintage-equipped LA studio. A prolific songwriter who plays guitar, piano, ukulele, bass, mandolin and harmonica, Calista is the 2022 Songwriter’s Association of Washington Young Artist of the Year, a 2022 Finalist for the DC Area “Wammies” in 3 categories, a 2021 Chris Austin Songwriting Finalist at Merlefest, a 2021 “She is the Music Foundation” Connect TogetHER Songwriting Fellow, the 2020 National YoungArts Gold Winner in Voice/Singer-Songwriter (top prize), the 2017 Bernard/Ebb Young Songwriter of the Year and a two-time Grammy Foundation Young Songwriter Program Artist.

Juliet Lloyd

Takoma Park, MD

BE 2020_MatthewJuliet Lloyd is an accomplished songwriter and no-holds barred performer. From large amphitheaters to intimate standing-room only cafes, audiences have been held captive by her accessible, memorable songs and easy charm. Her sophomore album, Leave the Light On, featured a collection of original songs that are both modern and timeless. Blending elements of pop, rock, and soul, it features standout vocal performances that have become her trademark – “soulful, emotive, and loaded with groove” (Metronome Magazine). Five of the album’s tracks have since been featured on television shows including “The Real World,” “The Hills” and “Tough Love,” and added into rotation at more than 175 radio stations across the country. And now, after hundreds of shows, half a million YouTube views, and social media shout-outs from Lady Gaga and Britney Spears, Juliet is back in the studio working on a long-awaited follow-up album. Her 2022 single Ghost Light, an anthem for creatives and performers affected during the COVID pandemic, will be followed up by an EP of new material..

Mike P. Ryan

Clifton, VA

BE 2020_ScottBorn and raised in Oklahoma, Mike P. Ryan draws on his humble roots and uses his keen eye for detail to craft heartfelt songs about the struggles and triumphs of everyday life. Mike’s smooth, clear vocal style is regularly compared to classic singer/songwriters like James Taylor and Jackson Browne while his evocative lyrics reflect the influences of lyrical wordsmiths like Robert Earl Keen, Jason Isbell and Jeffrey Foucault. Mike has won a host of prestigious national and international songwriting awards including: three Gold Medals and the Grand Prize Award in The Mid-Atlantic Song Contest; First Place in the Folk/Acoustic Category of the UK Songwriting Contest; and First Place overall in the Dallas Songwriter's Association Songwriting Contest, among others. Mike engages and entertains audiences at venues, festivals, house concerts, and songwriting showcases from coast to coast A former Army paratrooper and a veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, Mike volunteers his time and shares his music with a number of veteran-focused charities.

Matt Conner & Stephen Gregory Smith

Arlington, VA

BE 2020_YoussefMatt Conner and Stephen Gregory Smith met in 1998 while studying at Shenandoah University in Winchester, VA. They have been writing musical theatre together since 2010. Some of their recent works include: Silver Belles (2016) catalogued with Broadway Licensing, Crossing (2013), The Hollow (2011), Partial Eclipse (2009), and Nevermore (2006) catalogued with Theatrical Rights Worldwide. They have also written more than a dozen children’s musicals. Their awards have included the Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Direction of a Musical in 2020, Helen Hayes Award Nomination for Outstanding Direction of a Musical in 2016, American Musical Voices Project Award: The Next Generation in 2009, and Bold New Works for Intimate Stages Commission in 2013. Conner and Smith married in 2013.


Young Songwriting Awards Finalists

Zoe August

Potomac, MD

BE FarkasZoe August hit the music scene in 2020 with her indie/alt-pop style, releasing the self-produced “cardboard castle.” Zoe has been writing music and poetry for as long as she can remember. She began playing guitar at age 13 and plays piano and ukulele. Her musical influences include Julia Michaels, Billie Eilish, Taylor Swift and Conan Gray. 2021 was a big year for Zoe! Her first release of the year, “where happiness hides” was selected as a semifinalist in the International Songwriting Competition out of more than 26,000 entries and was awarded honorable mention in the Unsigned Only songwriting competition. In February 2021, Zoe was named a youth poet laureate ambassador in Maryland, and she was recently named a rising star by Jewish Rock Radio. She's so excited to take on the new year with three new songs dropping in early 2022.

Marian Hunter

Alexandria, VA

BE guptaMarian Hunter is an aspiring singer/songwriter making her way in the indie-pop music world. At 17 years old, Marian is immersing herself fully in the music scene, playing live shows and releasing music both in the context of a band and solo. Her most recent release, Happy Fall, her solo debut single, is fully self-written, and produced with Henry Thomas Weidemer. Marian has written and released two singles as a member of the bedroom-pop band Couch Club, and continues to connect to a network of varying musicians, playing trumpet with her fellow local-Alexandrian band Hanoi Ragmen. As a young artist, she continues to put herself out there, making her sound heard.

Elizabeth Young

Great Falls, VA

BE_Seger Ott-RudolphElizabeth started performing in musicals at a young age, sparking her interest in music. She shifted gears and began to pursue a singer/songwriter career after taking vocal and guitar lessons. Elizabeth released her first EP in October 2020. The EP contains six songs she co-wrote with a producer out of Charlottesville, VA. Later, she released two singles she wrote on her own and a music video along with the second song that has over 70,000 views on YouTube. She is a senior at Connelly School of the Holy Child.