Tones and I takes out $70,000 grand prize in International Songwriting Competition

The Teskey Brothers, Tkay Maidza, Thelma Plum were amongst other Australian artists who took home awards

Tones and I’s chart-topping single ‘Dance Monkey’ has taken out the grand prize in the 2019 International Songwriting Competition. The Victorian-turned-Byron Bay native has taken out a huge prize pool of USD$25,000 in cash and USD$45,000 in additional prizes.

“This song has taken the world by storm, and it is undeniable that it has propelled Tones and I to massive superstardom,” ISC Founder and Director, Candace Avery said. “Prior to ‘Dance Monkey,’ Tones And I was an indie artist struggling to get her voice heard. This is such a great example of how just the right song can change an artist’s life and should inspire up-and-coming songwriters to keep on following their dream.”


According to The AU Review, Tones and I responded saying, “my life has been a rollercoaster since releasing this song, and to get this recognition is an honour. I wrote this song on my own and for my friends, and I never imagined it would have become as big as it has. Thank you so much, I’m very proud to have written this song.”

This edition of the International Songwriting Competition was judged by a panel of artists and esteemed industry members, including Coldplay, Dua Lipa, Tom Waits and members from Atlantic Records, Capitol Records and YouTube.

Australia was on show in 2019, with 53 tracks recognised across multiple genres. Joining Tones and I in the winner’s circle is Tkay Maidza (R&B/Hip Hop for ‘Shook’), The Teskey Brothers (Adult Album Alternative for ‘So Caught Up’) and Harry Cleverdon (Peoples’ Voice for ‘Hit Me While I’m Down’), who all took out number one in their respective categories.

Other achievements include Thelma Plum (second in Adult Album Alternative for ‘Better In Blak’), Bec Sandridge (second in Unsigned Only for ‘Stranger’), Sahara Beck (second in Unpublished for ‘Queen of Hearts’) and Grace Hughes (third in Adult Contemporary for ‘Thought I Could’). Various honourable mentions went to The Jungle Giants, Ali Barter, CLEWS and Holy Holy.

“It’s hard to imagine that Aussie songwriters can perform better every subsequent year in ISC, but somehow they do. This year they surpassed our expectations, and their skill and artistry is of the very best kind,” said Candace Avery, the Founder and Director of ISC.


See the full list of winners here.