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Irish Singer/Songwriter Sean Murphy Wins Founder’s Choice Award in International Songwriting Competition (ISC)

May 27, 2022

The International Songwriting Competition (ISC) has announced its 2021 winners. Launched in 2002, ISC is considered one of the most prestigious songwriting competitions in the world, receiving more than 21,000 entries this year from over 150 countries.

In celebration of the competition’s 20th anniversary, ISC created a special award this year, the Founder’s Choice Award. It is a one-time award for this year only and is unprecedented because the winner is personally selected by the competition’s founder, Candace Avery, whereas all other winners are selected by ISC’s panel of celebrity judges and music industry executives.

The recipient of the Founder’s Choice Award is singer/songwriter Sean Murphy from Cork, Ireland for his beautiful and introspective song “The Troubled Tears Of Drury Road” recorded and produced by David Virgin, Rohan Healy and Al Quiff at Beardfire Studio, Dublin. He is awarded $10,000 (US) for being the winner of this special award.

“The Founder’s Choice Award is so exciting for me because for the first time in the history of ISC, I actually had the opportunity to select a winner in the competition. I chose Sean Murphy for this award because I consider him to be a rare artist whose poetic songwriting and artistic authenticity transcends most of the music that we hear today. It is an honour for me to be able to give recognition to this very unique and special songwriter.”

Hailing from Cobh in Cork, Ireland, Sean Murphy works under the moniker ‘All The Queen’s Horses.’ He might be relatively new to songwriting, but his songs reflect an old soul. His music is dark, guttural, and mournful, and his lyrics drip with poetic imagery. His stories often go down dark roads and can be mournful and raw, but he writes them with a painter’s brush, delicate and atmospheric. He describes his sound as a “piano and modern poetry driven, singer songwriter sound, incorporating hints of Leonard Cohen, Damien Rice, Mick Flannery and Bright Eyes.” He recently signed with Echoism and Motor Music to release the album, The Dark Below & The Isle of Dogs (produced by Beardfire Music) which includes singles that were high placings in the iTunes charts and a winner in the International Songwriting Competition last year.

In addition to the Founder’s Choice award, many other deserving songwriters also share in the prestige and kudos of winning their respective categories in ISC. These winners hail from all over the world (56% of this year’s winners come from outside the USA) and represent diverse cultures while ranging from talented amateurs to seasoned songwriting veterans. The 23 categories include all genres of contemporary music, from Pop to World Music to Country to Instrumental, and many more.

The competition’s highest honour, the overall Grand Prize, is given to the songwriter who embodies the highest degree of excellence in the craft of songwriting and is selected by ISC’s panel of judges comprised of celebrity artists and industry professionals. This year the honour goes to songwriter and performing artist Stephanie Middleton (aka Notelle) from Richmond, VA, USA for her song “Sufjan Stevens.”

 Additional Irish winners include:

Second Place Winners 

“Angel Of The Emerald Isle” – Clare Cunningham, Patrick Mcmanus (Clare Cunningham) – Collon, Ireland – Performance

“Paris Girls” – Flavia Watson (FLAVIA) – Dublin, Ireland – Pop/Top 40

 Third Place Winner

 “The Troubled Tears Of Drury Road” – Sean Murphy (All The Queen’s Horses) – Cork, Ireland – Folk/Singer-Songwriter

 Special Promotion Winner / $20 For 20

 “Remember Days” – Ademar Stones (Kinetix) – Edenderry, Ireland

 An additional seven songs by Irish songwriters were awarded an Honourable Mention in their respective categories.

Winning ISC is a distinction that has helped many artists go on to achieve greater success. Previous winners have included: Tones and I; Illenium; Vance Joy; Bastille; Fantastic Negrito; R.LUM.R; Gotye; Lindsey Stirling; Kimbra; Dustin Lynch; Faouzia; The Band Perry; Kehlani; Gregory Porter; Passenger; Gin Wigmore; Missy Higgins; For King & Country; Tenille Townes; Adrienne Lenker (Big Thief); Jordan St. Cyr; Andrew Bird; and many more.

 For a complete list of winners go to

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