Vance Joy's 'Riptide' Wins Grand Prize in 2014 International Songwriting Competition

Vance Joy
Koury Angelo

Vance Joy photographed backstage at Coachella on April 12, 2015.

Vance Joy’s “Riptide” has bagged another major award -- the 2014 International Songwriting Competition.

The Melbourne artist’s infectious ukulele hit has taken out the overall Grand Prize in the prestigious -- and lucrative -- U.S.-based songwriting comp after receiving perfect scores from every judge. It’s the first time in the award’s 14-year history that an entry has had top marks across the board.

“It is such an honor to win this songwriting prize,” Joy (real name James Keogh) said in a statement. “Writing songs is what gives me a feeling of purpose. I’m proud to receive this award voted on by my songwriting peers.” The Grand Prize winner receives $25,000 in cash and more than $45,000 in merchandise and services. 

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The annual competition “encourages songwriters to create, develop, and challenge their artistry by creating something truly meaningful,” comments Candace Avery, founder and director of the ISC. “It is vital for all artists to be recognized for their talents, as well as to be awarded respect and honor for their accomplishments.” Vance Joy’s victory, she adds, “exemplifies extraordinary talent.”

The panel of judges this year included Pat Metheny, Sarah McLachlan, Bastille, Avicii, Sara Evans, Keane, Casting Crowns and Darryl McDaniels (Run D.M.C), plus key label execs Dan McCarroll (president, Warner Bros. Records), Craig Kallman (chairman, CEO, Atlantic Records), Mike Smith (president, Virgin EMI Records), Jeff Castelaz (president, Elektra Records) and Ted Cockle (president, Virgin Records U.K.).

The ISC isn’t the first organization to spot the rare beauty of "Riptide". Joy’s breakthrough track took out the coveted song of the year and pop work of the year categories at the 2014 APRA Awards, just months after it won the Australian radio network Triple J’s Hottest 100 poll. The track cracked the top 10 in the U.K. and reached No. 30 on the Billboard 200, en route to selling more than 1 million units globally. Taylor Swift made millions more fall in love with the song when she covered it and, subsequently, invited Vance to join her on tour. 

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The 6'5" Aussie is now part of the ISC winner’s circle which includes Bastille, Passenger, Kate Miller-HeidkeGotye and The Band Perry.

The ISC was created in 2002 and each year awards more than $150,000 in cash and prizes to its various winners. The complete list of 2014 ISC winners can be found here