International Songwriting Competition Awards Joshua Hanson the 'Grand Prize'

The International Songwriting Competition has bestowed its highest honor, the Grand Prize, to Idaho native Joshua Hanson for his song “Monsters With Misdemeanors.”

In a statement issued today, ISC founder and director Candace Avery explains the judges “loved the song for its sparse honesty and achingly tender lyrics.” For his 2012 victory, the Yellow Red Sparks frontman will receive a $25,000 in cash and an impressive package of prizes.

Established in 2002, the ISC received more than 20,000 entries from amateur and professional songwriters. For the first time, more than half of the competition’s 68 winners were from outside the U.S. The winners share in a pool of more than $150,000 in cash and prizes.

Australian songwriters again punched above their weight, organizers note. Acts from Down Under garnered five "first place" wins, four “second place” wins, one “third place” win and thirty-four "honorable mentions" and the “People’s Voice” title -- the competition's only category which is decided by popular vote.

Judges included Tom Waits, Nas, Suzanne Vega, Bernie Taupin, Jeff Beck, Universal Republic Records president and CEO Monte Lipman and Wind-Up Records president Ed Vetri.

Click here to see the full winners. Organizers say the judges and prizes for the 2013 competition will be announced soon.