About HOOKED! Songwriting Contest

The HOOKED! Songwriting Contest is Southwest Missouri’s premier songwriting competition, presented by Prince Ivan and The Nest. This contest brings together ten songwriters with celebrity judges and a live audience in an interactive style show. HOOKED! is all about searching for America’s next hit song, no matter the style or genre.

Songwriters submitted their songs for an opportunity to compete in the contest. Submissions are listened to by some of the best in the industry!

Thank you to this year’s submissions judges: Austin Armstrong, Andrea Brett, Tom Brett, Sundi Jo Graham, Ashley Hess, Bri Ray, Kasey Roar, Aaron Space, and 2022 HOOKED! Winner Trevor Venerable.

Saturday, September 23 at Dick Clark’s American Bandstand Theater

This year’s Top 10 Finalists included:

  • Adam Carpenter
  • Stephen McKay
  • Riley Braker
  • Travis Howard
  • Annie Williams
  • Luke Swofford
  • Tucker Tillis
  • Caleb Williams
  • Jaleesa Smith
  • Erich Eastman

Our show judges were Mina Thomas Brett, David Orlando Cassavitis, and Billy Yates.

This year’s contest was hosted by Brydon Brett of Prince Ivan. All profits went to benefit Elevate Branson.

A special thank you to our 2023 sponsors: Kilwin’s, Ron’s Trailers, Greenlawn Funeral Home, Snapp-Bearden Funeral Home, Spirits Shop, The Flagstore, Signs Now, Cremations of the Ozarks, Comet Cleaners, Robert Sarver, Brad and Renea Daniels, and Patrick and Liz Finkbone.

Bios for all judges and artists can be found at hookedsongwritingcontest.com or on Instagram @hookedsongwritingcontest.

Congratulations to our HOOKED! 2023 Winners!
1st Place – Adam Carpenter, co-write with Doug Jackson (Pardon the Mess)
2nd Place – Erich Eastman (It’ll Be Alright)
3rd Place – Tucker Tillis (Goldilocks)

Pictured: 1st Place winner, Adam Carpenter with Brydon


Friday, September 22 at The Nest: Top 10 Songwriter’s Roundtable

We had the pleasure of hosting a Songwriter’s Roundtable for the Top 10 Finalists the night before at The Nest. This gave the finalists a chance to connect and share music beforehand. Truly an incredibly talented group of artists. We also had special guests in attendance: submissions judge Sundi Jo Graham and 2020 HOOKED! Winner, Darby Dougherty.


For more details about the HOOKED! Songwriting Contest, visit hookedsongwritingcontest.com.