Winners announced in trauma-easing songwriting competition

Local News

The Mobile Police Department announced the winners tonight in a local songwriting competition.

MOBILE, Ala. – The winners of the Project THRIVE Songwriter Competition have been selected, and each will perform on stage at the SouthSounds Music & Arts Festival. Project THRIVE, led by the Mobile Police Department Office of Strategic Initiatives, joined SouthSounds to hold the songwriter competition in an effort to make Mobile a trauma-informed community by way of music. Organizers believe the chosen winners will help lift traumatized victims by giving them a song of healing, resiliency and triumph.

Seven winners were chosen by a panel of judges who are noted local industry professionals. Submissions of original work were received in every category except R&B.  Songs were blindly judged based on melody, composition, originality and lyrics.

The winner in the Americana/Folk category is Stuart McNair. McNair is from Mobile, Ala. and submitted a song titled “Stronger Than That.” In the Country category, Laurie Anne Armour of Mobile, Ala. is the winner for her song “Bless the Soul.” Kayla Patterson of Ellisville, Miss. is the winner in the Gospel category for her song “Grace.”  In the Hip Hop category, Damian “Dramatik” Gamble of Mobile, Ala. is the selected winner for the song titled “God Cry.” The winner in the Jazz category is Caitlin Sommerville of Gulf Shores, Ala. for her song “Bridge of Broken Dreams.” Maura Hawkins of Orange Beach, Ala. wins in the Pop category for the song titled “I Love It All.” And, in the Rock category, Kelsie Hancock of Mobile, Ala. wins with the song “Not Going That Way.”

The winning submissions were determined by judges Shelby Mitchell, 95 KSJ on-air personality; C. Barry Martin, music marketer and owner of The Orchard Promotional Firm; Brian “Crash” Edwards, TK 101 program director and on-air personality; and Eric Erdman, professional singer/songwriter.

The winners will perform on the Hargrove Stage in Cathedral Square Sunday, April 14, 2019 at 3 p.m. A Project THRIVE digitally-distributed compilation album of the winners’ music will be released soon.

Project THRIVE would like to thank all 42 artists for participating in the songwriter competition. A total of 59 submissions were received.

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About Project Thrive

Project THRIVE is comprised of a multidisciplinary team of partnering agencies from therapists to educators who truly believe that music has healing powers. They attest that music can help heal emotional wounds and improve social functioning and quality of life.  For additional information, visit


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