Episode 81, 2016 HRW Song Writing Contest Begins…


The 2016 Home Recording Weekly Songwriting Contest is now up and running!


Each year, since 2011 (that makes this year 6), Home Recording Weekly has given away thousands and thousands of dollars worth of cool prizes to fellow home studio nuts, recording and performing bands, and amateur song writers alike.

This year is no different in the prize department. I have (however) changed the rules a bit from the contests of years past. Please listen to Episode 81 of the podcast by clicking the “Play” button above and then read below to fully check out how the rules have changed, and how the list of killer prizes has grown, year by year. I always try to deliver the very best in prizes, and I try to reward the very people that I believe follow Home Recording Weekly. The contest runs for three months and I select three winning submissions, one in July, one in August, and one in September, each of the three winners receiving the same prize chest.

Here is a quick look back through the contests from years past….

2011 HRW Songwriting Contest link (not much left online of this years contest)

2012 HRW Songwriting Contest link

2013 HRW Songwriting Contest link

2014 HRW Songwriting Contest link

2015 HRW Songwriting Contest link

Again, please listen to the podcast episode above first. That is the best way to fully understand who may enter and what you can expect to win.

That said, here are the rules for entry and here (in no special order) is a list of the courses, plugins, loops, and tools that I will be giving away to three lucky winners.

Here are the 5 easy rules to follow:

1) This year I am rewarding the amateurs. I am looking for entries from those among us that are trying hard to get that music out of their head. If you are a song smith and you are tracking up your own music, song after song, trying to figure out what mixing is, working hard at figuring out what the whole process of recording a song is, if this sounds like you, well then this contest is for you. I aim to reward the solo song writers this year, and not the bands. Also, if you are a professional (you receive money or goods in return for your services) this contest is not for you. Please do not enter if you would consider yourself experienced, or if your a professional studio folk. I listen close to each submission and I actually talk to each winner, so please follow the rules here. In a nutshell, the song must be your own, and something you made yourself. You may have friends help you with instrumentation of course, as we all loan our talents for each others recordings, right? There is a fine line here, so please email me if you are not sure weather you may enter or not. I will respond quickly.

2) You must subscribe to Home Recording Weekly by simply entering your email (above and to the right of this post) and receive your free “Home Studio eBundle” video series. Besides, you’d be crazy not to. If you are already receiving emails from HRW, you may jump to step 3.

3) Please, head over and “Like” Home Recording Weekly on our Facebook page. Here is a link to our Facebook page. Hey, you don’t want to miss out on what I am doing in my home studio, right?

4) This step is very important to get right, or I will not enter your song into the contest at all. Sorry, but I cant chase links around to listen to your musical creations. Place your MP3 into a “Compressed ZIP File/folder” (follow link to learn how to do that) and then email me at kern@homerecordingweekly.com and attach the ZIP file (containing your MP3) to the email. Be sure to write “2016 song contest entry” in the subject line of your email. Please, again, do not send me links to your song or your videos. That will not work. If you win, I will play your song on the podcast, so I must have a copy of your song.

5) Sit back and enjoy each episode of the Home Recording Weekly Podcast. That’s easy since you all love the show, right? I will pick one lucky winner a month for the next three months of summer (July, August, and September). Good luck to all.

BTW… If you don’t think you are good enough to enter, don’t be fooled. You are exactly the people I am looking to reward. One entry per person please. If you have already downloaded the free eBundle there is no need to repeat the process just to enter.

Prizes for three lucky winners (all three win the exact same prizes) in no special order….


From professional mix engineer and Mix Coach associate extraordinaire, Matt Butler, “The Art of Balancing a Mix” training course. Don’t be fooled by the title, this is an amazing mixing course. But the truth no one else is sharing is that you must build a foundation first, before you can get that perfect mix. Matt Butler takes you through a mix session in “The Art of Balancing a Mix“, sharing how he builds the foundation, what is most important in mixing, and of course how he mixes some of todays greatest music.


From the company that puts musicians first, IK Multimedia, a copy of mixing/mastering plugin bundle “T-Racks3 Deluxe“. This prize is massive. Not only will you receive all the best of todays plugins (the very ones I reach for) but you also get a complete metering suite, and a total mastering suite all in one package.  IK MultimediaT-Racks3 Deluxe” is the freakin bomb guys! This is the mixing suite and mastering suite all of the professionals rave about, and so will you! I simply wouldn’t know what to do if I woke up to find out I had lost my T-Racks3 Deluxe. It would be a bad day to say the least, since I use their EQ,s, compressors, limiters, and so many other plugins each time I make audio. This prize is serious.


From professional mix engineer Matt Weiss, “Mixing EDM“. This has been one of long time favorites on account of what Matt Weiss teaches about getting a mix to move. Yes, sure, you also learn how to mix an electronic song, but if you ask me the real gold is near the end of the mix series. Matts wisdom really comes thru as he demonstrates ways to get a mix to be wide, deep, and not sterile. “Mixing EDM” is one of the best!


If you are trying to learn more about anything that is related to the topic of recording, mixing, and mastering, I cant think of a better place to learn then “Groove3 Training“. Groove3 Training is donating One Year, “All Access Passes” to their full training catalogue. Weather its brushing up on EQ and/or compression training, or perhaps your wanting to learn how to master an album, Groove3 Training has exactly what you are looking for. In years past this was the prize that folks started to enjoy immediately. One winner actually found out that he had won while having his auto repaired. He texted me from an automotive garage to let me know he couldn’t believe how amazing  “Groove3 Training” was.


From professional mix engineer David Glenn, a fresh copy of his newest training series, “Mixing Modern Rock“. This is amazing as rock is my favorite genre to mix. But if it is not yours, don’t even worry. You still will learn essential mixing skills like EQ’ing and compressing the tracks that make up every session we will ever mix. David Glenn is one of todays hottest mixing engineers and he is absolutely killing it in the world of Pop, Rock, and the Christian world of music. David is at the top of his career and he wants you to learn everything he does in order to get a song to sound like a million bucks. No matter what genre you love, “Mixing Modern Rock” will not disappoint.


From the good folks at Audified, comes the amazingly easy yet professional sounding U73b Compressor The  U73b Compressor is sure to (not only) speed up your workflow, but help you gain better control over those pesky dynamics. Weather you are trying to get a lead vocal to be more present in a mix, or your trying to gel a whole mix together, using the U73b Compressor will quickly get the job done. Follow the link provided to check out my demo video and review post for the Audified  U73b Compressor. But it does not stop there.


Audified asked if I could give away even more incredible prizes. I assured them I could, so here it goes… Audified would love to reward the three lucky winners with a fresh copy of the brand ne w “MixChecker” plugin. This is a very special tool that allows recording, mixing, and mastering musicians the ability to check their mix on most of the devices that our music will be played back. Lets face it, there are a lot of different ways to playback music and media these days, ranging from home stereos to iPhones. “MixChecker” supplies the mixing/mastering engineer with a close example of what their music/media will sound like when played back across them all. This is such a brilliant tool and a great prize!


From Home Studio owner and Engineer, owner of the cool and hip “Audio Issues” website, and all around music making professional, Bjorgvin Bendikson, a copy of “Music Production Strategies“. Ka-Freakin-Boom! What could possibly be more topical and more helpful then this amazing prize? Despite his youthful look, Bjorgvin has been in the world of music and professional audio for a long time. He has had his hands in tracking, production, performing, mixing, live sound, and well, the list just goes on and on. I predict “Music Production Strategies” will be exactly what puts your “song-smithing” into overdrive, and helps bring your own ideas to the big stage. You are going to completely devour this course, I guarantee it.


What can be said about the incredible product designer and professional mixing engineer Steven Slate that has not been said already? Instead of telling you who Steven Slate is, let me just cut to the chase. Steven Slate knows you are going to need to have a copy of his “Trigger 2 Platinum” drum replacement software if you are going to ever turn in a professional mix. “Trigger 2 Platinum” is a well known “must have” workhorse in the music industry. Every mixing engineer has a copy, and now, so will you. I told you that I really want to help the newbie to gain a footing in the world of music making, and here is even more proof. I will be reviewing this precious resource and tool very soon, so please keep an eye out for that.


Brian Hood is one of todays top mixing engineers, especially in the world of metal. Brian Hood was recently on Episode 79 the podcast (link to that show) and we learned a lot about his studio, how he turned a home studio into a six figure a year business, and a lot more, but he said precious little about his training course. As a matter of fact, he only mentioned it once, and not by its name. Please, allow me.


Brian Hood wishes to reward the lucky winners with a copy of  his incredible training course, “From Shit to Gold“.  “From Shit to Gold” is not only a super catchy title, but its the only course you are going to need in order to learn how to record, mix, and even master music, from hard rock to molten metal, right inside your home studio. Inside the video modules that make up “From Shit to Gold“, Brian gives away all of his metal making secrets, and I mean everything! I not only watched “From Shit to Gold“, but I learned more about the most important tasks in todays music making that I have not ever even heard mentioned everywhere else. You will learn all about re-amping bass and guitars, “mic’ing up” loud guitar and bass cabs, tracking loud amps in different sized rooms, and so much more. But don’t be fooled into thinking that you will only learn things attributed to making amazing metal music, because these things are important and used all the time no matter the genre. From start to end “From Shit to Gold” is packed with solid, useful information that you just will not find anywhere else.


Positive Grid… Wow, Positive Grid has already done a lot for todays music makers. Positive Grid has introduced a lot of todays best sounding programs for bass and guitar, and now they are entering the mixing/mastering game with the same mindsets and products that have totally changed how we think about making music.

Positive Grid released three cool and refreshing compressors this past year, the Positive Grid “Professional Compressors“. These compressors were like no other compressors that have even been released before. Let me try to explain… Imagine building the compressor of your dreams out of components and parts from your favorite gear. Were talking about tubes, transformers, and everything in between. Positive Grid has the technology and so they put it to work.  Positive Grid “Professional Compressors” allow you to quickly and easily swap out the parts that make up compressors. Even if you aren’t into electronics and components, and you don’t know the parts that make up a compressor, its ok. You can use your ears and come up with amazing tones that you just wont find anywhere else. Not only can you can put together a compressor that you just cant find on Earth, but you can use it in your very own musical projects. Follow the links provided to check out my demo/review video that I put together in order to explain the amazing, the powerful, the great sounding Positive Grid “Professional Compressors“. Here is a link over to the Positive Grid website.


From Home Studio Corner owner and professional mix engineer, Joe Gilder, a copy of the totally world famous and completely freshly overhauled “Understanding Compression“. I don’t know why Joe felt that he needed to improve this amazing series, the single video series that started my path to way better mixes, but he did. “Understanding Compression” has been updated and added to and is now even better than it has ever been. I have watched the new version of “Understanding Compression” and Joe has gone all out here. This is one of, if not the first video course I took, and it not only transformed my understanding of compression, what it is and what it does, but it helped me to incorporate compression into my mixing and mastering. I can actually say that the skills I learned from simply watching “Understanding Compression” have also helped me get much better results in my live sound mixing career. I get comments each time I perform live sound, and the bands hire me time and time again. I use compression in many ways, each time I run a live show. I want the lucky winners to have what I have, hence the gift, the prize that is “Understanding Compression“.


Lij Shaw is a professional studio owner (Toy Box Studios), live sound genius, and mixing guru located in Nashville, TN. Lij routinely records some of the biggest names in the “Pro Nashville musicians circle”, performs live music recording sessions for some of todays hardest touring acts, plus he even records the bands each year at the Bonnaroo Music Festival in the famous “Hay Bayle Studio“. Lij is also the bearded man behind “Recording Studio Rock Stars Podcast“. Lij has worked his way to the top of the ladder and has served the Nashville music scene through his very own “Toy Box Studios“. Lij wants to help those “in the musical trenches”, by donating his most valuable commodity, his time. Check this out; three lucky winners will receive a 30 minute Skype lesson, from the bearded one, Lij Shaw. Lij made it perfectly clear to me that the winners can ask him about anything recording/mixing! Wow, this is freaking amazing! I couldn’t believe this generous offer when he said it, and I sure as heck didn’t give him a chance to take it back! If you are one of the three lucky winners, you can ask Lij for help with whatever it is that you feel you need help with. This is a killer prize, guys, one that I wish I could have for myself!


Bill Dewees is not only the final word in all things successful voice over, but he is the “Voice Over Expert”. You can listen to our incredible podcast interview by clicking here. Bill has actually put about everything he knows about the world of voice over into one amazing course, titled “The Voice Over Playbook“. This is the course that I constantly rave about, and let me tell you why. Bill Dewees explains everything from recording ideas and editing tips to how you yourself can start finding paying gigs immediately. Bill details everything he has learned about the exciting world of Voice Over from finding clients, branding yourself, and even how to get paid time and time again. I have watched this amazing resource myself and I believe “The Voice Over Playbook” to be not only a “turn key opportunity”, but also one heck  of an investment. I have also used the things found inside “The Voice Over Playbook” to make money. Oh, did I forget to mention that Bill Dewees makes over six figures a year doing Voice Over work? This is one fantastic prize that will continue to pay back over and over again.


Kevin Ward, AKA The Mix Coach, is perhaps one of the most famous Nashville based home studio mixing gurus. Kevin knows all stages of music making from production, recording, tracking, mixing, and mastering. I have learned more from Kevin Ward then I could ever possibly repeat in this musical lifetime. Kevin Ward would like the three lucky winners to go through his “Guide to Pop Mixing” course. Let me add that Kevin leaves nothing out as he teaches mixing. He has countless pointers and ideas that will unlock the creative side in you. Kevin knows what is important and he gets right to the teaching in a very face paced, but laid back style. Not only is Kevin Ward famous for teaching people how to mix, but he is famous for teaching people how to mix many different genres including pop, country, bluegrass, folk, jazz and more. Maybe that’s why Kevin Ward is the Mix Coach? Guide to Pop Mixing” is the perfect prize!


Pro Audio guru Rob Williams of “Pro Sound Formula” is one of the newest professional music makers to make a splash onto the pages of Home Recording Weekly. I actually was able to speak at length with Rob on Episode 75 of the Home Recording Weekly Podcast. Rob has been making professional music for a long time and it shows. His training courses knocked me out and energized me in a way no other course had ever done before. You see, the “Ultimate Mixing Formula” teaches what no other training courses have ever explained. Rob Williams actually breaks down each step of the music making process and explains it in easy to understand terms before he dives in and gets technical. You actually grasp the concepts that he is teaching at the time he is teaching them! Rob Williams has an incredible amount to share as he brings the viewer along on professional recording, mixing, and mastering sessions. But don’t be fooled here, inside of “Ultimate Mixing Formula” he only shows you the in depth stuff once you are prepared for it. The courses offered over on Robs “Pro Sound Formula” are some of the most in depth and inspiring courses I have had the great fortune of watching, period. I still explain this each time I mention Rob and his training courses.


Nashville producer Kris Crunk knows how to produce pop music from scratch. Kris has been tracking up Professional Pop songs for his entire career and he has learned an incredible amount. I know this because he shares it all inside the insanely packed full of tips, tricks, tutorials, “Pop Production“. There is a ton of industry knowledge packed inside this amazing course, and this is one I watch again, over and over!


If you are the one person on Earth that has not heard of Graham Cochrane and the amazing Recording Revolution (that he has created singlehandedly), let me be the one to knock you awake: Graham Cochrane is the easiest going music maker, song writer, mixing engineer that you will ever have the good fortune of meeting. Graham started making music in high school and simply never looked back. Lucky for us he has a strong passion for teaching, and thank goodness he does because he is very good at both teaching and making music. Inside the “ReThink Mixing” mix training course Graham calmly and methodical explains each step of the mixing process from pocketing drums to polishing off the vocals. Folks, its all inside of  “ReThink Mixing“, and here is your chance to win.


The LoopLoft is famous for having the coolest session artists making some of the best sounding, most original, loops on planet Earth. They would love the winner to have a copy of the Indie Rock Bundle. The  Indie Rock Bundle is a collection of the coolest Indie Rock Drums assembled all in one easy to find place. If your tracks are suffering from lame sounding drums, boring drum passes, or maybe your just not finding the right drum parts to play, the Indie Rock Bundle from the amazing The LoopLoft  will have you in shape in no time at all. I have been a long time fan and user of The LoopLoft  loops and samples for a very long time. The reason I love The LoopLoft  loops is that they use some of todays most incredible musicians to play the instruments and lots of the most rad studio gear (consoles, compressors, EQ’s, microphones, etc.) when they record these loops. The LoopLoft  loops and samples are the best, period.


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