Adam Hambrick of Conway walked away the first grand prize winner of the Alchemy Songwriting Competition after an evening of performances of ten finalists weeded down from hundreds of contest entries. Hambrick's song "I Will Never" was inspired by divorce and dedicated to his wife Merritt to "re-vow" his feelings for her and promise never to go down that road.
It was the first annual competition of Blackbird Academy of the Arts, a nonprofit arts education program based in Conway. Entries from around the world were scrutinized by esteemed judges Kris Allen, Conway native and 2009 American Idol winner; David Hodges, a Little Rock native who's earned Grammys for his work with Evanescence and Kelly Clarkson; and Andy Davis, a former marketing exec who is involved with several music-centered nonprofits.
Runners up were listed by age group category. Bettina and Philippa Cassar came all the way from Bidnija, Malta in southern Europe and
Various genre winners were announced Saturday night between performances.
Hambrick's prize was an expenses-paid trip to Los Angeles to record the winning song in a studio with producers Ryan Peterson and Nolan Sipe. Proceeds from the competition, including entry fees, sponsorships and showcase tickets, will benefit Blackbird Academy, an agency that offers affordable music programs and scholarships to children who otherwise wouldn't have the opportunity.