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Michael Tiernan Wins Some and Loses Some

“They sent my prize package to the wrong address,” says Michael Tiernan, whose song “Easy” was a Top 5 winner in last month’s Great American Song Contest. “I actually forgot I entered. I gave up on chasing awards, but apparently I entered a few songs into a couple of the bigger contests. Maybe I did it late after a gig one night, when I had a couple of drinks in me.”

Once his prizes finally arrived, Tiernan was somewhat underwhelmed. “Looks like a nice certificate to hang on my wall, bragging rights, and a couple of free memberships to websites that attempt to get you gigs and licensing deals, Music Xray and Sonicbids.” The six-month Sonicbids membership is touted as “a $29.95 value.”

Tiernan previously won Male Singer-Songwriter of the Year and Triple-A Album of the Year at the L.A. Music Awards, plus his song “L.A. Can Wait” was a finalist in the 2011 International Songwriting Competition (ISC). He scored the 2007 Songwriter of the Year Award from the Pacific Songwriting Competition (PSC), however “I was actually the runner-up,” he says. “When the actual winner, from Nashville I think, got into a scuffle with the people who ran the competition, they offered it to me instead.”

In previous years, PSC had offered $20,000 to $40 000 in cash prizes. However, the 2007 jackpot was only $200 and “presence” on the Competition website. PSC later admitted that only around fifty submissions were received for 2007. The entry fee was $35.

“The whole gist of these contests, other than making serious cash for the people who put them on, is mainly to impress industry people that you’re a legit songwriter. A lot of people think they’re silly, and pretty much they are. It’s all how you use the recognition. A shitload of people entered the ISC, 16,000, so it’s kind of cool that some songs rise to the top.”

Tracks from Tiernan’s full-length L.A. Can Wait were recently licensed by the Discovery Network, to be used in TV shows on the Discovery Channel, TLC, I.D. (Investigation Discovery), the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN), Discovery Fit & Health, the Military Channel, Planet Green, and Animal Planet.

“So my music might just be the backdrop to elephants getting it on, cheetahs chomping on a gazelle, or singing dogs. I’m hoping to get onto Shark Week.”

Before Tiernan moved to San Diego in 2003, he was playing solo sets in a Rome, Italy nightclub, attending seminary school, and studying to become a Catholic priest. “It was called North American College, on a hill right above the Vatican. We could do anything we wanted at night, but I kept getting in trouble for my musical performances in town. I guess they considered it unseemly for a seminary student to be playing out on the town in some Irish pub.”

Tiernan left the church institution at age 27 and eventually settled in San Diego, playing gigs between here and L.A. “It was through my L.A. connections that I heard about the [2004] L.A. Music Awards, and I entered with a demo I recorded in my closet at home in Del Mar. They actually nominated me for Male Singer-Songwriter of the Year. That night, I went up to the Music Box Theater in Hollywood with a whole busload of San Diego musicians and friends, with beer and pizza for everyone. I ended up winning the thing.”

Two other local acts were nominated for awards, though neither Bridget Bridgette nor Faceles won.

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“They sent my prize package to the wrong address,” says Michael Tiernan, whose song “Easy” was a Top 5 winner in last month’s Great American Song Contest. “I actually forgot I entered. I gave up on chasing awards, but apparently I entered a few songs into a couple of the bigger contests. Maybe I did it late after a gig one night, when I had a couple of drinks in me.”

Once his prizes finally arrived, Tiernan was somewhat underwhelmed. “Looks like a nice certificate to hang on my wall, bragging rights, and a couple of free memberships to websites that attempt to get you gigs and licensing deals, Music Xray and Sonicbids.” The six-month Sonicbids membership is touted as “a $29.95 value.”

Tiernan previously won Male Singer-Songwriter of the Year and Triple-A Album of the Year at the L.A. Music Awards, plus his song “L.A. Can Wait” was a finalist in the 2011 International Songwriting Competition (ISC). He scored the 2007 Songwriter of the Year Award from the Pacific Songwriting Competition (PSC), however “I was actually the runner-up,” he says. “When the actual winner, from Nashville I think, got into a scuffle with the people who ran the competition, they offered it to me instead.”

In previous years, PSC had offered $20,000 to $40 000 in cash prizes. However, the 2007 jackpot was only $200 and “presence” on the Competition website. PSC later admitted that only around fifty submissions were received for 2007. The entry fee was $35.

“The whole gist of these contests, other than making serious cash for the people who put them on, is mainly to impress industry people that you’re a legit songwriter. A lot of people think they’re silly, and pretty much they are. It’s all how you use the recognition. A shitload of people entered the ISC, 16,000, so it’s kind of cool that some songs rise to the top.”

Tracks from Tiernan’s full-length L.A. Can Wait were recently licensed by the Discovery Network, to be used in TV shows on the Discovery Channel, TLC, I.D. (Investigation Discovery), the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN), Discovery Fit & Health, the Military Channel, Planet Green, and Animal Planet.

“So my music might just be the backdrop to elephants getting it on, cheetahs chomping on a gazelle, or singing dogs. I’m hoping to get onto Shark Week.”

Before Tiernan moved to San Diego in 2003, he was playing solo sets in a Rome, Italy nightclub, attending seminary school, and studying to become a Catholic priest. “It was called North American College, on a hill right above the Vatican. We could do anything we wanted at night, but I kept getting in trouble for my musical performances in town. I guess they considered it unseemly for a seminary student to be playing out on the town in some Irish pub.”

Tiernan left the church institution at age 27 and eventually settled in San Diego, playing gigs between here and L.A. “It was through my L.A. connections that I heard about the [2004] L.A. Music Awards, and I entered with a demo I recorded in my closet at home in Del Mar. They actually nominated me for Male Singer-Songwriter of the Year. That night, I went up to the Music Box Theater in Hollywood with a whole busload of San Diego musicians and friends, with beer and pizza for everyone. I ended up winning the thing.”

Two other local acts were nominated for awards, though neither Bridget Bridgette nor Faceles won.

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