The UpStart Award is an annual grant of $10,000 to an emerging Victoria singer-songwriter. The award is funded by a music loving family in Melbourne and the winner will be decided by a panel of local artists and music experts.

You might still be busking, you may have recorded a few tracks  or you might be playing pub gigs; but you’re not on the map yet.

The award will be adjudicated by a panel consisting of Victorian artists Angie MacMahon and Shane Howard, and a range of industry experts from community radio, retail, and streaming services.

Applications open July 17 and close on August 31st. The winner will be announced and interviewed on “The Breakfast Spread” on PBS FM in mid November.

All entries should be sent to info@upstart.org.au


Entrants for the UpStart Award must be individual songwriters; no bands. If you are in a band, the application may be submitted (and therefore awarded to) the band’s songwriter.

Our definition of an emerging artist means you are not signed to a major record company and you have not played major venues regularly.  You are in the development stage of your music career.

  • You need to live in Victoria and have lived here for the last two years.
  • You must also be an Australian citizen or a permanent resident of Australia.
  • You must be a member of APRA AMCOS.
  • You need to have an ABN.
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All entrants for the UpStart Award must provide:

  • A maximum of three songs you have written. Music files should be in SoundCloud, Dropbox or YouTube format.
  • A bio describing your music style, your career to date and where you have been performing (200 words or less).
  • A budget and plan for how you would use the $10,000 prize money for the development of your career (200 words or less).
  • Contact details  – phone number and email address please, with Facebook an optional extra.
  • One entry per person.

Optional extras:

  • Feel free to send a video clip of a performance and/or lyric sheets, in case we can’t make out the words in the audio.

All entries should be sent to info@upstart.org.au




  1. By submitting your work to the UpStart Award you warrant that the work is your own original work and does not infringe on the copyright or licence rights of any third parties.
  2. The cash prize must be used for purposes specific to your career. For example, to record, for marketing or touring.
  3. You cannot use the money for reimbursement for project expenses already incurred for education fees or to purchase instruments and equipment.
  4. Copyright for work submitted to the UpStart Award is yours. UpStart will not seek to retain any ongoing rights or royalties from any of your material.
  5. You warrant that your work does not contain any offensive or defamatory material.
  6. The panel’s decision is final. No correspondence will be entered in to.
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