The ‘Songs of War’ songwriting competition, organised by Soundcheque and sponsored by Hard Rock Cafe London in partnership with BASCA, SYNCR Music and Virgin Radio, was launched to inspire the UK music community in commemorating the centenary of WW1, while shining a spotlight on the need to support children forced to live with the brutality of today’s conflicts.

Over 500 songwriters applied and the winner was chosen by a panel of music industry heavyweights including:- Dave Stewart (Eurythmics), Joss Stone, Mike Rutherford (Genesis), Jeremy Vine, Eddy Temple-Morris, Sunta Templeton(Radio X), Nicky Bignell (Head of Music BBC), Crispin Hunt (BASCA Chairman), John Giddings, Chris de Burgh and more.

The winner of the inaugural ‘Songs of War’ songwriting competition will perform alongside Jack Savoretti, Lucy Spraggan, Samuel Jack and James Walsh (Starsailor) at London’s Hard Rock Cafe on Thursday 29 November in support of War Child UK.

The winning song ‘Dear God’ will be introduced by war photographer and author of ‘Under the Wire’, Paul Conroy, portrayed by Jamie Dornan in the recently released film A Private War. Paul, also a songwriter, wrote the war-themed song ‘Take Good Care’ for Joss Stone and Dave Stewart and provided his war photography for the competition.

As well as the opportunity to perform, the winner will also receive:

£1000 prize money
Recording time at Richard Branson’s family home studio
One-year free membership to SYNCR for paid opportunities in Media / Film / TV
One-to-one mental wellbeing coaching sessions courtesy of ‘Music for Mental Wealth


This is the first songwriting competition to offer mental health support to the winner


On the winning song, Dave Stewart said: “The gentle piano approach to the song is alluring, the second verse in this song is lyrically strong, honest and compelling with her vocal intensifying just enough to feel her anger and get the listener emotionally involved. I chose this song because of the honesty in the vocals and the lyrics mixed with the minimalist approach to the recording, God is there in the space between the notes.“

Paul Conroy said: “I use music as a way to relax and let the creative juices flow when I’m not in the field. For me there have always been two aspects to music:- making it, and then, getting it heard.
This competition offers anybody with music in their soul an amazing opportunity to get their music heard by an incredible panel of judges with an equal passion for music.”

Helienne Lindvall : Chair of the Songwriter Committee & Board Director, (BASCA) said:
“The quality of songs was high across the board, but ‘Dear God’ by Grey Areas was outstanding – with heartbreaking, thought-provoking lyrics performed with such emotion and conviction that it stops you in your tracks.”

Joss Stone said about the competition: “If music can bring some awareness to something as important as War Child’s work, then sing your bloody hearts out people! If your song can help current situations, even if it’s just the tiniest bit, then pick up your guitar and play!”

The competition winner, 22 year-old Megan from Liverpool said: “I wrote ‘Dear God’ in December of 2016 to summarise my feelings about the state of the world. I felt — and still feel — strongly about what I wrote. ‘Songs of War’ fell into my lap, and I had to take the chance of applying. When I found out I won, I was beyond thrilled. I can’t really put into words how honoured and excited I am to be able to hopefully positively impact people’s lives through my music by supporting War Child.”

On the event, Jim Benner, Music Events Specialist at War Child UK, said:
“War Child’s heritage has its roots in music and it’s a privilege to continue to work with the best artists to strive for a world where no child’s life is torn apart by war. The winner of the brilliant Songs of War competition joins the list of musicians such as Coldplay, Sam Smith and Florence + The Machine as a War Child artist performing and raising money for our crucial work.”

Sarah Handy, Head of Sales and Marketing at The Hard Rock Cafe, added:
“Music is energy. It stirs emotions, inspires, connects and restores. We are a brand that knows the power of music. It’s who we are. So we are delighted that Hard Rock Cafe London is involved in this competition to raise awareness through the sound of music of the devastations created by war”.


Tickets and full details for the live event are available here:


For more information on the competition visit:



Eddy Temple-Morris announced the winner live on Virgin Radio (listen here)

Listen to the winning song ‘Dear God’

‘A Private War’ directed by Matt Heineman is on General Release. Jamie Dornan plays Paul Conroy. Rosamund Pike as Marie Colvin. Jamie Dornan talking about portraying Paul Conroy (watch here)

Paul Conroy’s book “Under the Wire” was released as a feature length documentary of the same title in September 2018.


George Millington