In December 2013, six young songwriters traveled to South Africa, collaborating with fellow young musicians and performing at the CDMA Route 40 Music Festival. The trip was the culmination of Carnegie Hall’s Musical Exchange Songwriter Search, a contest in partnership with the Casterbridge Music Development Academy and the Rock School Scholarship Fund. The winners were selected by world-renowned artists, including Dave Matthews, Wayne Kramer (MC5), Vicki Peterson (The Bangles), and acclaimed South African singer-songwriter Vusi Mahlasela. The contest took place on Musical Exchange, Carnegie Hall’s global online community for young musicians, which also served as the home of a six-week songwriting project leading up to the trip.
In the following, five of the winners reflect on their experiences and growth through the program and while in South Africa.