International Song for Kindness Contest announces the final 10

15th September, 2021

Inspired by John Lennon’s global hit and peace anthem, Imagine, international charity started the search for the world’s best new song of hope and optimism on what would have been the former Beatle’s 80th birthday, 9 October 2020, with the aim of raising spirits in what has been a traumatic 18 months for the planet.

More than 1500 songs from 28 countries were received by the July 2021 deadline and each of the finalists have now been invited to perform their songs live alongside at Liverpool’s legendary Cavern Club on 9 October 2021, John Lennon’s 81st birthday.

In addition to receiving a great deal of international exposure, the contest’s winner will have their song professionally produced, mixed and mastered by record producer and head of TUFF Music, Daniel Xander at Liverpool’s iconic Motor Museum studio known for the likes of Oasis, The Arctic Monkeys, Ben Howard and Jake Bugg.

Dr Shamender Talwar, co-founder of, said: “The response to our call for songs which promote kindness resonated around the world and the response was overwhelming. Kindness sometimes seems to be in short measure these days, but it’s eternally important and the songs we have received reflect this need.

“We are delighted and grateful that so many people have taken on this challenge and congratulate those that have made the top 10 and wish all of them the best of luck at the final showcase.”

Judges for the competition include the Knoydart Songwriting Retreat and the immensely successful Shelly Poole and Paul Statham who have written tracks for superstar artists such as Janet Jackson, Dido, Paloma Faith, Kylie Minogue, Marc Ronson, Jack Savoretti, Gary Barlow, Massive Attack and Simple Minds. 

Judges considered the theme, the lyrics, melody, composition and originality in coming to their decisions and for the Cavern Club finale they will be joined by Andrew Roachford who enjoyed a decade of hits in the 1980s and 1990s with his eponymous band Roachford.

Roachford are best known for the international hit single Cuddly Toy, a mainstay of radio airplay for the last three decades and which at its peak was selling 33,000 copies a day. The band were Columbia’s biggest selling UK act for a decade.

Andrew Roachford himself was awarded an MBE for services to music in 2019 and he is a patron of the Music Venue Trust, a charity that supports hundreds of grassroots music venues in the UK. As a songwriter he has written for many other artists including Chaka Khan, Michael Jackson and Joss Stone and for the last decade has performed with Mike + The Mechanics

Knoydart Songwriting Retreat co-founder and judge Duncan Lewis said: "It has been a mammoth task in choosing 10 songs from the 1563 we received. All are of exceptional quality and the task of choosing a winner will be very difficult and so we are delighted that such a successful artist and songwriter as Andrew Roachford has come on board to help us.

“It’s been both wonderful and humbling to discover people’s musical and lyrical response to the word ‘kindness’ and each of the top 10 songs really made our ears prick up. It’s going to be a great and emotional finale to a superbly conceived contest.”

Bill Heckle, The Cavern Club’s owner said: "It is an honour to be in the position for the Cavern to be again inspiring the next generation of artists around the world and who knows, we might unearth a future star or two.

“To have Liverpool and the Cavern hosting this celebration of new music inspired by one of John Lennon’s greatest songs on what would have been his 81st birthday, is a reflection of how timeless his peace and unity message is and how vital it is to keep it going.” was founded by Anna Prior and Dr Shamender Talwar in 2011 to bridge community sectors, organisations and government, rebuilding social integration and global community cohesion.

Its mission has found support from global leaders and public figures, including former US President Barack Obama; HM Queen Elizabeth II; Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan; and President of Iceland, Guðni Thorlacius Jóhannesson.’s patron is His Holiness Pope Francis.

In addition to the Cavern Club, the song contest is being supported by Liverpool City Council, The Mayor of Liverpool, Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts and Strawberry Field, celebrating its second anniversary since reopening.

For more information on the contest, please visit

"It’s a wonderful idea that The Salvation Army is going to cultivate youngsters in the precious soil of Strawberry Field."

Julia Baird, Honorary President