The Alchemy Songwriting Competition is kicking off it's 2017 submission period on August 9, accepting original songs in seven genres and two age categories (Youth 13-17 and Adult). Founded in 2011 with the help of recording artist and American Idol winner Kris Allen, the competition serves to get the work of up and coming songwriters in front of industry professionals. "As a young songwriter I would have loved an opportunity to be a part of something like this. I think it's a great venue to have your songs heard," Allen said. Submissions will be accepted from August 9 - September 9, at which point the top 40-50 songs will be sent to the guest judging panel for review. The panel, which includes Allen, chart-topping songwriter Adam Hambrick, and Grammy nominated producer Jonathan Smith, will hone in on the top 10 submissions. These finalists will be invited to perform at a showcase here in Conway on October 14. As the focus of the competition is primarily on songwriting, the writers have the option of having their songs performed by other musicians. While the competition has an international draw-previous finalists have come from as far away as Malta, Canada, and Mexico to participate-it has also been a source of inspiration and encouragement for many Arkansas based songwriters. The grand prize winner will receive a songwriting session with one of the guest judges, an artist branding session with Zinepak, 2 tickets to the NAMM conference, a $500 Southwest gift card, $250 Airbnb gift card, 30 days of radio airplay and more. Prizes for the runner up, youth winner, fan favorite and genre winners will also be awarded, ranging from guitars, amps, free studio services with FretMonkey Records, and more.The competition and showcase are being hosted by Blackbird Academy of Arts, a non-profit that works to provide quality arts education to the Central Arkansas area. All proceeds will be used to help the organization continue to provide classes and scholarships for both visual and performing arts. This year's presenting sponsor for the Alchemy is Crain Automotive, with FretMonkey Records and Palmer Music Co. offering support for prizes. Guidelines, contest rules, full judges' bios, showcase information and links to previous competition winners can be found online at www.alchemycompetition.org .