Speak up, sing out
Ending human rights abuses through music
Speak Up, Sing Out Music Contest Extension

We have extended the 2020 Speak Up, Sing Out music contest deadline to June 15. We’re aware that many of you are still working on your songs and, in these unusual times, we want to make sure you have the time and support you need to complete your pieces.

We’re here to help you as you work on your entries! Check out the opportunities below to connect with our team.

Virtual office hours

April 23, 12 to 2 pm EDT

May 7, 12 to 2 pm EDT

Email us to make an appointment, and ask us questions about either contest! We can connect via Zoom, FaceTime, or phone.

Email us at sttp@rfkhumanrights.org to register for the webinar or virtual office hours. 

We hope you are all staying safe and taking care of yourselves and each other.



Contest Deadline: 11:59 p.m., June 15, 2020

About the contest

In partnership with the GRAMMY Museum, we invite students to produce original songs that take a stand against human rights abuses. Using their own voices and perspectives, students can create meaningful change on pressing issues such as sexual harassment and assault, bullying, police brutality and other important topics related to social justice. The contest winner will participate in a GRAMMY-related event.

Submissions are judged by a panel of music industry professionals who have worked with artists such as Beyoncé, Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry and Kelly Clarkson.

Among others, judges for the 2020 music contest include:

  • Aloe Blacc, GRAMMY-nominated singer, songwriter and producer
  • Axident, GRAMMY-nominated producer and songwriter
  • Rocky Dawuni, GRAMMY-nominated reggae artist and activist
  • Jazmin Grace Grimaldi, Recording Artist, Songwriter, Actress, Humanitarian and Activist 
  • Kerry Kennedy, President, RFK Human Rights

Questions?  Email Girardi@rfkhumanrights.org

Meet Tess Lira - Our 2019 Speak Up, Sing Out Contest Winner

"Getting your voice heard can really change your community, society, more than you could ever think.” Our 2019 Speak Up, Sing Out contest winner Tess Lira shares the inspiration behind her empowering song “Solid Gold” and encourages songwriters to trust their voices.

2019 Grand Prize Winner - "Solid Gold" by Tess Biberaj who goes by Tess Lira

We are thrilled to announce that the winner of the 2019 Speak Up, Sing Out Music Contest is Tess Biberaj who goes by Tess Lira for her song "Solid Gold". Tess, a rising 10th grader from Fiorello H. LaGuardia Performing Arts High School in New York City, says about her song, "My inspiration for the song comes from witnessing and hearing about people treating each other so poorly. My song speaks of the inner strength one needs to stand up for themselves in any injustice." Tess will perform her winning song at a GRAMMY-related event later this year. 

Watch Video

2019 Second Place Winner - "Everybody" by Michael Bacon
2019 Honorable Mentions

"Better Day" by Easha Nandyala from Princeton, NJ

"We Gather Dust" by Lindsey Hirshfeld from Reston, VA

"Stranger in My Home" written by Matheu Campbell, produced by Matthew Jodhan, Maddie Anna and Owen Curtis from Skaneateles, NY

"Where His Love Lies" by Ashley Bruce, Isabella Tria and Jennifer Poroye from New York, NY

2018 Grand Prize Winner - "Proclamation" by Ming-An Fasquelle
2017 Grand Prize Winner - "Teenage Refugees" by Madisyn Elise
2016 Grand Prize Winner - "Invisible" by Jade Rhodes
2015 Concert For Social Justice