Press Releases

Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment and Guitar Mash Announce Winners of 'My NYC Song' Teen Songwriting Contest

Young New Yorkers from across the five boroughs submitted original compositions for consideration

Winning songwriter will perform live at 'Guitar Mash at City Winery' on November 19 alongside famed musicians including Joan Osborne, Leo Nocentelli, and Martha Wainwright

NEW YORK, November 13, 2017 – The Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME) and Guitar Mash are pleased to announce the winners of the first #MyNYCSong contest, in which young New Yorkers were asked to produce original songs inspired by New York City to show off their creativity, talent, and love for their hometown. Chloe Hennessee, a 15-year-old from Manhattan, was named the grand prize winner for her original song, "Awake." She will receive a professional recording session to memorialize her song, and will have the opportunity to perform live on November 19th as part of Guitar Mash at City Winery, an annual play-along, sing-along event featuring renowned guitarists and singer-songwriters. She will also receive a mentoring session with Ben Lovett, cofounder and musician of Grammy-award winning band Mumford and Sons, and co-founder of Communion Music.

Click here to listen to the winning song, and the runners-up.

"New York City is unmatched when it comes to its creative talent, and the #MyNYCSong contest was a fantastic way to demonstrate the diversity and range of our city's young musicians," said Media and Entertainment Commissioner Julie Menin. "I commend Chloe and all of the songwriters who submitted compositions for consideration. The range of styles and sounds were remarkable, and I encourage all of our contestants to continue honing their craft."

"I'm thankful to have won this contest because it allows me the opportunity to share my music with a large audience, as well as collaborate with so many talented musicians at Guitar Mash," said #MyNYCSong grand prize winner Chloe Hennessee. "I was inspired by the wonderful opportunities New York offers, as well as how independent one becomes when living here. New York is a magical place, where people have the chance to make their dreams a reality but ultimately it's up to them to take that chance."

"I was so moved and inspired by the remarkable outpouring of songs," said Guitar Mash Artistic Director Mark Stewart. "As an elder, it gives me hope. As a musician it made me want to write one of my own! Thank you all and make sure you keep playing your song for everyone you know, and ask them to join in!"

In addition to Chloe's song "Awake," two songs were named runners-up: "Stand Clear of the Closing Doors" by Erick Dutan and "Gowanus Canal" by Charlie Kilgore and Julian Kaufman. The runners-up will receive professional studio sessions to record their original songs, VIP tickets to attend Guitar Mash at City Winery on November 19, as well as mentoring sessions with Ben Lovett.

When the #MyNYCSong contest was announced in August, teen musicians from all backgrounds and skill levels were encouraged to submit an original song that incorporated voice plus a guitar or ukulele. Entries were original compositions about or inspired by New York City. Guitar Mash Artist Co-Chair and renowned chef Tom Colicchio, award-winning recording artist Valerie June, Universal Music Publishing Group songwriter/producers Carl Sturken and Evan Rogers, Guitar Mash Artistic Director Mark Stewart, and MOME Commissioner Julie Menin judged the song submissions.

For more information about the upcoming Guitar Mash at City Winery on November 19, visit

MyNYCSong Winner Chloe Hennessee

About #MyNYCSong Winner Chloe Hennessee
Chloe Hennessee is a 15-year-old singer/songwriter from Manhattan. She has been a member of the St. Bartholomew's Youth Choir for 8 years. For the past 5 years, Chloe has also been selected for one of the honor choirs at the Organization of American Kodály Educators (OAKE) National Conference. She has studied guitar for over 7 years and has recorded and EP titled, "I'll Be Alright," which features songs she wrote between the ages of 8 and 11. Chloe is also the voice of the character Fancy Nancy in over 60 audiobooks and 3 smartphone apps.