AIM Songwriting Competition: Vote Now!

The Australian Institute of Music is thrilled to select the finalists for the AIM Student Songwriting Competition. Our students explore issues that span cultural identity, sexuality, lost love, mental health and vulnerability in their music, and we couldn’t be more proud of the immense wealth of talent here at AIM. Now, it’s up to you to select the winner! The chosen songwriter will receive $300 and a $200 voucher for Turramurra Music.

Learn more about each artist and the story behind their song and vote for your favourite below.



Hans Yuan – “Banana Man”

What is the story behind the song?

Hans: “Banana Man details my struggles and journey growing up as an Australian-born Asian. Since my parents are traditional Chinese and raised me with their cultural outlooks on life, this clashed with my Western education and lifestyle outside of the house which resulted in an identity conflict.   

Due to these reasons, I found it difficult to find my place in society. Coupled with having to deal with racism and then not finding any solace in my parents due the large cultural and language barrier, I eventually find peace through opting to just being myself and trying my best to turn the negatives of having no single culture into a positive one instead.  

Whilst writing the song, I reflected on my own past and the many causalities that may and probably had an impact on my mental health, resulting in my depression and neuroticism. However, I wanted the song to end off on a positive note so I looked toward a version of myself I would be proud to become and implemented the ideal mindset created in that projection, into the tone of the song.”  

Rhianna Lorae – “Eleven PM”

What is the story behind the song? 

Rhianna: “Eleven PM is a reflection of struggling with depression & anxiety as a young teenager and how that developed for me growing up. I feel like this is something that so many people deal with, especially today. I have always had an odd relationship with time.

This song was written after its sister song “3am Thoughts” that I wrote a couple of years ago. When I wrote this song, I was thinking of my past self and her relationship with mental health personified.” 

Follow Rhianna: @rhiannalorae

Mitchell Clarke – “I Won’t Fall

What is the story behind the song? 

Mitchell: “This song began with the goal of wanting to create something upbeat and encouraging, whilst drawing inspiration from a certain style of early 2010’s Pop. I created the original demo taking reference from tracks of that era like Sara Bareilles’ ‘Brave,’ and Katy Perry’s ‘Roar,’ really trying to recreate that sense of energised empowerment. In adapting these aspects to my own style of songwriting, I also tried to convey a little bit more of a sensitive and emotional quality within the feel of the song, both in the words and the music.  After the demo had been completed, Olivia came in and we recorded her vocals. It was the first time I’d worked with Olivia and I was amazed at what she did for the song.

When I was writing this song, I had in mind someone who perhaps feels a bit more vulnerable to a lot of the negative things that can take a toll on you, both in the personal/interpersonal sense, whether it be related to any kind of bullying or self-doubt; but also in the more current contextual sense, it’s pretty obvious that there are so many things in the world going on right now that can be really emotionally strenuous to deal with. And so writing this song was about trying to provide even a small amount of comfort or a moment of encouraging solidarity amidst it all.”

Follow Mitchell: @mitchontwitchmusic

Gailla (Gabi Brown) – “Crowning

What is the story behind the song?

Gabi: “When I was about 15, I realised that I was bisexual, and the girl I liked knew this too, but she played with the idea for the sake of self-entertainment. This can make you feel really insecure and ashamed as a young person figuring out your identity, and so I used this song to overcome that shame and tell the girl that behaving that way isn’t appropriate – something I couldn’t do at the time.

When I wrote the song, I was thinking of myself when I was younger, to comfort her and take control of her narrative, and of all the young people who have gone through the same thing on their own.”

Follow Gabi: @gaillamusic

Daniel Markulic – “Give Me A Break”

What is the story behind the song?

Daniel: “The song is about giving up on trying to save an unsalvageable relationship, whether that be a friendship, romantic, or anything else. Eventually, you have heard all the excuses this person has to offer and all you can say is “Give me a break”. 

While writing the song, I was thinking about an ex-partner. I wrote the song as a way to vent about the breakup. It’s a pretty original concept, I think I may even be the first person in history to write a song about a breakup. Why don’t people do this more often?” 

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