Angel Rodriguez of Seattle Wins Musical Theater Songwriting Challenge for High School Students!

By Paulette Beete
an African American young man sits on a piano stool holding his acoustic guitar

Angel Rodriguez. Photo by NEA Staff

“I am going to keep moving forward, I’m going to keep writing songs and keep making [them] better.” -- Angel Rodriguez

Angel Rodriguez of Puget Sound Adventist Academy High School in Seattle, Washington, is the new National Champion of the Musical Theater Songwriting Challenge for High School Students. The young artist's win earned him a $5,000 scholarship and a publishing contract for his song, "Bleeding," from Sony/ATV. 

Chelsea Mayo from R.L. Turner High School in Dallas County, Texas and Jake Berglove from Perpich Arts High School in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota were the runners up. Mayo and Berglove will each take home a $2,500 scholarship.

To prepare for the competition, Rodriguez, Mayo, and Berglove participated in two days of intensive songwriting workshops with professional musicians, singers, songwriters, and producers. At the end of the workshop, each of their songs was performed by professional musicians for a panel of judges that included songwriter Adam Gwon; Tony Award-nominated and ABC Scandal actor Norm Lewis; and composer/lyricist Anaïs Mitchell, among others.

The Musical Theater Songwriting Challenge for High School Students is a pilot initiative of the NEA and Playbill, Inc., with additional support provided by Disney Theatrical Group.

For more on the Musical Theater Songwriting Challenge for High School Students, visit our News Room.

Stay tuned for an Art Talk with winning songwriter Angel Rodriguez on the Art Works blog later this month! And visit @NEAarts on Instagram or check out our Facebook page to hear clips from the songs written by Rodriguez, Mayo, and Berglove.