The Whanganui Musicians Club has brought back its songwriting competition, the first since 2017.
Each contestant will work on one original song with a house backing band at a workshop this Sunday, before the finalists perform in front of a live audience next week.
The winner will receive two days of recording and one day mixing and mastering at The Stomach studio in Palmerston North.
The competition has funding from the Creative Communities scheme.
Musicians Club administrator Annie Keating said it was "an awesome opportunity".
"Each person can work through their song at the workshop [on Sunday] and decide if they need backing vocals and what not.
"Those same musicians will be performing with them on the night and will be available for the recording sessions as well.
"It's not just about performing a song, it's about crafting something that can work in a recording studio and appeal to a wider audience.
"I want the musicians to really think about the song as a recording, not just as a performance."
The judges for next Friday's final are drummer Michael Franklin Browne (HLAH, Pluto), Patrick McKenna from Patrick's Books and jazz singer Erna Ferry.
"When you're singing you need to be thinking about what you're saying," Keating said.
"When you say 'I'm angry' or 'I'm hurt' you actually have a feeling, and that comes out in the way you sing it.
"If you're singing about being happy then it actually changes your voice. It's these simple things that I want the contestants to think about."
There were no set rules in terms of song length or structure, Keating said, but "26 verses in a row" might not appeal to the audience and judges.
"There's a broad bunch that come to the Musicians Club, so we want the songs to appeal to that wide range of people.
"If the song has got a good swing and people want to get up and dance, all the better.
"I want them to think big."
The workshop on Sunday will not be open to the public, but the concert at the Whanganui Musicians Club on Friday, May 21, will be. Doors open at 7pm.
Entries have been rolling in but there's still room for a few more contestants. If you think you've got an original tune that could be taken to the next level, email Annie Keating at email@example.com.