Leanne de Souza’s Top Tips for an Award-Winning Grant Application

The Carol Lloyd Award is back! We are so excited for the opportunity to carry on the legacy of our first ‘wild woman of rock’ by launching the career of an emerging female-identifying singer-songwriter. Entries are now open, although the application is a little more thorough than just submitting some tracks and hoping for the best. But don’t stress – the incredible Leanne de Souza (who happens to be one of our judges!) is here to help with her top 5 tips for filling out your grant application!


While a grant application may seem like a dauntingly formal process, our judges are looking to see YOU shine through! This may be a songwriting competition, but your application should be about more than just the songs. To be successful, your application should clearly and evocatively articulate exactly who you are – both as a person and a musician. You should use each element of the application effectively to weave together a narrative revolving around your artistic achievements, your creative potential, and how this grant aligns as a milestone in your career progression.

In telling your story, it is critical that you answer two fundamental questions:

  • Why this grant?
  • Why now?

Make sure you take the time to mull these questions over and draft your responses, because this is what will set you apart in the eyes of the judges. What’s more, compelling and thought-out responses to these questions will prove to our panel that you are unique and possess the outstanding creative potential we’re looking for!


Female Singer-Songwriter with Guitar and Notebook



This may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many Carol Lloyd Award applications don’t mention its namesake! The Carol Lloyd Award serves as a chance to continue the legacy of Australia’s original rock chick. As such, we expect you to know who she is (if you don’t, do your research) and speak about how you plan to carry on her legacy. Carol was a true pioneer, who destroyed barriers and led the charge into a more representative musical landscape. She was a fierce supporter of and mentor to emerging female artists with a strong community spirit.

When you sit down to write your vision statement, think about how Carol Lloyd may have impacted your career, and how you fit within her legacy as the grant recipient. Chuck on her music for some inspiration – not only will this help you appreciate her impact on the Queensland music industry, but they’re also just really great albums!

Carol Lloyd (circa 1976) photographer unknown


Your written submission (excluding your tracks and supporting material) should be NO MORE than three pages. So, make sure you are using your time, and words, wisely. We are looking for your story, not an essay! Only include the information that is most relevant to your narrative. Think about where each piece of information best fits within your application. For example, your more traditional musical qualifications (such as formal education/training) go in your CV, whereas your ‘highlights’ (all the unique achievements that comprise your story) fit in your vision statement. If unsure, ask yourself “how does this relate to THIS grant specifically?” If it doesn’t, put it in the CV.

One of the hardest things to write about concisely will be your music! This description should only be 15 words, so do yourself a favour and immediately exclude functional terms (words like ‘lyrical’, ‘melodic’, ‘rhythmic’, and DEFINITELY NOT ‘engaging’ or ‘unique’) that fail to tell us anything about you specifically. Think about how you would emotionally describe your sound, and what your songs evoke in your head and heart. Genre terms may be helpful, but don’t feel like you have to restrict yourself. Ultimately, this description should make us want to listen to your music. If you’re really stuck, ask someone! It’ll help to know how other people perceive your sound.



Once you receive the grant (If you’re fortunate enough to win), we’ll expect you to actually deliver on your proposed project. Therefore, it is imperative that your project plan and budget are well-thought-out and pragmatic. You won’t do yourself any favours by showing off here, simply talk about what you want to create, and how you plan on using the grant money to execute it.

You aren’t expected to know exactly who will work on your album and where you will record but show us that you’ve considered how you want it to sound or who you’d like to work with. If you plan on touring an EP, tell us where you would like to go (keeping in mind tour specifications) and why.

When it comes to your budget, it must be accurate, but only to a certain extent. While we expect it to balance (that is, all money that comes in also goes out), you don’t have to shop around for studio quotes or include every unforeseeable admin cost. Just be realistic and ensure that you’ve accounted for everything you discuss in your vision; don’t sweat the small stuff!


Notebook with Glasses and Calculator



All the additional material you provide should complement the narrative that you have carefully woven throughout your application. It’s not just a matter of ticking boxes; this is your chance to really flesh out your artistic identity, back up your vision statement and show us you’re worth your salt! While you’ll have to be pretty ruthless with what goes in your vision statement, your CV is the perfect opportunity to show us every way – musically or otherwise – that you are awesome and deserve this grant.

If you’ve been reviewed before, feel free to include quotes, but only if they help reinforce who you are as an artist. If you haven’t been reviewed, don’t worry! This grant is open to emerging artists at any stage in their career, you won’t get bonus points for name recognition.

Start seeking your letters of support as soon as possible, and make sure they speak to you and your vision! If possible, buy your referees a coffee and discuss those two critical questions (from #1), to ensure that their letters fit within the story you’re telling. Don’t feel like you have to name drop: the most compelling support letters come from those who actually know you and can speak from the heart. Just make sure that your referee writes the letter themselves!


Female Musician Performing On Stage


At the end of the day, we’re looking for musical talent and creative potential. You don’t need an immaculate application, we want to know your story, your vision, and how you plan to carry on Carol’s legacy. If you have any other questions, check out Leanne’s masterclass provided in 2018, or email claward@qmf.org.au

Good luck and get to it!

Click Here to watch the full Masterclass

Copyright © 2019 Carol Lloyd Award