The Song Cover Challenge Returns

This week the Song Cover Challenge announced it would be returning to our Facebook feeds for another season. A project run by Novocastrian musician Joshua Ballico, the Song Cover Challenge allows anyone and anyone to put their own spin on a classic.

The first ten rounds created 65 covers; Green Day, David Bowie, Toto, Nick Cave, and Johnny Cash are just some of the artists who were covered. The winner of each round then competed in a championship round – to see who could come out victorious with the best cover of the Oasis classic ‘Wonderwall’

The video below was posted to their Facebook page on Monday, acting as a call to arms for participants in the next 10 rounds. It’s a succinct explanation about what the Song Cover Challenge is all about. We spoke to Ballico about the project, and what he hopes to see in the future.

Newcastle Live: What is the Song Cover Challenge?

Joshua Ballico: The Song Cover Challenge is a friendly competition based on facebook that challenges people to learn new songs, record them and make videos. Some people’s strength are in video production and others are musical. But if people play to their strengths and get creative they can join in.


How did it start?

It started in the brain of a fella called Benny Tee. Benny used to host an Open Mic and played blues. He had the idea to get together some like-minded friends who he’d met through another competition called the ‘Short Film Battle’. The idea was to partner people up and they would assign each other a song to cover. It lasted a couple of months in a private group on facebook. I took a hold of the idea (with encouragement from Benny), with the aim of reaching more people and making the ‘competition’ element a little bit more official. I started a facebook page last September and since then we’ve completed 10 rounds, plus a championship round at the end of the first season. And all in all we’ve had 28 people take part (many have participated multiple times) and together they’ve produced a total of 65 videos.


What do you need to enter?

I was going to say ‘nothing’. But as we’re based on facebook, I guess you do need a facebook account. Other than that, you need some enthusiasm and creativity. As lame as that sounds, it’s true. For Season 2 we’re going to announce a round every second Monday at 6pm, starting on Monday 6th July. You need to watch our facebook page and as long as you’re one of the first 6 people to contact the page upon the announcement of a round, you’re in!


What are some of your personal favourite entries over the last 10 rounds?

Two of my favourites were in Round 4. The theme was 1980s. A duo/band called Suave Ben participated and did a cover of ‘Cars’ by Gary Numan.  And a friend of mine, Chris Helm covered ‘Africa’ by Toto. The two videos are opposites in terms of musical style, performance and the videos themselves… I think it showcases the potential of this competition.



What do you hope Season 2 of Song Cover Challenge will bring?

I hope it brings an even wider range of people than the first 10 rounds. The whole thing started fairly video heavy. But I’d really like to encourage more musos, bands and solo performers to get involved. I want them to know that ANY kind of video is acceptable and that the SCC community is a welcoming one.


If you could get any musician to cover another musicians song, who would it be and why?

Elvis to cover ‘Teenage Dirtbag’. Why not?


Written by Spencer Scott

Spencer is a singer/songwriter from Newcastle. He's also a Triple J Unearthed Super User and writes for many national publications.