A competition for musicians and singer/songwriters aged 16-29 whose work fosters a stronger relationship with nature through contemporary popular music.

To mark World Earth Day, Yorkshire Sculpture Park has teamed up with the Nature Connectedness Research Group at the University of Derby, musician Sam Lee, Selfridges, and Tileyard London to search for a piece of original music that tunes into nature – helping to highlight the need for a new relationship with nature and provide vital support for young creative practitioners.

The winning entry will receive a £1,000 grant to support their work and also benefit from a free professional remix with Tileyard London, produced by award-winning songwriter and producer Martyn Ware. In addition, selected entries will be broadcast through all of Selfridges’ stores on a celebratory weekend in the autumn.

The research team at the University of Derby has found that the connection between young people and nature dips during teenage years and takes more than a decade to recover. Research also shows that references to nature in contemporary music have decreased consistently since the 1950s. This matters as a close connection with nature helps both the wellbeing of people and our planet, as people who are tuned into nature are more likely to care for it.

As has been highlighted in the current crisis, the human relationship with the rest of nature is important for our wellbeing, yet the climate and environment emergencies show that the human relationship with the rest of nature is broken. Miles Richardson, Professor of Human Factors and Nature Connectedness at the University of Derby, said: “Nature means less and less in our lives and is disappearing as a reference in contemporary music. We need, now more than ever, a new and more connected relationship with nature and music to help remind people that nature is our story.”

The competition is open to anyone aged 16-29 and resident in the UK and the £1,000 grant is sponsored by Selfridges as part of its Creativity is Not Cancelled campaign, supporting emerging creative talent, and in light of its long-term commitment to creating a more sustainable future for people and the planet. The track should not be longer than six minutes.

Inspiration: research shows that a closer, healthier and more sustainable relationship with nature comes through tuning into nature, noticing it, finding beauty, joy, calm, meaning and compassion.

Further details and how to enter can be found at www.ysp.org.uk/tune-into-nature-music-prize


Professor Miles Richardson - Professor of Human Factors and Nature Connectedness, University of Derby

Dr Simon Lesley - Course Director BA (Hons) Popular Music, South & City College, Birmingham

Martyn Ware - Musician, Composer, Arranger, Record Producer and Music Programmer, Founder member of The Human League and Heaven 17

Harry Leckstein - Tileyard Education Managing Director

Sam Lee - Mercury Prize nominated musician and nature conservationist

Selfridges - Selfridges team members

Dr Helen Pheby - Head of Curatorial Programme, Yorkshire Sculpture Park

Some of the judge’s favourite nature tunes are:

Miles - Bill Callahan: Jim Cain

Simon - Paul Simon: Everything About it is a Love Song

Martyn - Spirit: Nature’s Way

Sam - Steve Reich and Chris Hughes: Slow Motion Blackbird

Helen - Ewan MacCall: Joy of Living