Mississippi musician is international competition semifinalist

Published 7:45 am Friday, March 3, 2023

The accolades keep piling up for Zechariah Lloyd, the Vicksburg native who has a way with words.

Also known as Zak Tillotson offstage, it was announced Thursday that he’s a semifinalist in the International Songwriting Competition. A previous Mississippi Songwriter of the Year winner, Tillotson’s “Heart in a Notebook” is up against songs from across the world.

Semifinalists from Shanghai to Romania and Australia to Alberta, Canada made the list alongside Tillotson, along with a handful of other Mississippi artists.

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“It’s pretty wild and humbling and flattering,” Tillotson said. “I started writing music because it’s my way to process stuff. I never thought it would become what it is or get this far. But to get a message back that says, ‘You’ve made it into the top 15 percent out of more than 30,000 submissions’ is pretty cool.”

Some of the music industry’s most influential people are serving as judges for the competition, including Mariah Carey, the band Coldplay, Rosanne Cash, Gloria Estefan and Brantley Gilbert.

Tillotson said the winners will be announced sometime in the next couple of months.

Past ISC winners include Vance Joy, Gotye, Bastille, Kehlani, The Band Perry, Kimbra, Passenger, Kasey Chambers, Lindsey Stirling, Gregory Porter, King Charles, Gin Wigmore, Andrew Bird, For King & Country, Heather Morgan, Dave Berg, Gordie Sampson, Darrell Scott, Tom Hambridge and Omar Sosa.