STAMFORD, Conn. – Lisa Occhino first began playing music at 2 or 3 years old when she used to mimic television jingles on her keyboard, trying over and over again until she got it right. Now the 20-year-old Stamford resident is celebrating winning the 2012 John Lennon Song Writing Contest.
“I thought they had the wrong person,” she said when she heard she won. Occhino added that part of her low expectations for the contest came from rushing to finish her song “You Will Never Understand,” before the deadline.
“I figured I had nothing to lose,” she said, thanking Phillip Peloubet, Tyler Kent and Chase Potter for helping her with the song.
Winning the contest couldn’t come at a better time for her as she began to doubt her future as a songwriter, thinking she should concentrate more on other interests. “It’s hard to pursue so many things with 100 percent of my energy,” Occhino, who is a part of many different organizations at the Berklee College of Music, said, adding that she is now re-focused to finishing more songs.
The contest was established in 1997 by Yoko Ono and Broadcast Music Inc. Foundation to recognize “the best and brightest young songwriters,” the release for the contest said. Occhino won a $10,000 scholarship for coming in first place and was one of about 1,000 from all over the country to enter.
Occhino is in her third year at the Berklee and is scheduled to graduate next December, and will be headed to Europe for about a month next spring before she heads into the working world. She plans on trying to get a job in New York City in digital marketing and promotion as well as trying to start her own business to help songwriters.
Her business idea, which she said is still “in the works,” would help songwriters meet on-line and video chat to collaborate on their work. She hopes to launch within the next year.