Lincoln High School Senior Wins National Songwriting Competition

Nov. 1, 2021, 5 a.m. ·

Zeph is playing a wooden piano. He sits at the bench in front, while looking down at the keys and his hands.
Zeph Siebler spent a lot of time in writing 'Overman,' and he was one of just 13 winners of the songwriter award. (Photo by Elena Cromwell)

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A Lincoln High School won the National 2021 Musical Theatre Songwriting Challenge.

Zeph Siebler, a senior at Lincoln High School, said he heard about the competition a couple years back. Then, he was able to draw inspiration recently from a book called ‘The Portable Nietzsche,’ to write the song he submitted.

“The song that I submitted ‘Overman’ was one of the first that I wrote, as I read the book from which the song sort of imagery and inspiration is taken,” Siebler said. “It took me a while to get the lyrical content right, so I sat on it for a few months. I did some revisions, and then come time of the contest, I had a set of lyrics that I was happy with, so I recorded them up, and I sent them in.”

The competition involved sending in one song, but Siebler is in the process of creating an entire musical around ‘Overman.’ The story is about a German philosopher suffering from mental deterioration caused by Syphilis, as demonstrated by him proposing to the same girl three times in less than a year.

Siebler said he was pleasantly surprised by the announcement of the award winners. Of the 150 applications, 13 students nationwide won the annual award this year. Those students will have the opportunity to record their songs into a Broadway-ready production by vocalists in New York City.

The 2021 Musical Theatre Songwriting Challenge is the fifth annual award from the National Endowment for the Arts and the American Theatre Wing.