SOCAN Songwriting Prize finalists to square off for $10,000

SOCAN has announced the finalists for the 11th annual SOCAN Songwriting Prize, a competition that identifies 10 outstanding songs in English and French written and released by emerging songwriters over the past year, with the music-loving public deciding the winners.

The 10 English and French finalists were each determined by independent panels of 15 music-industry experts (including myself) who were tasked to nominate two songs from any genre that they felt were the best songs written over the past year by “emerging” songwriters – defined as songwriters who only have released two full albums or less (not including EPs) up until the end of the eligibility period (see rules for complete criteria). All the nominated songs were then compiled, reviewed and voted on by each panel as a whole. SOCAN does not have a role in determining the nominees or winners.

The 10 English songs nominated this year are:

  • “Black Body” – written by Benjamin Addy, Renee Wisdom; performed by Spec Won.
  • “Dead or Alive” – written by Jahmarie Adams, Michael Lantz; performed byJazz Cartier.
  • “Desire” – written by Kathleen Monks, Benjamin Reinhartz, James Rowlinson, Elizabeth Ball; performed by Dilly Dally.
  • “How Could You Babe” – written by Tobias Jesso Jr; performed by Tobias Jesso Jr; published by Universal Music Publishing.
  • “Julia” – written by Matthew McLeod; performed by Fast Romantics.
  • “No hurry” – written by Terra Lightfoot; performed by Terra Lightfoot; published by CCS Rights Management Corp.
  • “Paradise” – written by Ashton Simmonds, Matthew Burnett, Jordan Evans, Alexander Sowinski, Matthew Tavares, Leland Whitty, Chester Hansen, Keaven Yazdani; performed by Daniel Ceasar; published by Reclusive Music Inc,, Koblat Music Publishing Ltd. Canada, Robinson Heart Publishing.
  • “Pen to Paper” – written by Sean Graham, Thomas Salter; performed byModern Space; published by Sony/ATV Music Publishing.
  • “Spirits” – written by Simon Ward, Jeremy Drury, Jonathan Hembrey, Darryl GJ James, Brian Leigh Pickett, David Ritter, Joanne Setterington, Isabel Cunningham Ritchie; performed by The Strumbellas; published by Domino Double Nine.
  • Wendell Walker” – written by Andy Shauf; performed by Andy Shauf; published by Peer International Ltd (Canada), Music of the Mothership.

For two weeks, June 9-23, 2016, SOCAN invites music fans to vote for their favourite song from the nominees lot by visiting or through Twitter using the hashtag #mySSPvote and identifying the performer’s name in the tweet. Fans can vote once a day through each platform for the English and French prize competitions. The English and French winning songs will be announced the week of July 12, 2016.

Winners will receive $10,000 in cash, a choice between two models of Godin Guitars (aSeagull Artist Studio CW guitar or Godin 5th Avenue Jazz guitar), a Yamaha PSR-S970 keyboard, and a $500 gift card from Long & McQuade.

“These emerging songwriters might be tomorrow’s global superstars,” said Michael McCarty, Chief Membership & Business Development Officer at SOCAN. “We hope that the SOCAN Songwriting Prize helps these talented songwriters expand their fan base and get the attention they so deserve. Although there can only be one official winner, they’re all winners for creating such great songs to begin with.”

For information on the 2016 Prix de la chanson SOCAN, the Francophone counterpart of the SOCAN Songwriting Prize, click here. For all of the latest updates, follow the SOCAN Songwriting Prize on Twitter at @SOCANmusic and via the #SOCANprize hashtag, as well as on Facebook at