The success of Canada’s most accomplished songwriters, composers and music publishers is being celebrated at the 29th annual SOCAN Awards on June 18 in downtown Toronto. Canadian music legends from the last 50 years will come together to celebrate with contemporary Canadian producers, writers and publishers of rap, country, rock, film & television, jazz, electronic dance, folk-roots, pop, classical and virtually every other genre of music.

Honourees will include:

  • Daniel Caesar – SOCAN Breakout Artist Award winner Daniel Caesar has made waves in Canada and beyond, including two mentions in Barack Obama’s favourite songs of 2017, for his Grammy-nominated, JUNO Award-winning debut album, Freudian.
  • Burton Cummings – A founding member of legendary Canadian rock band The Guess Who, whose songwriting credits include “Stand Tall,” “American Woman,” “These Eyes,” “Break It To Them Gently,” and so many others, Burton Cummings will be honoured with the SOCAN Lifetime Achievement Award, one of the music industry’s greatest accolades.
  • Frank Dukes – SOCAN Songwriter of the Year. The internationally acclaimed producer’s work has been heard on countless songs with some of the world’s biggest rap and pop talents, including Drake’s “Fake Love,” Post Malone’s “Congratulations,” Camila Cabello’s global sensation “Havana,” and hits by Rihanna, Kendrick Lamar and many others.
  • Sarah McLachlan – In the fight for female artists to gain recognition as box office contenders, few artists have fought harder than Sarah McLachlan. She receives SOCAN’s Global Inspiration Award in recognition of her many contributions to the music industry, profound impact on music education for Canadian youth through the non-profit Sarah McLachlan School of Music, and significant acclaim as a songwriter.
  • Our Lady Peace – The Toronto-based rock band best known for their unique sound on albums like 1997’s Clumsy receive the SOCAN National Achievement Award in recognition of their massive career contributions to alternative rock music and songwriting in Canada.

“Canada is home to an incredibly talented, diverse and rapidly expanding group of music creators and publishers and we’re thrilled to celebrate them at the SOCAN Awards in Toronto,” said SOCAN CEO Eric Baptiste. “We’re honouring the global impact of lifetime careers, celebrating new contributors to the music industry and recognizing the astute and rewarding work of music publishers.”

In addition to performances by the multiple Grammy Award-winning Sarah McLachlan and Canadian music legend Burton Cummings, “The SOCANs” are expected to include live performances by celebrated JUNO Award-winning duo Dear Rouge; screen composer Steph Copeland will lead a special orchestral performance featuring Brett Kissel (who will also host the show) and The Launch and Indigenous Music Award-winner Logan Staats.

SOCAN Achievement Award winners are determined collaboratively between the SOCAN Board of Directors’ Membership Committee and the leaders of SOCAN’s Membership department.

More than 50 awards will be presented at “The SOCANs” for success in songwriting, composing, film scoring and music publishing, based on SOCAN data compiled over the last calendar year.

SOCAN Achievement Award winners receive “The SOCAN” – the world’s first and only music industry trophy that’s also a musical instrument, incorporating five custom bronze crotales, tuned this year with notes from “Stand Tall” by Cummings.

The full list of this year’s SOCAN Award winners will be released on the evening of June 18, 2018.

Sponsors of the 2018 SOCAN Awards are Gowling WLG, Crowe Soberman, Yamaha Canada Music, Recording Artists’ Collecting Society (ACTRA RACS), Hargraft, Long & McQuade, Music Canada, Ontario Media Development Corporation and Actra Fraternal Benefit Society (AFBS). Official charity partners are the Unison Benevolent Fund and the SOCAN Foundation

The SOCAN Awards have been held since 1990 as an annual show in Toronto. The annual Gala de la SOCAN in Montréal, which celebrates and honours the work of SOCAN’s Francophone members, will take place in October of this year.

A series of quirky videos and social media savvy helped Josée Caron and Lucy Niles clinch the top spot in the 13th annual English SOCAN Songwriting Prize presented by YouTube Music. “Play The Field” was written by the Atlantic Canada natives and is performed by the band they co-front, Partner.

Variety and balance were evident in the 2018 competition, in which women dominated, several genres were represented and, for the first time, a country song landed in the Top 10. Music fans made their voices heard as they voted for their favourite songs among the finalists, and in the end, Partner would prevail – receiving the $10,000 cash prize, a  Yamaha PSR-S970 Keyboard, and a  $500 gift card from Long & McQuade.

“We are so thrilled and honoured to be the recipients of the SOCAN Songwriting Prize,” said Caron and Niles. “Songwriting is one of our all-time greatest joys, and to be recognized by fellow music lovers in this capacity is a dream come true.”

The SOCAN Songwriting Prize is one of few competitions in Canada that award excellence in songwriting. Ten outstanding songs created by emerging songwriters over the past year are nominated by a panel of 15 esteemed music industry experts. The general public is then invited to vote daily for their favourite to determine the winner. SOCAN plays no role in determining the nominees or winners outside of ensuring they are members of SOCAN. A mirroring competition for songs in French, the Prix de la chanson SOCAN, is conducted separately.

“Congratulations to Josée Caron and Lucy Niles on winning the 2018 SOCAN Songwriting Prize. In a competition that celebrates songwriting, there was no shortage of great songs this year, and winning was no easy feat,” said Michael McCarty, Chief Membership & Business Development Officer at SOCAN.  “The diversity in genres, gender, and cultural influences truly showcased the breadth of not only our talent but the unique stories that Canadian songwriters have to tell. ‘Play The Field’ is a force, and we wish Josée and Lucy continued success in the early days of what is sure to be a long and successful music career.”

Caron and Niles added, “‘Play the Field’ is one of our most personal songs, about an innocent time in a young person’s life. Writing it was an exciting experience. Josée made a funny demo and Lucy wrote her verse while working at Tim’s. We would like to thank all the music lovers and supporters for the huge opportunity and compliment. It is an honour to be nominated alongside so many talented songwriters.”

The winner of the Prix de la chanson SOCAN is “56k” written by Simon Trudeau Cliche, Jeff Martinez, Marc Vincent; performed by LOUD and published by Productions Silence D’Or.

The other nine songs nominated in the English category were:

  • “Dreams Tonite” – written by Alec O’Hanley, Molly Rankin; performed by Alvvays; published by Rough Trade Publishing Canada.
  • Money” – written by Leandra Earl, Eliza Enman-McDaniel, Jordan Miller, Kylie Miller, Garrett Lee; performed by The Beaches; published by Done with Dolls Inc., Besme, administered by Kobalt Music Group Ltd.
  • “Main Girl” – written by Charlotte Cardin; performed by Charlotte Cardin; published by Red Brick c/o Corico Arts.
  • “Cotton Candy” – written by Jessie Reyez; performed by Jessie Reyez; published by BMG Rights Management Canada.
  • “Chills” – written by James Barker, Gavin Slate, Travis Wood, Donovan Woods; performed by James Barker Band; published by Warner Chappell Music Canada, Ole Media Management LP II.
  • “Walkaway” – written by Jasmyn Burke, Morgan Waters; performed by Weaves.
  • “Magic”– written by Eoin Killeen, Timothy Law, Patrisha Sanna Campbell; performed by Birthday Boy and Trish.
  • “Healers” – written by Benjamin McCarthy, Iskwé, Ryan Somerville; performed by Iskwé.
  • “Lingua Franca” – written by Neil Bednis, Christopher Laurignano, Fraser McClean, Melanie St. Pierre; performed by Casper Skulls.

The 2017 winner of the SOCAN Songwriting Prize was PUP for “DVP” written by band members Stefan Babcock, Nestor Chumak, Zachary Mykula, and Steven Sladkowski. Additional winners are available to view on the SOCAN Songwriting Prize website.

In a song induction partnership between the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame (CSHF) and the Mariposa Folk Festival, “Morning Dew,” by Bonnie Dobson, will be inducted into the CSHF at the 2018 edition of the festival. Dobson will perform the song live, and receive the honour, during the event, which takes place July 6-8 in Tudhope Park, in Orillia, Ontario. Dobson performed the anti-nuke protest ballad, accompanying herself on acoustic guitar, at the very first Mariposa fest in 1961.

“Morning Dew” is a dialogue song between the sole surviving woman and man in a post-nuclear dystopia; she’s naïvely in denial; he’s the hopeless voice of doom. Radiation has turned the morning dew – yesterday’s life-giving water – into an annihilator.

At the height of Cold War tensions in 1961 Dobson, a folksinger, was performing in Los Angeles at the Ash Grove club. She’d been deeply moved by the anti-nuke movie On the Beach, and after discussing it with friends, composed “Morning Dew.” “I had never written anything in my life,” she says. “This song just came out, and really, it was a kind of re-enactment of that film in a way, where at the end there is nobody left…. apocalypse, that was what it was about.”

Over the years, the song grew into a powerful blues-rock protest anthem, with subsequent singers adding lyric variations. It’s been covered by a legion of artists, including The Grateful Dead, Lulu, Jeff Beck with Rod Stewart, The Allman Brothers, Nazareth, Long John Baldry, and Serena Ryder, among countless others. Dobson performed the song with Robert Plant at the Royal Festival Hall in the U.K. in 2013.

“The Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame is partnering this year with our country’s most vibrant music festivals and events – coast to coast — to honour the songwriters and songs that are connected to each region,” said Vanessa Thomas, Executive Director of the organization. “We’re very excited to have Bonnie Dobson join us to perform and induct her song.”

Says Mariposa Folk Foundation President Pam Carter, “It’s a distinct pleasure to host this Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame induction of this important song… Bonnie Dobson appeared at Mariposa six times during the 1960s, and this will be a wonderful homecoming.”

Bonnie Dobson was born in Toronto in 1940. Influenced by The Weavers, The Travellers, Pete Seeger and Paul Robeson, she was part of the 1960s urban folk movement, appearing often at U.S. colleges and clubs, Toronto folk clubs and festivals, and on the CBC and BBC television networks. She was rated by Time magazine as second in popularity only to Joan Baez, and had hits with “I Got Stung” (1969) and “Good Morning Rain” (1970). She moved to London in 1969 and toured extensively in the U.K. and Europe until 1989, when she decided to return to university.  She studied Politics, Philosophy and History at Birkbeck College, and ended up running the Faculty of Arts until 2007. In 2013 she returned to the music business, releasing the album Morning Dew.