Calling all Indigenous hip-hop, rap, and spoken word artists, poets, singers, audio storytellers, and podcasters! The National Film Board of Canada (NFB) and the imagineNATIVE Film+Media Arts Festival are partnering to launch a call for Indigenous voice artists to apply for the eighth annual $50,000 Digital Project Prize.

This year, the organizers are inviting Indigenous voice artists to apply to create something new, a digital or interactive experiment. The project can be anything: a new kind of music video, a live performance, even an app for your cellphone.

Whatever you come up with, it’ll be based on the words and voices of Indigenous artists. You’ll bring your idea to life with a team of creators assembled by the NFB and imagineNATIVE. The completed project will be exhibited and performed at the imagineNATIVE Film & Media Arts Festival in 2020, and distributed online.

Submissions are open until Aug. 24, 2019. For more information, and to apply, click here and scroll down to “Prize Rules.”

SOCAN presented sixth annual L.A. Family & Friends Canada Day party, in association with the Consulate General of Canada in Los Angeles, at the Sunset Marquis Hotel Pool Deck in Los Angeles, on June 26, 2019.

The reception, which ran from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m., drew more than 200 SOCAN members and key music industry representatives, with an event playlist custom-curated by our own A&R representative Aidan D’Aoust, and a life-sized Kawhi Leonard cut-out by the pool. The party also served as a one-year anniversary of the opening of our new SOCAN office in Los Angeles.

Eric Baptiste, Tyler Connolly, Christine Connolly, Rodney Murphy, SOCAN, Los Angeles, L.A., Canada Day, 2019

Left to right: SOCAN CEO Eric Baptiste, Tyler Connolly, Christine Connolly, SOCAN Director, A&R, Rodney Murphy

Present at the event were SOCAN songwriter members LU KALA, Esthero, Brian West, DZL, Liza (who co-wrote the song “Complexities” on Daniel Caesar’s new album Case Study 01), Andy Stochansky, and Stephan Moccio, as well as Matthew Oppenheimer, of the Canadian consulate in Los Angeles.

The L.A. community of SOCAN screen composers was well represented, with Nathalie Bonin, Steve London, and Darren Fung at the party, along with Ari Wise and Kevin Estwick of the Core Music Agency, which represents audio-visual composers.

rica Grayson, Vivian Barclay, SOCAN, Los Angeles, L.A., Canada Day, 2019

Left to right: SOCAN Senior A&R Executive Erica Grayson; Vivian Barclay, General Manager of Warner-Chappell Music Publishing Canada

SOCAN publisher members were also in the house, including Vivian Barclay – the General Manager at Warner Chappell Music Publishing Canada, and also member of the SOCAN Board of Directors – and Donna Caseine, Executive Vice President, Creative  Reservoir Media.

Music industry representatives at the reception included Ivan Evidente (Director, A&R – Universal Music Canada), Tony Scudellari (Senior VP, Television Music, Sony), Daryl Berg (Vice President, Music Strategies and Licensing, Crown Media Family Networks), and reps from performing rights organizations ASCAP, BMI and GMR.

Attending for SOCAN were SOCAN CEO Eric Baptiste and President and Chair of the Board Marc Ouellette; Chief Membership and Business Development Officer Michael McCarty; Vice President, International Relations, Catharine Saxberg; Director, A&R, Rodney Murphy; Director, International Business Development & Compliance, Steven Ambers; Senior A&R Executive Erica Grayson; Executive Director, SOCAN Foundation, Charlie Wall-Andrews; and A&R Representatives Racquel Villagante and Camille Mathews.

After the reception, SOCAN hosted a dinner for some of our members at Cavatina.

The votes are in! Today, “Blood//Water,” performed by grandson, has officially been named the winner of the 14th annual English SOCAN Songwriting Prize. Written by Chester Krupa Carbone and Jordan Benjamin of Toronto, and Kevin Hissink, originally of the Netherlands, “Blood//Water” runs deep with social commentary.

Over the last two weeks, music fans from across Canada cast their votes, hoping that their favourite would be dubbed the 2019 SOCAN Songwriting Prize winner. With so many fantastic songs and varied musical styles in the mix, voting was a tight race, but in the end, “Blood//Water” took the top spot, receiving the $10,000 cash prize, a  Yamaha PSR-S970 Keyboard, and a $500 gift card from Long & McQuade.

“It’s a great honour to receive this recognition as a Canadian songwriter,” said Benjamin. “‘Blood//Water’ was written from a place of frustration and disillusionment, an expression of the manifestations of karma that are waiting for those who continue to subvert justice and democracy in the name of a dollar. Those core themes are as relevant today as when the song was written. Thanks to Kevin and Krupa for bringing this song to life with me; it really does take a village. We’ll continue to make noise until the grand-kids are heard.”

The SOCAN Songwriting Prize is the only major songwriting award in Canada where fans vote to determine the winner. Ten outstanding songs created by Canadian songwriters over the past year are nominated by a panel of 14 esteemed music-industry experts. The general public is then invited to vote for their favourite song, each day, for two weeks, to determine the winner. SOCAN plays no role in determining the nominees or winners, apart from ensuring that they’re members of SOCAN. A parallel competition for songs in French, the Prix de la chanson SOCAN, is conducted separately.

“We’re thrilled to award the 2019 SOCAN Songwriting Prize to Jordan, Kevin and Krupa,” said Michael McCarty, Chief Membership & Business Development Officer at SOCAN. “This year’s nominated songs saw a wide range of genres and eclectic musical styles, making voting on just one winner a true challenge for music fans. Each year, a new wave of Canadian songwriting talent who aren’t afraid to push the envelope with their creativity is unveiled. ‘Blood//Water’ is an anthem that can’t be pinned down to a single musical genre and its lyrical strength is inspiring. We wish continued success to these immensely talented writers.”

“It was such a pleasure working with this team who are so committed to making honest music and pushing the sound of rock & roll. I’m humbled by this award, and I’m excited for the next chapter,” said Krupa. Kevin Hissink said, “I’m truly honoured to receive the SOCAN Songwriting Prize. To be able to write music that rocks hard and empowers those who feel powerless is an incredible experience. Thanks Jordan and Krupa, thanks home team. Thank you SOCAN!”

The winner of the Prix de la chanson SOCAN is “On fouette,” written by Teddy Laguerre, Shawn Volcy, Marc Casseus, and Vladimi Methelus, and performed by Tizzo, featuring Shreez and Soft.

The other nine songs nominated in the English category were:

  • “Bad Biology” – written by Elizabeth Ball, Kathleen Monks, Benjamin Reinhartz, James Anthony Rowlinson; performed by Dilly Dally.
  • “Chances” – written by Kevin Celestin, Shanice Mohamed, Anthony Pierre; performed by Kaytranada feat. Shay Lia; published by Casablanca Media Publishing Inc.
  • “Elephant Man” – written by Sam Lucia, Geoff Millar; performed by So Loki; published by Owake Records.
  • “Hang Ups” – written by Scott Helman, Thomas Salter, Gordie Sampson, Simon Wilcox; performed by Scott Helman; published by EMI April Music Canada, SONY ATV Music Publishing Canada.
  • “Payback” – written by Sarah Hagen, Maxwell Pankiw, Isaiah Steinberg; performed by Bad Child.
  • “She’s The One” – written by Chloé Soldevila, Miles Dupire-Gagnon, Gabriel Lambert, Zachary Irving; performed by Anemone.
  • “Soundboi” – written by Dominique Dias, John Samuels; performed by Just John + Dom Dias.
  • “Tortoise” – written by Clairmont Humphrey II; performed by Clairmont the Second.
  • “Whatever Comes To Mind” – written by Seth Nyquist, Adrian Cook; performed by MorMor.

The 2018 winner of the SOCAN Songwriting Prize was Partner for “Play The Field” written by band members Josée Caron and Lucy Niles. Additional winners are available to view on the SOCAN Songwriting Prize website.