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.

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.”

A crowd of more than 200 SOCAN members gathered at the Gold Corp stage of the BMO Theatre in Vancouver to attend the SOCAN Annual General Meeting on June 18, 2019, to learn about SOCAN’s major achievements in 2018 – including a record-breaking $375-million in music creator revenues. With a theme of “extended play,” the event was also streamed live in both languages on Facebook, for members who couldn’t attend in person.

Luca Fogale, SOCAN, AGM, 2019

Luca Fogale

After a strong opening performance from singer-songwriter Luca Fogale, SOCAN Board of Directors President and Chair Marc Ouellette reported on various milestones for the organization, including the fact that SOCAN now numbers almost 160,000 members, and discussed the work of SOCAN’s Board of Directors in 2018.

SOCAN CEO Eric Baptiste spoke of SOCAN’s 2018 financial record-setting results – including total revenue of $375 million; more than $87 million of that in international revenue; $320 million distributed to music creators and publishers, including royalties from almost 63 billion online music services performances; and a 29 per cent increase in revenue from digital sources.

Nick Gilder, SOCAN, AGM, 2019, CSHF, Induction

Nick Gilder

Baptiste also discussed the fact that, for the first time ever – thanks to our successful acquisition of SODRAC – SOCAN is now collecting and distributing for mechanical rights; that streaming revenue is increasing, but songwriters, composers and music publishers must receive their fair share, which should be more; how our song camps, song camp Mondays, new office in Los Angeles, and new office space in Vancouver are supporting and accommodating more members; how SOCAN continues to create cutting-edge digital tools and services, including artificial intelligence and our application programming interface (API), to better serve our publisher and writer members; and how our new subsidiary companies, Dataclef, Audiam, and Entandem, are advancing the causes of our members and licensees. For a more complete accounting of SOCAN’s activities in 2018, see our full Annual Report.

Jonathan Simkin, SOCAN, AGM, 2019, Award, "Call Me Maybe", manager

Jonathan Simkin

A lively question-and-answer session followed. At the finale of the AGM, “Hot Child in the City,” a 1978 Billboard No. 1 smash hit co-written by Nick Gilder and James McCullough, and recorded by Gilder, was inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame. Gilder was presented with the honour, and delivered a captivating closing performance of the song.

At the start of the reception following the AGM, SOCAN Chief Membership and Business Development Officer Michael McCarty presented Jonathan Simkin,  of Simkin Artist Management, with a 2019 SOCAN Achievement Award for his role in helping to foster the Most Performed Song in the history of SOCAN, Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me  Maybe.”

At the reception, attending members connected with both SOCAN staff and each other, over drinks and hors d’œuvres.

SOCAN, AGM, 2019, Reception

The Reception