The 16th annual SOCAN Songwriting Prize celebrates the exceptional talent of the next generation of great Canadian music creators with 20 sensational songs.

As songwriting becomes increasingly collaborative, 2020 challenged music creators in ways never experienced. For some, it meant more time to focus on their personal craft development and, for others, it meant collaborating in new savvy ways. But for all, it meant continuing to create the music that played an invaluable part in carrying us through a difficult year.

The 20 finalists for 2021 SOCAN Songwriting Prize embraced the challenge and delivered emotionally poignant, fun-loving, and inspired work, rich in musical and cultural diversity.

The SOCAN Songwriting Prize, and the equivalent Prix de la chanson SOCAN for Francophone songwriters, is the only major songwriting award in Canada where fans determine the results with online voting at

As financial stresses continue to disproportionately impact music creators, the SOCAN Songwriting Prize will, for the second year, award cash prizes to all 20 nominees. Each grand prize winner receives $5,000, a Yamaha keyboard and a $500 gift card from Long & McQuade. Each nominated song not receiving the grand prize will be awarded a $500 cash prize.

The 10 finalists for the SOCAN Songwriting Prize (English):

  • “Black Woman” – written by Emanuel Assefa, Ryan Bakalarczyk, John Fellner, Kardinal Offishall; performed by Emanuel; Kardinal Offishall published by BMG Rights Management Canada.
  • “Dancing In My Room” – written by Carter Britz, Aidan Fuller; performed by 347aidan; published by Kobalt Music Publishing
  • “delicate” – written by Jonah Yano, Schott Zhang; performed by Jonah
  • “Dream” – written by Clairmont Humphrey II; performed by Clairmont The
  • “Frontin’ Like Pharrell” – written by Kahdijah Payne; performed by
  • “homebody” – written by Michael Brandolino, Alexander DiMauro, Karah McGillivray, Tom Peyton, Robert Sowinski; performed by
  • “No Smoke” – written by Vanessa Kalala, David Charles Fischer, Christopher Larocca, Hrag Sanbalian; performed by LU
  • “Purple Carousel” – written by Sydanie Nichol, Casey Manierka; performed by
  • “Solid” – written by Savannah Ré Simpson, Johann Deterville, Akeel Henry; performed by Savannah Ré; Savannah Ré published by Sony Music
  • “Western Skies” – written by Billy Raffoul; performed by Billy Raffoul; published by Warner Chappell Music Canada

From June 17 to July 1, 2021, music fans can listen to and vote for their favourite song by the nominees by visiting Fans can vote once daily in each of the English and French prize competitions.

The winning songs are scheduled to be announced the week of July 5, 2021.

“In a very challenging year, the 2021 SOCAN Songwriting prize finalists showed that great works of art can emerge from hard times,” said Jennifer Brown, SOCAN interim CEO. “As the pandemic continues to impact music creators disproportionately, we are pleased to maintain a prize structure that supports as many SOCAN members as possible.”

Every year two independent panels, each comprising 15 music industry influencers, nominate long lists of 30 English and 30 French songs by emerging Canadian songwriters and composers released in the previous year that they feel were artistically superior and meet eligibility criteria. All long-listed songs are then voted on by the panels to determine each list of 10 finalists in English and French.

SOCAN does not have a role in determining nominees or winners.

The 10 song finalists for the 2021 Prix de la chanson SOCAN, the Francophone counterpart to the SOCAN Songwriting Prize:

  • “Accident” – written by Laurence-Anne Gagné-Charest; performed by Laurence-Anne.
  • “Demande-moi” – written by Maude Audet; performed by Maude Audet; published by Les éditions Bravo musique
  • “Income Tax” – written by Jonah Richard Guimond; performed by P’tit Belliveau; published by Édition
  • “Le cœur a ses raisons” – written by Gary Derussy, Sarahmée Ouellet, Clément Langlois-Légaré, Thomas Lapointe, Diego Montenegro; performed by Sarahmée.
  • “Les amants de Pompéi” – written by Thierry Larose; performed by Thierry Larose; published by Les éditions Bravo musique
  • “OK” – written by Micheal Mlakar, Adel Kazi-Aoual, Émile Desilets, Clément Langlois-Légaré, Pascal Boisseau; performed by Clay and Friends
  • “Oui Toi” – written by Léo Fougères, Clément Langlois-Légaré, Tom St-Laurent, Adel Kazi-Aoual; performed by FouKi; published by
  • “Ta main” – written by Ariane Roy, Pierre Emmanuel Beaudoin, Vincent Gagnon, Dominique Plante, Cédric Martel, Roxane Azzaria; performed by Ariane
  • “Tempérance” – written by Emerik St-Cyr Labbe; performed by Mon Doux
  • “Tu m’connais trop bien” – written by Gabriel Bouchard; performed by Gab Bouchard; published by Les éditions Bravo musique

For the latest updates, follow the SOCAN Songwriting Prize on social media at @SOCANmusic and on Twitter via the #SOCANprize hashtag.

In order to provide a platform for our members on the rise, we’re pleased to continue the SOCAN Satellite Sessions – an ongoing series of new, unseen member performances broadcast on @SOCANMusic Instagram (and later available across all our social media platforms). In celebration of Black Music Month, the first series of sessions will showcase Black music excellence; each week in June, well present musical performances by some of Canada’s most talented up-and-coming Black songwriters.

The third SOCAN Satellite Session features BOYFRN, streaming on @SOCANMusic Instagram starting on June 17, 2021.

“I want to blend the genres I grew up with,” says BOYFRN. “I hate following the generic layout that most songwriters follow. Black people get put into a box all too often. If you’re Black, you get the ‘rapper’ label so quick. I’d like to be part of the movement that breaks down those barriers.”

Immigrating from Barbados to Scarborough, Toronto, BOYFRN wields a strong cultural and artistic heritage. In high school he started writing his own poetry, a move that ignited a deep-rooted urge within. Naturally quiet, BOYFRN continued in this inspiration, writing poems as therapy, and an expressive outlet. Poetry transformed into music, finding BOYFRN in makeshift studios, making connections with those who fostered his inherent talent. With the help of friends, BOYFRN honed his skills and created his own sound: a mix of deep, poetic rap and ’90s pop sounds and vibes. He released his first single, “Nine Tails,” in 2018, with “CRY” and “Come Down” following shortly afterward.

The year ahead is filled with production and execution, as BOYFRN prepares to release the work that’s developed over the last 12 months.

Tune in to @SOCANMusic Instagram to see his exclusive video performance!

In the midst of continuing social distancing measures to combat the spread of COVID-19, SOCAN continues to conduct online video interviews with our members in our video series, “Staying Home with…” Today, it’s renforshort.

Fast-rising singer-songwriter renforshort has released her six-song sophomore EP, off saint dominique, a collection of reflective and catchy tracks that range from hyperpop to acoustic ballads to pop-punk. On June 4, 2021, she debuted a live performance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert of “fall apart,” which at that point had received more than a million cumulative global streams in less than two weeks. In 2021, renforshort was crowned an Apple Up Next Artist (Canada), a Vevo DSCVR artist, a YouTube “Trending Artist on the Rise,” and the first artist selected as part of Samsung Music Galaxy Thursday spotlight series. She’s been announced as one of the faces of Balmain’s new campaign, the Balmain Sneaker Hub, and Guitar World magazine calls her a “pop-rock phenom.”

In our conversation, she discusses the difference between her debut and sophomore EPs, the source of her success, and her songwriting process.