The votes are in and "The Spark," written and performed by William Prince, has won the 15th annual English SOCAN Songwriting Prize.
Music fans from across Canada cast their votes from July 16-30 for the 10 finalist songs as determined by a panel of music experts.
"Songwriting has been a part of my life for so long. 'The Spark' goes back to my earliest days of learning how to communicate love and hope through music," says Prince. "Winning the SOCAN prize is terrific affirmation of the beginning of my life's work and motivation to keep working on the next chapters. Thank you to SOCAN and everyone that took time to vote."
In a first in SOCAN Songwriting Prize history, each of the remaining nine nominated songs were awarded $500 for the writers.
With so many fantastic songs, at a time when music creators have been particularly hard hit by the effects of COVID-19, SOCAN decided to present cash prizes to all finalists, providing some timely relief for several of Canada's most talented emerging songwriters.
"'The Spark' is an incredible song and William Prince is an incredible and deserving talent," says Jennifer Brown, interim CEO of SOCAN. "The SOCAN Songwriting Prize is about identifying and celebrating Canada's next and best music creators and the 2020 nominees are testament to that fact. This year, we are thrilled to be able to monetarily award the excellence of all 10 nominees."
Brad Wheeler, music and arts journalist and SOCAN Songwriting Prize panelist, had this to say about nominating "The Spark" for the prize: "William Prince isn't the first songwriter to use fire as a metaphor – Billy Joel started it, and don't let him tell you otherwise – and he won't be the last. But 'The Spark' is gently consuming, with a natural rhythm that takes you by the hand and leads you down the path you need. It's a love song. Maybe all of his songs are. This one's built to last though, with 'our song' possibilities."
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 15 esteemed music industry experts. The general public is then invited to vote once a day for their favourite song for two weeks to determine the winner.
SOCAN plays no role in determining the nominees or winners, apart from ensuring that they are members of SOCAN. A mirroring competition for songs in French, the Prix de la chanson SOCAN, is conducted separately.
The winner of the Prix de la chanson SOCAN is "Maintenant ou jamais" – written by Félix Dyotte; published by Dare To Care; performed by Evelyne Brochu.
The other nine songs nominated in the English category were:
- "#uvangattauq" – written by Rita Claire Mike-Murphy, Zahrah Ibrahim, Andrew Morrison; performed by Riit; published by Girl On A Horse, Aakuluk Music Inc.
- "Breaking Down" – written by Meghan Meisters, Mary Beth Ancheta, Alex Mak; performed by iskwé; published by Hyvetown Music Inc.
- "Grip" – written by Clairmont Humphrey II; performed by Clairmont The Second.
- "Mind Games" – written by Lauren Isenberg, David Charles Fischer, Jeff Hazin, Matt Kahane; performed by renforshort.
- "Mountain" – written by Scott Zhang; performed by Monsune.
- "Same Room" – written by JP Saxe, Ryan Marrone; performed by JP Saxe; published by SONY ATV Music Publishing Canada.
- "Some Kinda Love" – written by Kira Huszar, Adam Pondang, Akeel Henry; performed by LOONY; published by Keys Open Doors, Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd. Canada.
- "The Spark" – written by William Prince; performed by William Prince.
- "Thinking 'Bout Love" – written by Khalid Yassein, Robyn Dell'Unto; performed by Wild Rivers; published by Wild Rivers Ltd., Robyn Dell'Unto Music.
- "Thirteen" – written by Haviah Mighty, Preston Chin, Tim Hill; performed by Haviah Mighty.
The 2019 winner of the SOCAN Songwriting Prize was grandson for "Blood//Water" written Chester Krupa Carbone, Kevin Hissink and Jordan Benjamin. Additional winners are available to view on the SOCAN Songwriting Prize website.