Some Manitobans got attention at this year's International Songwriting Competition. Nearly 15,000 songs by both professional and amateur songwriters from 88 countries were submitted in 2006 with entries from as far away as Rwanda, Iran, and Uzbekistan. Two Manitobans made it to the finals, resulting in honourable mentions. Two former Manitobans placed.
Bluegrass songwriter Jess Reimer of family outfit The Doug and Jess Band took an honourable mention in the Americana category for her song "Knockin'." The track appears on the band's latest effort, Slave to This World.
UK-born R&B gospel singer Adé got an honourable mention for "Up Up Up." The song, cowritten with Darren Sedor, appears on Adé's latest release 49 54, which received two Covenant Award nods for Urban/R&B/Soul Album of the Year and Outstanding Christian Recording last year.
Former Winnipegger Ben Sures placed second in the AAA category for his track "Any Precious Girl." Fellow ex-pat Cam Penner placed third in the Americana category for his song with Tabitha Nordby, "No Stars in the City."
Win or lose, getting to the finals of the International Songwriting Competition can be a big deal. Getting your song heard by the stellar judging panel, which includes international industry big wigs and prominent artists alike, can bring a lot of attention to a songwriter and create some possibilities. This year's judges included such luminaries as Tom Waits, Rosanne Cash, Brian Wilson, Frank Black (Pixies), Robert Smith (The Cure), Amy Ray (Indigo Girls), Isaac Brock (Modest Mouse), and presidents of major labels like Epic , Columbia, and Universal. Also on the panel were top names like Alexandra Patsavas (Owner, The Chop Shop Music Supervision - credits include The OC, Grey's Anatomy, Without A Trace, Carnivale, Rescue Me), Barbara Sedun (VP Creative, EMI Music Publishing Canada), and Larry Willoughby (VP A&R, Capitol Records Nashville).
Two local artists were finalists in last year's International Songwriting Competition. Nathan's Keri Latimer got a nod for her song "The Wind," which appears on Nathan's latest release on Nettwerk Records, Key Principles. Cat Jahnke's song "None Of Those Things" off her album of the same name was up for the Performance category. Several Manitoba artists made it to the semi-final round last year, including Juno-winner Cara Luft (formerly of The Wailin' Jennys), Ruth Moody (of The Wailin’ Jennys), Mia Kulba (with Ben Dunk, Rob Patterson and Rob Wells), Robert Reimer, Scott Nolan, Abelardo Sarao (Project Overdrive) and Piet Shaw/Hazy Bright (The Revolutionary Theatre).
To hear the winners and honourable mentions, please visit http://www.songwritingcompetition.com/winners.htm'.