The Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame (CSHF) has announced the finalists of the 2021 Slaight Music Emerging Songwriter Award. Established in 2017, the Award celebrates the current achievements and bright futures of Canadian songwriters on an upward trajectory in their career. This year’s finalists comprise six Anglophone artists and five Francophone artists from across Canada, all vying for the top cash prize and exclusive opportunities to SOCAN songwriting camps, mentorship opportunities, and industry recognition at the 2021 and 2022 SOCAN Awards.
New this year, the CSHF is inviting the public to discover new music and vote for their favourite songwriter as the second round of voting gets underway by a juried panel. Fans can vote daily at cshf.ca/songwriter-award/ until Aug. 15 at 11:59 pm ET, to earn their nominee a bonus entry. The winner in the Anglophone and Francophone categories will be announced in early September. Past winners of the Slaight Music Emerging Songwriter Award include Charlotte Cardin, Jessie Reyez, Lowell, and Les Louanges.
“This year’s class of finalists are among the most exciting and innovative artists in music today. Their songwriting craft is largely driven by self-reflection, authentic expression, and unwavering points of view that echo the experiences and stories of Canada’s diverse communities and musical landscape,” says Derrick Ross, President of Slaight Music. “A big congratulation to all the finalists. We’re extremely excited for Canadians to discover their music and vote for any one of these talented and deserving songwriters -- who may one day be a future inductee to the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame.”
This year’s Slaight Music Emerging Songwriter contest consisted of 40 outstanding candidates. The top finalists were determined after a first round of voting by a juried panel of music industry professionals.
The 2021 finalists in the Anglophone category are:
Lu Kala (Toronto, ON) - The fiery voiced songstress - with signature vibrant orange hair to match - is breaking the pop-star mold. Her debut EP, Worthy, ventures into emotional places few dare to go, with tales of personal, hard-earned love lessons. She has performed at festivals such as iHeartRadio FanFest, Manifesto and RBC Bluesfest.
Mustafa (Toronto, ON) – Writing in the aftermath of losing several friends to gun violence, Toronto-based poet and singer-songwriter Mustafa copes with loss in the most honest way he knows how: through his interpretation of folk music. Mustafa has been listed as an Artist to Watch in 2021 by i-D, British Vogue, and Complex Magazine among others.
Savannah Ré (Scarborough, ON) – R&B’s brightest new voices and 2021 Juno Award winner of Traditional R&B/Soul Recording of the Year, Savannah Ré is a highly skilled songwriter who has developed an acumen for an arrestingly honest style of self-reflection that’s the mark of music’s elite.
Shay Lia (Montreal, QC) - A prolific creator born in France, raised in the tiny, lesser known East African country of Djibouti and currently residing in Montreal. The independent singer-songwriter’s intentional, soulful offerings smoothly pack multiple genres into a concise, sonic and visual narrative of the artist’s self- discovery and impressive repertoire.
TOBi (Toronto, ON) - Born in Nigeria, TOBi immigrated to Canada at eight years old. He turned to music to express his thoughts and emotions. In 2019 TOBi released his debut studio album, Still, which received high praises from i-D, BET, Billboard, Paper & L’Officiel; and released Elements Vol. 1 in 2020 which won the Juno Award for Best Rap Recording.
William Prince (Winnipeg, MB) – William Prince’s influences, from his Indigenous roots to the gospel of his childhood, and pantheon of classic outlaw country singers, shape his approach to song craft which earned him a Juno Award for his debut Earthy Days in 2017. Following the release of Reliever, in February 2020, he surprised fans with a second new album, Gospel First Nation as a collection of “21st Century Northern Interlake Country Gospel” that tells stories of family and faith in the age of grief.
In the Francophone category for the Slaight Music Emerging Songwriter Award, finalists are Ariane Roy, Klô Pelgag, Laurence-Anne, P'tit Belliveau and Sarahmée.
For complete bios, music streaming, voting, and to learn more about the Slaight Music Emerging Songwriter Award, go here