Partner Claims $10,000 SOCAN Songwriting Prize with "Play the Field"

Photo: Colin Medley
June 14, 2018

A series of quirky videos and social media savvy helped Josée Caron and Lucy Niles clinch the top spot in the 13th annual English SOCAN Songwriting Prize presented by YouTube Music. “Play The Field” was written by the Atlantic Canada natives and is performed by the band they co-front, Partner.

Variety and balance were evident in the 2018 competition, in which women dominated, several genres were represented and, for the first time, a country song landed in the Top 10. Music fans made their voices heard as they voted for their favourite songs among the finalists, and in the end, Partner would prevail – receiving the $10,000 cash prize, a  Yamaha PSR-S970 Keyboard, and a  $500 gift card from Long & McQuade

"We are so thrilled and honoured to be the recipients of the SOCAN Songwriting Prize," said Caron and Niles. "Songwriting is one of our all-time greatest joys, and to be recognized by fellow music lovers in this capacity is a dream come true."

The SOCAN Songwriting Prize is one of few competitions in Canada that award excellence in songwriting. Ten outstanding songs created by emerging songwriters over the past year are nominated by a panel of 15 esteemed music industry experts. The general public is then invited to vote daily for their favourite to determine the winner. SOCAN plays no role in determining the nominees or winners outside of ensuring they are members of SOCAN. A mirroring competition for songs in French, the Prix de la chanson SOCAN, is conducted separately.

"Congratulations to Josée Caron and Lucy Niles on winning the 2018 SOCAN Songwriting Prize. In a competition that celebrates songwriting, there was no shortage of great songs this year, and winning was no easy feat,” said Michael McCarty, Chief Membership & Business Development Officer at SOCAN.  “The diversity in genres, gender, and cultural influences truly showcased the breadth of not only our talent but the unique stories that Canadian songwriters have to tell. 'Play The Field' is a force, and we wish Josée and Lucy continued success in the early days of what is sure to be a long and successful music career.”

Caron and Niles added, "'Play the Field' is one of our most personal songs, about an innocent time in a young person's life. Writing it was an exciting experience. Josée made a funny demo and Lucy wrote her verse while working at Tim's. We would like to thank all the music lovers and supporters for the huge opportunity and compliment. It is an honour to be nominated alongside so many talented songwriters."

The winner of the Prix de la chanson SOCAN is “56k” written by Simon Trudeau Cliche, Jeff Martinez, Marc Vincent; performed by LOUD and published by Productions Silence D'Or.

The other nine songs nominated in the English category were:

  • "Dreams Tonite" – written by Alec O'Hanley, Molly Rankin; performed by Alvvays; published by Rough Trade Publishing Canada.
  • "Money" – written by Leandra Earl, Eliza Enman-McDaniel, Jordan Miller, Kylie Miller, Garrett Lee; performed by The Beaches; published by Done with Dolls Inc., Besme, administered by Kobalt Music Group Ltd.
  • "Main Girl" – written by Charlotte Cardin; performed by Charlotte Cardin; published by Red Brick c/o Corico Arts.
  • "Cotton Candy" – written by Jessie Reyez; performed by Jessie Reyez; published by BMG Rights Management Canada.
  • "Chills" – written by James Barker, Gavin Slate, Travis Wood, Donovan Woods; performed by James Barker Band; published by Warner Chappell Music Canada, Ole Media Management LP II.
  • "Walkaway" – written by Jasmyn Burke, Morgan Waters; performed by Weaves.
  • "Magic"– written by Eoin Killeen, Timothy Law, Patrisha Sanna Campbell; performed by Birthday Boy and Trish.
  • "Healers" – written by Benjamin McCarthy, Iskwé, Ryan Somerville; performed by Iskwé.
  • "Lingua Franca" – written by Neil Bednis, Christopher Laurignano, Fraser McClean, Melanie St. Pierre; performed by Casper Skulls.

The 2017 winner of the SOCAN Songwriting Prize was PUP for "DVP" written by band members Stefan Babcock, Nestor Chumak, Zachary Mykula, and Steven Sladkowski. Additional winners are available to view on the SOCAN Songwriting Prize website.