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September 3rd, 2008:

Stevie Wonder the Gershwin Prize Winner for 2009

Singer/songwriter Stevie Wonder has been announced as the latest winner of the U.S. Library of Congress’s Gershwin Prize for Popular Song and will accept the prize February 23, 2009 at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. He will also write a new piece of music for the library.

The prize is named after George and Ira Gershwin, an American songwriting team whose large collection of songwriting paraphernalia are currently stored in the Library.

This honor being given to Stevie Wonder recognizes his lifetime of contributions to the field of popular music.

Stevie Wonder has created such hits as “My Cherie Amore”, “Superstition”, and “I Just Called to Say I Love You” has been blind since birth and learned to play various instruments before the age of 10.

At the age of 12 he was signed by Motown Records and has since sold over 100 million albums and received 25 Grammy Awards.

Last year’s winner of the Gershwin Prize was Paul Simon.

SOCAN – EchoPrize for 2008

News release just issued by SOCAN:

SOCAN (Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada) wants the public to vote – for their favourite Canadian song.

SOCAN announced the Canadian songs nominated for the third annual ECHO Songwriting Prize, a prize that highlights and celebrates the songwriting talents of some of the best independent, up-and-coming songwriters in Canada.

The contest runs until September 29 at www.echoprize.ca.

The five nominated songs, as selected by an independent panel of ten (10) music community tastemakers, are:
“Double Suicide” written and performed by Sandro Perri
“Lucklucky” written and, performed by Veda Hille
“Night Windows” written by Stephen Carroll, John Samson, Greg Smith and Jason Tait, performed by The Weakerthans
“Weighty Ghost” written by Loel Campbel, Tim D’eon, Paul Murphy and Jud Haynes, performed by Wintersleep
“You Are Never Alone” written by Josh Dolgin, Doris Glaspie, Katie Moore and Waleed Shabazz, performed by the Socalled

During the nomination process, panelists each nominated three songs and from there they reviewed these songs and, using a point-value system, determined the five songs to present to the public for voting.

“Given the uncertainty of arts funding these days, it is refreshing to know that there are organizations like SOCAN that fight for performers’ rights while continuing to support the development of emerging music creators. The ECHO Prize is a fine example of this. Not only does it support up-and-coming songwriters but it involves the Canadian public and helps turn people on to music that they may not hear on commercial radio,” says Daniel Seligman of Pop Montreal.

The Prix de la chanson ECHO, celebrating the songwriting talents of some of the best independent, up-and-coming Francophone songwriters in Canada, is launching concurrently.

SOCAN is the Canadian copyright collective for the communication and performance of musical works. It administer the rights on behalf of its members (composers, lyricists, songwriters and their publishers) and those of affiliated international organizations by licensing the use of the music in Canada.

The fees collected are distributed as royalties to members and to affiliated organizations throughout the world. SOCAN also distributes royalties received from those organizations to members for the use of their music worldwide.

SOCAN has offices in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Edmonton and Dartmouth.

Make a point to visit the site, vote and support your Canadian songwriters! May the Muse be with them all… (even if, somehow and inexplicably, I didn’t make the finalists cut.)

U2 Ready for 2009

It’s easy, sometimes, to forget that even the greats have to go through the mundane… it all starts with a song… simple as that and U2 have it going on in their latest recording/writing sessions for their upcoming album… You can read the official website blurb here… and here’s a little piece to chew on here:

‘When we set out on this record it was Larry who came up with the plan not to have a plan. He put up this idea that wouldn’t it be great just to make music for its own sake, not for the purpose of a live show or on album but just to see what we’re capable of…’

It’s an idea that’s paid off. Following sessions in Morocco, in Dublin and through the summer in France, the band have written ‘fifty or sixty’ tracks. And counting.

‘We’ve hit a rich songwriting vein,’ he explains. ‘It gets a bit dark down here but looks like we’ve found diamonds not coal. I thought a while back we might have the album wrapped by now, but why come up above ground now if there’s more priceless stuff to be found?

May the Muse stay with Larry, the Edge and Bono… they certainly have provided some great tunes over the years…

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