Ontario Songwriters Dominate in Great Lakes Songwriting Contest

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Largest regional songwriting contest in US and Canada honors eight Ontario songwriters.

Ontario songwriters took top honors in this year's Great Lakes Songwriting Contest.

Both First Place awards went to songwriters from the Canadian province: Jacob Moon of Hamilton, for his composition "The Great Beyond," and Allister Bradley of Kitchener, for his song "What a Day." Greg Hobbes of Toronto won Second Place for "Sunshine and Roses," and there were five finalists from Ontario: Bignic of Penetanguishene for "Inexplicable (v4)," John Boyd of Niagara Falls for "The Things We Said," Joe Hash of Toronto for "Stay," David Hein of Toronto for "Subway Sparrow," and Kevin Wong of Markham for "Beautifully Flawed."

"This year, the songwriters of Ontario discovered us, and we're so glad they did," says contest coordinator Bill Frank. "It's great to have heard so many fine songs from Canada, because it furthers our goal of honoring the best songs of the entire Great Lakes region."

The Grand Prize for the 2008 contest went to a Minneapolis songwriter-performer, Tim Mahoney. His winning composition, "Theme Song," is from his 2007 recording, "Stay/Leave." The three top winners, Mahoney, Bradley and Moon, will perform at the contest's annual Winners' Concert, scheduled for Feb. 7, 2009, at the Trinity House Theatre, the premier Detroit-area concert venue.

Jacob Moon's winning song has been released on his CD, "The Loop," which was recorded live at The Staircase Theatre in Hamilton. It features Moon's trademark "live looping" technique, in which he records portions of a song while he's performing it on stage, then adds new parts on top of the recorded portion, generating the illusion of an entire group of musicians playing. All of this is accomplished with no prerecorded sounds.

Allister Bradley spent 15 years developing software in the corporate world before leaving it all to play music full time. The pianist-singer has two recordings that have gathered much critical acclaim and radio airplay. His winning song is from "Too," which was released this past March. He describes his second release as "Sting having cocktails with Norah Jones, while Billy Joel and Bruce Hornsby argue over the check." When not writing, performing and recording his own material, he produces others' albums and writes film scores. He also teaches songwriting the Humber College Summer Songwriting Workshops, held at the lakeshore campus in Toronto. In 2006, he won a Toronto Independent Music Award for Best Male Singer.

The Great Lakes Songwriting Contest is the largest regional songwriting contest in the United States and Canada, with 11 winners getting a variety of cash and merchandise, plus promotional and performance opportunities. In 2008, the contest attracted 600 entries from the Province of Ontario and the eight states bordering the Great Lakes. Based in Ann Arbor, MI, the contest started in 2003 as the Metro Detroit Songwriting Contest, which was organized by a group of southeastern Michigan songwriters. More information is available at the contest website, http://www.GreatLakesSongs.com.

Seven songs by Ontario songwriters also received honorable mentions in the 2008 contest. They are:
"The Light of Mississippi," by Jagger Cook of Niagara;
"Ave Maria," by Sonja Dass of Missassauga;
"I Dream of Boats," by Terry Gomes of Ottawa;
"Emily," by Isobelle Gunn of London;
"She's Got Nothin'," by Linda M and Lindsay Boughton of Toronto;
"Paint (Dare to be Free)," by Jennifer Noble of Toronto;
and,"Stay," by William Sotnikow of Toronto.

The other 2008 winners are:
Second Place: Allison Downey of Portage, MI, for "All That Matters"; Rob Taube and Hugh Colocott of New York City for "Savannah"; and Mark Croft of Madison, WI, for "Is It Gonna Be Funky?"

Third Place: Dan Hazlett of Waterford, MI, for "Try the Beginning Again"; Juliann of Fort Gratiot, MI, for "Whiskey on my Breath"; Andy Baker of Gobles, MI, for "Origami Heart"; and Mischa Suemnig of Minneapolis for "Movin' On." The contest website contains photos, biographies and website links for all of the winners. It also contains more information on contest finalists and the songs that won honorable mentions.

Details of the 2009 contest will be announced on the website on Jan. 1. The contest is open to all ages and all types of music. The 2008 contest was sponsored by Broadjams of Madison, WI; Indie-Music of Indianapolis, IN; the Songbridge music marketing company based in Ontario, Canada; Elderly Instruments of Lansing, MI; the CD Seller of Minneapolis; and Lamb's Retreat for Songwriters of Royal Oak, MI. More information on the contest is available at http://www.GreatLakesSongs.com.

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