Canadians Matt Epp and Faouzia Win the Grand Prize in US-Based International Songwriting Competition (ISC)

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Judges include Chris Cornell, Tom Waits, Ziggy Marley, Bastille, Hardwell, Joe Bonamassa, Martie Maguire (Dixie Chicks) and more.

This is the first time the Grand Prize has ever been given to Canadian songwriters, and we are very excited to be awarding our highest honor to these very talented artists

Nashville, TN: The International Songwriting Competition (ISC) is pleased to announce its 2016 winners. Now in its 16th year, ISC is the world’s largest international songwriting competition, receiving more than 16,000 entries from 137 countries throughout the world. More than $150,000 in cash and merchandise is awarded to 71 winners in 23 categories covering all genres of music.
For the first time in the history of the competition, the Grand Prize is awarded to Canadian songwriters. It is with great pleasure that ISC bestows its highest honor to Canadian troubador Matt Epp and Morocco-born Manitoba-raised 16-year old phenom Faouzia for their co-written song “The Sound Ft. Faouzia.” The Grand Prize winners take home $25,000 in cash (US) and over $45,000 in additional prizes.

The song is a duet and is the perfect synergy between the seasoned songwriter Epp and the up-and-coming young artist Faouzia. It showcases the talents of each songwriter and singer, interweaving the yin and yang of Epp’s stark, tender vocals with Faouzia’s soaring delivery.

The collaboration came about when Epp was on tour in Germany and received an email from his daughter, who he had been writing to since she was a newborn. The unexpected email from her read "What sound does a longing heart make?” In a hotel bathroom, he tearfully wrote the chorus of this song.

Fast forward a few months to when Epp was assigned to mentor a group of talented young performers; among the participants in the program was Faouzia. Perhaps unlikely kindred spirits, Epp and Faouzia formed a quick friendship, and they finished the song together. The song went to #1 on the CBC Radio 2 chart, and it recently earned the SOCAN No.1 Song Award in Canada based on its radio success.

Candace Avery, the Founder and Director of ISC, states, “Lyrically the song’s central theme of longing is universal, so everyone can relate to it. Combined with its haunting melody, the song’s vulnerability hits you to the core. This is the first time the Grand Prize has ever been given to Canadian songwriters, and we are very excited to be awarding our highest honor to these very talented artists.”

In addition to the Grand Prize winner, many other deserving songwriters also share in the prestige and kudos of winning their respective categories in ISC. These winners hail from all over the world (59% of this year’s winners come from outside the USA) and represent diverse cultures while ranging from talented amateurs to seasoned songwriting veterans. The 23 categories include all genres of contemporary music, from rock to pop to jazz to R&B/Hip-Hop and more.

For a complete list of ISC 2016 winners go to http://www.songwritingcompetition.com/winners.

Winning ISC is a distinction that has propelled many artists to achieve greater success. Past winners have included: Vance Joy; Bastille; Gotye; Passenger; The Band Perry; Lindsey Stirling; Kimbra; Andrew Bird; Gin Wigmore; Missy Higgins; Kehlani; Gregory Porter; Lupe Fiasco; For King And Country; and many more.

The complete panel of 2016 judges includes:

Recording Artists: Chris Cornell; Lorde; Tom Waits; Ziggy Marley; American Authors; Donovan; Bastille; Joe Bonamassa; Martie Maguire (Dixie Chicks); Keane; Hardwell; India Arie; Kaskade; Danilo Perez; Jay Farrar (Son Volt/Uncle Tupelo); Vijay Iyer; Sara Evans; Afro Celt Sound System; Jesse & Joy; Gerald Casale (Devo); Mike Stern; Carlos Vives; Joy Williams (Civil Wars); Rickie Lee Jones; Ray Benson (Asleep At The Wheel); Ana Barbara; Salif Keita; John Mayall; Fat Joe; Luis Fonsi; Art Alexakis (Everclear); Nicholas Gunn; Ryan Bingham; Amadou & Mariam; Jordan Feliz; Matt Maher; Mariana Vega; and Femi Kuti.

Industry Executives: Craig Kallman (Chairman/CEO, Atlantic Records); Dan McCarroll (President, Warner Bros. Records); Seymour Stein (Chairman/CEO, Sire Records); Ed Vetri (President, Wind-Up Records); Craig Balsam (Owner, Razor & Tie/Washington Square/Kidz Bop); Daniel Glass (President, Glassnote Records); Steve Yegelwel (Senior Vice-President, Island Records); John Esposito (Chariman & CEO, Warner Music Nashville); Afo Verde (Chairman, Sony Music Latin); Jason McArthur (VP of A&R, Provident Label Group/Sony Music Entertainment); Bruce Iglauer (Founder/President, Alligator Records); John Burk (President, Concord Label Group); Mike Easterlin (President, Fueled By Ramen/Roadrunner Records); Angel Carrasco (Latin Music Consultant/Producer); Aaron Bay-Schuck (President of A&R, Interscope Records); Richard Stumpf (CEO, Atlas Publishing); Steve Greenberg (CEO, S-Curve Records); Gordon Kerr (CEO, Black River Entertainment); Nate Albert (EVP of A&R, Capitol Records); Kim Buie (VP of A&R, New West Records); Albert Schilcher (VP of Music and Music Marketing, MTV International); Nick Burgess (Sr. VP of A&R, Virgin/EMI); Josh Bailey (Sr. VP of A&R, Word Entertainment); Chris Eckman (Co-Founder, Glitterbeat Records); Colin Barlow (Managing Director, RCA UK); Peter Weber (Co-Founder, Glitterbeat Records); Jacob Edgar (Founder, Cumbancha); Laura Margolin (Publishing, Glassnote Records); Benjamin Groff (Founder, The Brill Building); Golnar Khosrowshahi (President, Reservoir Media Management); Sas Metcalfe (President, Global Creative, Kobalt Music); Carianne Marshall (Partner, Songs Music Publishing); Rich Goodman (President, Rip Tide Music Group); Chris Van Belkom (VP, Combustion Music); Tamara Conniff (EVP, Roc Nation); Jerome Spence (VP Film/TV, Secret Road); Jamie Masada (Owner, Laugh Factory); Julie Kertes (General Manager, National Parenting Publications Awards, NAPPA); Claire S. Green (President, Parents' Choice Foundation); Cyndi Nelson (General Mgr, Zanies Comedy Club); Leib Ostrow (Founder/CEO, Music For Little People); and Cory Robbins (Founder/President, Robbins Entertainment).

Sponsors include: Adam Professional Audio, Berklee College of Music, Big Joe Stomp Box Company, CAD Audio, Celebrity Access, D’Addario, Dark Horse Institute, Disc Makers, Fran’s Chocolates, Gauge Precision Instruments, Gig Salad, Graph Tech, Irie Magazine, Klotz, LANDR, Lewitt, Lowden Guitars, Lurssen Mastering, Marshall, Merch Cat, Musicians Institute, ONErpm, OWC, PRA Audio, SongU.com, Sweetwater, and Thalia.

Entries are now open for the 2017 competition. For more information and to enter, go to http://www.songwritingcompetition.com.

For low-res photos of all winners, go to http://www.songwritingcompetition.com/winners
For high-res photos, please contact Candace Avery at press(at)songwritingcompetition(dot)com

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Candace Avery
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