“Songwriting is a popular form of art, not a French class. It’s a piece of jewelry. You put it together like a precious jewel. There is no moment more precious than when you finish writing a song.” – François Guy, Paroles & Musique, 2010

Francois GuyWith great sadness, SOCAN learned of the death of songwriter François Guy on May 12, 2023. A fatal fall at his cottage in Labelle, in the Laurentians, put an end to a prolific career in “chanson québécoise.” Whether through his numerous compositions over six decades, or his involvement with SACEF (Société pour l’avancement de la chanson d’expression française) for more than 15 years, Guy left his mark on a whole era. He added his own cornerstone to the edifice of the Francophone repertoire, and mentored the next generation of singers through the Ma Première Place des Arts contest, among others.

Reaching an audience via the band Les Sinners in the late ’60s, and by his next group, La Révolution Française, Guy co-wrote the rallying anthem “Québécois,” that would be inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2018. It was one of the first rock songs to sing about Québec’s independence, a theme that, until then, had been mostly reserved for folksingers. The song’s powerful message captured the era’s zeitgeist, which was the key to its success, and “Québécois”  became the province’s best-selling single in 1970, with more than 100,000 copies sold.

Guy proceeded to record five albums and a series of singles between 1973 and 1983; he participated in the creation of several musical revues, including Cirociel in 1976, before re-orienting his career toward talent development. He did circle back to writing for other artists, including Chloé Sainte-Marie, Véronique Béliveau, Renée Martel, Gildor Roy, and Francine Raymond with “Y a les mots,” a hit song that became a SOCAN Classic in 2018.

Guy made a final recording in 2010 with the album Je préfère le bonheur, in collaboration with his accomplice Manuel Brault, and other lyricists, such as Mario Proulx and Jean-Guy Prince. “I’ve never really left songwriting behind,” said Guy in a story published in SOCAN’s Paroles & Musique magazine in 2010. “I never stopped writing. I just grew old. When you’re younger, you’re more dynamic, but as you grow older, you become a better singer. You reach a certain level of mastery, you know yourself better, your capacities, your range, your interpretation, the value of the words.”

SOCAN extends heartfelt condolences to Guy’s family, friends and colleagues.


Out of more than 18,000 entries from 140 countries, four songs written or co-written by SOCAN members won in the 2022 International Songwriting Competition, in separate musical categories.

The SOCAN members honoured with second-place prizes for their songs were:

  • Monica Fadai-Nia and Andrew Ripp (BMI), in the Adult Contemporary category for “Found My Way to You,” performed by Hendrix (not to be confused with Jimi Hendrix);
  • In the Rock category, Jared Salte and Bethany Salte, with “Little High Little Low,” performed by The Royal Foundry; and
  • Dan Davidson, Clayton Bellamy, and Mitch Merritt, in the Country category, with “Warm Beer,” performed by Davidson.

In the R&B/Soul category, Jully Black’s “Half Empty,” written and performed by her, made a third-place finish, and 25 more songs written or co-written by SOCAN members earned honourable mentions. For a complete list of 2022 ISC winners and honourable mentions, and to hear the winning songs, visit the ISC website.

Now in its 22nd year, the ISC was created to recognize great songwriters and to provide a valuable platform for them to be heard by the music industry and public alike. The competition is open to both professional and amateur songwriters. More than 70 winners in more than 20 genre categories share more than $225,000 USD in cash and prizes, including an overall Grand Prize of $25,000 USD cash, and more. Previous winners have included Jane Siberry, Vance Joy, Faouzia, Sam Roberts, Tenille Townes, The Trews, and many more.

Kellie Loder, ECMAs, 2023

Kellie Loder (Photo: Manon Cormier)

The East Pointers led the honours count with three – in the categories of  Contemporary Roots, Group, and Pop Recording of the Year – at the the 35th Anniversary edition of the East Coast Music Awards, held in Halifax on May 4, 2023, at the Scotiabank Centre, and May 7, 2023, at the Nova Scotia Ballroom of the Marriott Harbourfront Hotel.

David Myles and Kellie Loder tied for the second-most awards, with two apiece. Myles won Album and Solo Recording of the Year, both for It’s Only A Little Loneliness. Loder won the Fans Choice Award and the Songwriter of the Year honours, the latter presented by SOCAN, and handed to her by the duo of SOCAN CEO Jennifer Brown and longtime SOCAN member, and multiple ECMA and JUNO winner, Rose Cousins. Grej won Classical Composer of the Year, and Mi’kmaw fiddler Morgan Toney won the Indigenous Artist of the Year Award for the second year in a row.

On May 6, 2023, SOCAN held a Songwriting Masterclass Workshop, moderated by SOCAN Creative Executive Houtan Hodania, with Adria Kain and Neon Dreams sharing their songwriting methods and techniques with interested attendees. On May 7, 2023, our ever-popular SOCAN Songwriters’ Circle, held in the Schooner Room of Casino Nova Scotia, was hosted by O’Sound and Fortunate Ones, and featured songs and stories from them and 2023 ECMA winners Adam Baldwin (Song of the Year, for “Lighthouse in Little Lorraine”); Lisa LeBlanc (Francophone Recording of the Year, for Chiac Disco); as well as Breagh Isabel, Jason Benoit, Joce Reyome, and Mo Kenney.

During the gala awards show, Myles Goodwyn was inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame; Rawlins Cross were honoured with the Dr. Helen Creighton Lifetime Achievement Award; and Natalie MacMaster took home the Director’s Special Achievement Award.

Complete list of winners