SOCAN has presented dance-pop duo The Darcys – Jason Couse and Wes Marskell – with two No. 1 Song Awards: one for co-writing “Better Days,” which topped the CBC Music Top 20 on Jan. 2, 2020; and one for co-writing “Look Me in the Eyes,” which topped the same chart on Oct. 22, 2020.

Although the songs were written under different circumstances, both became pandemic anthems, at different points within the past 18 months.

Since current health regulations prevent SOCAN from presenting a No. 1 Song Award plaque to The Darcys in person, SOCAN A&R Representative Melissa Cameron-Passley bestowed it to them via video instead. And we took the opportunity of the occasion to add to our “Top Secrets” video series, as the duo explains how the songs were written.

Currently independent, The Darcys were previously signed to a four-album deal with Arts & Crafts. Their 2013 album Warring was nominated for a JUNO Award for Alternative Album of the Year; was a long list nominee for the 2014 Polaris Music Prize; and spawned and a 50-date worldwide tour.

This year, SPACQ (Société professionnelle des auteurs et compositeurs du Québec) is celebrating its 40th Anniversary. To mark the occasion, the organization has taken the opportunity to enhance its training plan with several workshops that may be of interest to SOCAN members who wish to improve their skills.

From Aug. 2, 2021, SPACQ members have priority on workshop registrations, but waiting lists are available for non-members. The nine workshops are held virtually through the Zoom platform.

Here are the workshops offered by SPACQ in the Fall of 2021:

Writing an effective funding application—Yzabel BeauBien
Participants will learn how to identify the right programs and develop the right tools to maximize their chances of getting a positive response to a funding request.
Dates: Sept. 11 and 12, 2021

The Author’s Instinct—Vincent Vallières
This creative workshop aims to teach and consider a selection of simple but effective songwriting and composition tools to ensure clarity of message.
Dates: Sept. 24, 25 and 26, 2021

Toolkit for stalled songs—Manuel Gasse
Participants will develop tools that will allow them to give a second life to unfinished songs or, to improve their existing ones.
Dates: Sundays, Oct. 3, 10, 17 and 24, 2021

Writing for others: the mission of the lyricist—Nelson Minville
The aim of this workshop is to understand the reality and working conditions of the lyricist, and to learn how to write lyrics to an existing piece of music.
Dates: Saturdays, Oct. 16 and 23, 2021

Creative Workshop—Saying the little things right is huge! —Jim Corcoran
The workshop aims to consider a more surprising choice of words and a wider range of ideas in songwriting, based on a second-glance approach and the revision of existing texts. Guest: Marjolaine Beauchamp
Dates: Nov. 6 and 7, 2021

Hip-Hop Creative Writing Workshop—Webster
This workshop will be an exploration of tools and new work methods for songwriters of the rap/hip-hop scene. Guest: Boogat
Dates: Nov. 12, 13 and 14, 2021

Wearing all the hats—Self-production—Andréanne A. Malette
Participants will learn how to take control of many aspects of their singer-songwriter career, and how to decide what they entrust to others. This workshop will give them the tools they need to become increasingly autonomous.
Dates: Nov. 28 and 29, 2021

Positioning your artistic approach in the current market—Jacynthe Plamondon-Émond
Participants will learn how to better plan their career and, if necessary, re-position themselves during their career. This workshop aims to inspire insights that will guide each participant in developing a vision of their project.
Dates: Dec. 3, 4 and 11, 2021

The Composer and the Music on Film—Master Class—Michel Corriveau
This workshop aims to create understanding of the job of a screen composer, and to teach how to work with different directors and different budgets. Tips and exercises are also included.
Dates: Dec. 11 and 12, 2021

Visit the SPACQ website to sign up, or for more information.

On Aug. 19, 2021, SOCAN A&R Executive in Montréal, Sara Dendane, met with the aspiring talent of the latest edition of Star Académie, TVA’s popular talent contest broadcast in Québec, and hosted an information session about the role SOCAN plays in the careers of Canadian songwriters, composers, screen composers, and music publishers.

SOCAN 101 offers basic educational training on how SOCAN works, what its mission is, and what it offers to members. Dendane also took this opportunity to talk with the participants about their aspirations, and how SOCAN can help them reach their goals.

The “academics” in attendance were Rosalie Ayotte, Shayan Heidari, Maeva, Zara, Olivier Faubert, Matt Moln, and Dashny as well as Meghan Oak and Jacob Roberge remotely.