Winnipeg’s William Prince takes home national songwriting prize

Singer-songwriter William Prince.
Singer-songwriter William Prince.

A Winnipeg singer-songwriter has won a prestigious songwriting prize from the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada (SOCAN).

William Prince, who hails from Peguis First Nation, was selected as the winner of SOCAN’s 2020 Songwriting Prize on Wednesday for his song The Spark from the critically acclaimed Reliever album.

Read more: Manitoba singer-songwriter stays true to his roots with JUNO-nominated ‘Easy Keeper’

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The award is the latest in a long line of accolades for the Juno Award-winning Prince (Contemporary Roots Album of the Year, 2017), who most recently saw Reliever on the long list for this year’s Polaris Prize.

Although the 10 finalists for the SOCAN award were selected by a panel of industry experts, the final say went to music fans across Canada, who selected The Spark as their top choice.

“Songwriting has been a part of my life for so long,” said Prince.

The Spark goes back to my earliest days of learning how to communicate love and hope through music,” he said. “Winning the SOCAN prize is terrific affirmation of the beginning of my life’s work, and motivation to keep working on the next chapters.”

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SOCAN’s interim CEO, Jennifer Brown, called The Spark “an incredible song,” and music writer Brad Wheeler, a panellist for SOCAN’s prize, also praised the Manitoba artist’s work.

The Spark is gently consuming, with a natural rhythm that takes you by the hand and leads you down the path you need. It’s a love song. Maybe all of his songs are. This one’s built to last, though, with ‘our song’ possibilities.”

Along with bragging rights, Prince takes home a $5,000 cash prize from SOCAN, a Yamaha keyboard and a gift card for instrument retailer Long & McQuade.

Former Winnipegger iskwé was also a finalist for the award, for her song Breaking Down.

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Click to play video 'Manito Ahbee Festival headliner William Prince performs on Global News Morning' Manito Ahbee Festival headliner William Prince performs on Global News Morning
Manito Ahbee Festival headliner William Prince performs on Global News Morning