2017 Canadian Songwriter Challenge @ NLFB

Published on Jun 13, 2017

10 songwriters. 5 demos. 3 days. 1 festival.

For this year's Canadian Songwriter Challenge, MFM is once again partnering with the Northern Lights Festival Boréal (NLFB) to bring you a co-writing and demo recording adventure on the beautiful shores of Sudbury's Ramsey Lake, July 7-9.

10 participants will be chosen to take part the event where they will be paired up, and, with the help of mentors Rae Spoon and Jonathan Byrd, be challenged to write and record a brand new song in the span of the festival's 3 days. The whole weekend wraps up with a demo listening party aboard the famed William Ramsey Cruise boat.

Are you up for the Challenge? Apply before June 21 to be considered. Successful applicants will be notified by June 23th.

All applicants MUST be based in Northern Ontario and be available for the full three days. Registration is free, and meals and a weekend pass to NLFB will be covered for all participants. A small travel honourarium may also be available by request only.

The Canadian Songwriter Challenge is proudly sponsored by the Canadian Council for Music Industry Associations (CCMIA) and Bell Media.



10 auteurs-compositeurs. 5 enregistrements démo. 3 jours... 1 festival.

Cette année, MFM est en partenariat encore une fois avec le Northern Lights Festival Boréal (NLFB) pour vous apporter une aventure d'écriture collaborative et d'enregistrement démo sur les rives du lac Ramsey à Sudbury, le 6-9 juillet.

10 participants seront choisis pour participer à l'évènement où ils seront jumelés, et, avec l'aide de mentors Rae Spoon et Jonathan Byrd, seront mis au défi d'écrire et enregistrer une toute nouvelle chanson au cours des 3 jours du festival. Le week-end se termine par une détente à bord du célèbre croisière William Ramsey, où nous écouterons les fruits de vos efforts.

Êtes-vous prêts à relever le défi? Inscrivez-vous avant le 22 juin pour être considérés comme participants. Les candidats retenus seront informés avant le 24 juin.

Tous les candidats doivent être basés dans le Nord de l'Ontario et doivent être disponibles pour les trois jours complets du festival. L'inscription est gratuite, et les repas et une passe de week-end à NLFB seront fournis aux participants. Un honoraire de voyage modeste peut également être disponible sur demande seulement.

Le Canadian Songwriter Challenge est fièrement commandité par le Canadian Council of Music Industry Associations (CCMIA) et Bell Media.




Rae Spoon is an award-winning Canadian musician, songwriter, producer, multi-instrumentalist and author. They have released eight solo albums spanning folk, indie rock and electronic genres over the past twelve years and have toured across Canada and internationally. Their live shows swing between audience singalongs and large danceable arrangements, which keep them playing everywhere from folk festivals and house concerts to rock concerts and theatres. Rae was the subject and composer of the score for the National Film Board–produced musical-documentary My Prairie Home, which premiered at Sundance Film Festival in 2014. They have been nominated for two Polaris Prizes, a Lambda Literary Award, a Western Canadian Music Award, a CBC Radio 3 Bucky Award and a MOTHA Transgender Musician of the Year Award.

Armour, Spoon’s eighth solo album, is the highly anticipated follow-up to Polaris Prize–nominated My Prairie Home, a musical about Spoon’s fraught childhood in Alberta. As much as My Prairie Home was about Spoon’s upbringing as a queer youth in a Pentecostal household, Armour is about their view of the future. Moments of reckoning with trauma and self-preservation mingle with messages of hope and survival. Armour explores the idea that there is no instruction manual for healthy adulthood, asserting that the attempt to construct meaning is itself the point of life. The album is a tribute to the intimate space where both hope and despair have space to share the same voice. The ten new songs hold all of the lyrical depth indicative of Spoon’s compositions while showcasing their distinctive voice. Armour’s self- produced enigmatic soundscapes blur the lines between organic and electronic instruments. Analogue synthesizers, electronic drum programming, drum kits, percussion, electric bass, cello and guitar carry the album through pop refrains and danceable beats.

Rae’s first book, First Spring Grass Fire, was published by Arsenal Pulp Press in 2012. The book was a finalist for a Lambda Award in the Transgender Fiction category and was shortlisted for an Expozine Alternative Press Award. In the spring of 2014, Rae was awarded a Honour of Distinction by the Dayne Ogilvie Prize, presented by the Writers’ Trust of Canada. Rae’s second book, co- written with Ivan E. Coyote and titled Gender Failure, was published in 2014. Gender Failure was on the 2015 Over The Rainbow Reading List and was translated into German.


Jonathan Byrd is an American singer-songwriter based in Carrboro, North Carolina. He is best known for his narrative tales of love, life, and death in America. In 2003, he was among the winners of the New Folk competition at the Kerrville Folk Festival. He set a record for CD sales at the festival that year, making more sales than the main stage acts. His song, "The Ballad of Larry" has been listed a "Top Rated Song" by Americana-UK. He primarily performs solo and accompanies himself in a variety of traditional acoustic guitar styles. His recordings have featured a variety of instrumental ensembles and typically include one or more instrumental tracks that feature Byrd’s skillful flatpicking technique. Occasionally he also appears with the Athens, Georgia based world music duo, Dromedary.

Jonathan Byrd teamed up with Chris Kokesh after meeting her at the Americana Song Academy and the duo released a self-titled album under the name The Barn Birds in 2013.[1]

In 2014, Byrd released You Can't Outrun The Radio, a collection of songs inspired by an impromptu song circle in 2009 at the Green Room in Montreal.

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