​Canadian Songwriter Challenge 2021

​Presented by Bell Media

The Canadian Songwriter Challenge returns in 2021 with an online format for BC artists and songwriters.



About the CSC:

The Canadian Songwriter Challenge is a project of the Canadian Council of Music Industry Associations, supported by Bell Media, Creative BC and the Province of British Columbia. This is the 7th edition of the Canadian Songwriter Challenge and is proudly hosted by Music BC. This year we are also thrilled to welcome Bandzoogle as a partner and workshop presenter.

The challenge will begin in June 2021 and includes educational workshops overseen by experienced mentors in order to provide a practical toolkit to help songwriters develop their skills in the craft of writing unique, commercially aware songs.

Previous mentors have included Kinnie Starr, Dave Genn (54-40), Jeff Dawson, Ryan Guldemond (Mother Mother), Shaun Verreault (Wide Mouth Mason), Elisa Pangsaeng (Data Romance, You Say Party, and Juno winner Shad), and Blair Packham (Toronto Song Studio), Tyler Bancroft (Said The Whale), Danielle McTaggart (Dear Rouge), Carly McKillip among others. Our 2021 mentors will be announced soon!

This year the challenge will steer its focus to reflect the cheerful and upbeat, well timed and radio-friendly songwriting and composition which make up that perfect summer hit. That’s why this year we’re asking applicants to collaborate on a song speaking to the theme of “Golden Hour” for their submission. The CSC will take place entirely online, requiring our 15 teams of 2-3 to work together remotely on their song during the challenge. Participants will also take part in webinars and workshops on topics ranging from branding and marketing with Bandzoogle, to contracts, copyright and royalties.

Through the writing process, each team will be assigned a mentor to offer feedback and a critique of their song, the top 5 songs from the project will have support for their single to be professionally recorded in an eligible BC studio of their choice!

How It Works:

Applications open Thursday, May 13th at 12:00PM (PDT) and close May 31st at 11:59PM (PDT). Our jury of industry professionals and mentors will select 15 teams of 2 or 3 participants to participate in the challenge commencing in June 2021, each writing to our theme of #GoldenHour.

  • Select your team of 2-3 members and begin co-writing a song that speaks to the theme “Golden Hour”. Your team has until May 31st at 11:59PM (PDT) to formulate your concept and submit a clip including verse & chorus along with your application.

*No more than 50% of the team should consist of current bandmates. We encourage applicants to challenge themselves by writing with artists or songwriters who they haven’t released music with before.

Before the May 28th deadline: Upload your short demo (verse/chorus) via the application form making sure to include your song’s working title, team of songwriters as well as a brief explanation on your process and inspiration for the demo.

  • Music BC will check each application for eligibility as defined by our Guidelines and Eligibility before our team of mentors review and select 15 teams from the approved list of submissions. These 15 teams will advance forward into the challenge (June 19th – June 20th) where they will rework, expand and perfect their demo with guidance from their assigned mentor and from concepts discussed in the educational webinars.

*All components will be offered remotely, with participants working from home. Music BC will facilitate Zoom conferences and group sessions for each component.

  • Teams will have until Sunday, June 27th at 11:59PM (PST) to finalize their demo, submit it to Music BC with the song title, songwriters and any necessary credits. Teams will also be required to complete a final form which will require an mp3 upload of the demo, songwriter names with splits, recording studio of choice, and name of the artist(s) who will be recording the final version should they be granted one of the top 5 prizes.
  • The top 5 songs will be announced in July, 2021 with each team receiving support to record, mix, and master their song at an eligible BC studio of their choice.

Guidelines and Eligibility:

Please Review The Canadian Songwriter Challenge 2021 Guidelines and Eligibility

*Please note you will not be able to save and return to the form so it is suggested to record your answers in a separate document and copy/paste them into the application form when ready.

Meet The Mentors:

Chin Injeti (Producer)

Chin is a Canadian singer, musician, and music producer. He got his start as a founding member of Juno Award-winning group Bass is Base. He frequently collaborates with producer DJ Khalil; together they have written and produced songs for Dr. Dre, 50 Cent, Drake, Clipse, Eminem and P!nk. Injeti’s work with Eminem and Lecrae has garnered 3 Grammy Awards, as well as Grammy nominations for Aloe Blacc’s Lift Your Spirit and P!nk’s The Truth About Love.

Farshad (Shadi) Edalat (Songwriting)

Founding member of Dirty Radio, Farshad Edalat (lead vocalist, percussion, songwriter) known by his stage name Shadi. DiRTY RADiO is known for crafting a synthesis of progressive pop, R&B and electronic music and have released a number of collaborations on international labels such as Spinnin’ Records, Majestic Casual, Fools Gold, Mad Decent, and Partyfine. They have also toured and shared the stage with acts such as Dragonette, Funk Hunters, Miami Horror, k-os and Lights.

Jane Aurora (Producer)

Jane Aurora is a producer, musician, writer, mix engineer and video editor. She resides in Vancouver and has strong ties to her original home town of Melbourne, collaborating with world-class artists from both sides of the Pacific to produce quality music.

Jane’s approach to production is unique. She gets rapid results by cultivating an adventurous creative environment and adhering to a scrupulous editing process. The result = Ultimate pocket. She has worked with artists across the globe, notably: Tullara, Bocephus King, Digging Roots, Miss Quincy, C.R Avery, The Wars, Sam Lohs, . Tullara’s EP ‘Better Hold On’ was nominated for Australian Roots EP of the Year 2017.

Kinnie Starr (Songwriting)

Starr’s career has taken her around the world – across Canada, the U.S., Europe and Asia, but she is first and foremost an artist and activist. Her activism began before her career in music as a visual artist, and her current visual work continues to touch on her areas of interest: race, home, family and humanity. Her upcoming album, Feed the Fire, is about hope and despair in perilous times and reconnecting with our truest selves.

Ryan Worsley (Producer)

For more than 20 years, Ryan has been studiously, methodically, prodigiously, and obsessively honing his craft. What makes him unique is his coveted ability to make practically anything sound AMAZING. A true sonic wizard. Industry professionals have taken note.

Ryan received a nomination for engineer of the year from the Juno Awards in 2020. In 2015, he received his first nomination for Producer of the Year and the award for Engineer of the Year from the Western Canadian Music Awards and has been nominated in one or both categories every year since, taking home another award in 2018 for Producer of the Year. In addition to these accolades, his experience writing for, producing, recording and performing with Universal Music Canada act Dear Rouge resulted in a Juno Award for Breakthrough Group of the Year. As well, the album Melt by Nuela Charles, which he cowrote, produced and mixed a number of songs on, received a nomination for album of the year at the 2020 Juno Awards.

Danielle McTaggart (Songwriting)

Danielle McTaggart is a Juno-Award winning front woman and songwriter for the pop/alternative band “Dear Rouge”. With songs like “I Heard I Had” and “Live Through The Night” winning songwriting prizes and hitting #1 on the alternative charts, Danielle’s passion is to write songs that authentically connect with an audience.


“Canadian Songwriter Challenge is exactly what you wish. It was such an amazing experience to meet more people from the province and be able to write music with like minded people.

The mentors were an extra bonus and it was nice having that opportunity to connect with them and network with professionals in the city. Music BC did a great job organizing it and helping artists step outside of their comfort zone and collaborate with artists you haven’t with before.”

– 2020 Canadian Songwriter Challenge Participant

Thank you to Creative BC and the Province of British Columbia, The CCMIA and Bell Media and Bandzoogle for their support in this initiative.


Let’s take a moment to celebrate all of last year’s incredible songwriters, and congratulate Moxon & Maurice, FRASE & FAWNA, Jessia & Wayfie, Sarah Stark & Nicky McKenzie and Riun Garner & Tyler Paterson – they have been awarded $1000 towards recording their #AloneTogether single. Thank you to everyone who participated in, followed and voted in this year’s challenge.

Listen to 2020’s CSC Winners here