Skip to main content

Shawn Mendes, peermusic & Sarah McLachlan Honored at 29th Annual SOCAN Awards

Shawn Mendes, Burton Cummings, Sarah McLachlan, Our Lady Peace and Daniel Caesar were all on hand to collect their special achievement awards at the 29th annual SOCAN Awards in Toronto at the…

Shawn Mendes, Burton Cummings, Sarah McLachlan, Our Lady Peace and Daniel Caesar were all on hand to collect their special achievement awards at the 29th annual SOCAN Awards in Toronto at the Sheraton Centre earlier this week (June 18), along with dozens of other fellow songwriters recognized for hits or syncs or scores in 2017. Alessia Cara received her international achievement award in absentia.

Mendes, and Adam “Frank Dukes” Feeney who has co-written for Rihanna, Kanye West and Kendrick Lamar, both received a Songwriter of the Year trophy; rock band Our Lady Peace with its 25-year-history and 5 million in album sales, was given the National Achievement Award; McLachlan, the international songstress who in the 1990s launched the gutsy, unprecedented female-led Lilith Fair concert tour whose impact continues today, was presented with the Global Inspiration Award; solo artist and former Guess Who principle Burton Cummings got the Lifetime Achievement Award; and rising R&B singer and award-gatherer Daniel Caesar picked up the Breakout Award (for the full list, see below).

The special achievement awards, created by renowned Canadian cymbal makers Sabian, are also a playable percussive instrument, incorporating five custom bronze crotales.


Indeed, Canadian songwriters were also involved in some of the biggest songs of 2017 performed by non-Canadians, including Niall Horan’s “Slow Hands,” James Arthur’s “Say You Won’t Let Go,” Camilla Cabello’s “Havana,” Florida Georgia Line’s “God, Your Mama, and Me,” Post Malone’s Congratulations” and French Montana’s “Unforgettable.”  They were recognized at the awards, alongside Canadian songwriters Shawn Mendes, The Weeknd, Zedd & Alessia Cara, NAV, Drake, Daniel Caesar, Arkells and all their co-writers.

Hosted by award-winning country artist Brett Kissel, the SOCAN Awards — put on by the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada which collected royalties of $352 million (CAD) in 2017 for its 150,000 members — recognizes Canada’s music creators in a range of categories, this year dance, rap, pop, rock, country, R&B, folk/roots, classical, film and television, in addition to the special achievement awards.  It is a private ticketed event for about 600 songwriter, composers, music publishers and other assorted music industry types.

“These are the people that will shape the global community and music for years to come and those who have done it for years in the past,” noted Kissel in his intro, adding, “The common ground that all of these artists share is the song. No matter what genre or what era, the song is the common ground that we all share this evening.”

Shawn Mendes, peermusic & Sarah McLachlan
Our Lady Peace backstage at the SOCAN Awards. Grant W Martin Photography

The three-and-a-half hour ceremony dished out award after award, with just some performance breaks by McLachlan, Cummings, Kissel, Dear Rouge, Rose Cousins (who won the Folk/Roots Music Award), The Launch TV show winner Logan Staats, an all-female orchestra led by screen composer Steph Copeland and arranged by Lora Bidner; and up-and-coming rapper Sean Leon who shook things up by reprimanding the room for ignoring hip hop.

At one point onstage, SOCAN CEO Eric Baptiste proudly declared, “Our show is probably the most varied and inclusive of all musical genres. The diversity of Canada’s population is presented in the diversity of SOCAN members, now numbering more than 150,000. SOCAN today is a bit more inclusive and even more equality based than at any time in our long history. We are encouraging more female and visible minority music creators to become members so that we can work with them to build their careers.” He added that “half of our music creator members joining in 2017, who were 21 or younger, were women.”

The only award not announced in advance was the Publisher of the Year, with peermusic Canada Inc. winning over nominees Red Brick Music Publishing and Warner/Chappell Music Canada.

2018 SOCAN Classic Award Winners — honouring songs that achieved over 100,000 spins (performances) on domestic radio over 20 years — went to artists Our Lady Peace for “Somewhere Out There,” “Innocent,” “Clumsy” and “Superman’s Dead;” Northern Pike’s “She Ain’t Pretty;” Bass Is Base’s “I Cry” and “Funkmobile;” Paul Brandt’s “My Heart Has a History” and “I Do;” and Susan Aglukark’s “O Siem.”

Shawn Mendes, peermusic & Sarah McLachlan
Breakout Artist Award Winner Daniel Caesar and Songwriter of the Year Shawn Mendes at the 29th SOCAN Awards. Grant W Martin Photography

More than 50 awards were presented based on SOCAN data compiled over the last calendar year. The winners were decided collaboratively between the Membership Committee of the SOCAN Board of Directors and leaders in the SOCAN Membership department. SOCAN Achievement Award winners are determined collaboratively between the SOCAN Board of Directors’ Membership Committee and the leaders of SOCAN’s Membership department. The genre awards are for songs that achieved the greatest number of performances on domestic radio and on-demand audio streams during 2017.

The annual Gala de la SOCAN in Montréal, the awards ceremony for SOCAN’s francophone members, will take place in October.

See select highlight from the night below:

Shawn Mendes — Songwriter of the Year:

“His accomplishments are mind-blowing to say the least but you’re all here today because of his songs and his songwriting,” SOCAN’s chief membership and business development officer Michael McCarty (the former long-time president of EMI Music Publishing Canada) said in his intro to the 19-year-old Mendes.

Mendes stunned everyone by showing up. It was already late in the show and he had to perform a iHeartRadio Canada’s Secret Sessions.  Holding the trophy, the Toronto native said, “You’ve been supporting me since I was really young and believing in me and Universal and my manager for pushing me to be a songwriter, but I just think it’s really important to talk about how many incredible talented songwriters and producers there are coming out of Canada at the moment.  And more importantly than that, one thing I’ve noticed is, across the world in Germany or in America , there’s this real friendship, this real camaraderie that we have as friends, no matter where you are. It’s a really special connection and I think that’s a big tribute to everybody’s success. So that’s wonderful….keep working.”

Daniel Caesar — Breakout Award

His managers and musical collaborators Jordan Evans and Matthew Burnett presented Caesar with the award. Evans told a funny story about when they all used to live with their parents and he received a demo of his high school recordings, he played it to his then girlfriend and another female friend, separately, and they both bawled. “I was like, “Ok, we might have something special.”  Burnett said when Evan first played him his music, “It was an absolute breath of fresh air…As a fellow songwriter, I’m very jealous of you my friend.”  Caesar, who keeps his acceptance speeches short, said, “It’s weird.  I go on stage for a living and his still makes me very nervous.  We have an inside joke.  I like to call myself Daniel and this is Caesar,” he says, to laughs, pointing to his two partners.  “All of this does not happen without these guys, I’m flustered right now, these are my brothers. Thank you to my family, thank you to SOCAN.”

Our Lady Peace — The National Achievement Award”

“There was a point in the late 1990s when OLP was played on the radio more than any other Canadian rock band,” said radio legend Alan Cross who made the presentation. “The band remains popular, relevant, prolific,” he added mentioning their latest album, Somethingness “It is so gratifying to know that they still got it.”  After the video tribute, frontman Raine Maida, surrounded by the most recent lineup, thanked his long-time managers Eric Lawrence and Rob Lanni, as well as Gary Furniss from Sony/ATV Publishing, “Everyone I’m talking about is still our team, it’s incredible,” he noted, also giving due props to Arnold Lanni, who produced the band’s first four albums, for “allowing us to learn.”

“We write songs because they’re the evidence of life. And this was very apparent to me…” Maida added.” I think our children will get to know us better through our songs than anything we could ever sit down and tell them, any kind of wisdom you try face to face. Those songs are living history.”  He added, “I missed so much in our first 10 years of Our Lady Peace because I think you can understand this as a songwriter, that you’re always about the next song…”

Burton Cummings — Lifetime Achievement Award:

U2 producer and fellow artist/songwriter Daniel Lanois used his “organic teleprompter” (a giant piece of paper) to recite a long poem to and about Cummings. “Thank you, Burton for seeing what you see from the top of the leaf of the witness tree, for blazing the trail for us to know, as songs live on by dessert and snow.”  He added, “I’m touched by your commitment in these fast times, a rock to stand on, by labour, by rhyme.” Cummings was particularly touched himself that Lanois did the honors, beginning his acceptance speech with “I must say, to have a guy like Lanois presenting this to me is very humbling,” going on to call him a renaissance man, true meaning of an artist and that his album, Acadie, is “absolutely brilliant.” Then he got to his own career:

“I’ve been doing this a long time. I remember Randy Bachman and I sitting down, I hadn’t even left home yet, it was 1968 sometime, in Winnipeg, and we wrote ‘These Eyes’ in Randy said 15 minutes; it was more like half an hour, and that’s 50 years ago.  I heard ‘These Eyes’ on the radio yesterday.  It’s 50 years already.  That’s remarkable to me.  I’m very thankful to all the people that have allowed me to do this for so long, I guess I’ve stuck around long enough now to be annoying.  I really don’t want to ever be annoying, I’m hoping to do yet another album, I have a bunch of new songs that I believe in.  I’ve done 33 albums, today that’s about six careers.  I’m proud of most of the stuff. There are some embarrassing songs that I refuse to remember, but most of it has made me fairly proud.”  He thanked a few people, but make particular mention of his manager Lorne Saifer, who he has known for 56 years, since the age of 14.  The two have nothing on paper, he said. “When you can handle a career that has spanned so long and have nothing contractually listed on paper, then you’re truly blessed.”

Adam “Frank Dukes” Feeney — Songwriter of the Year:

SOCAN’S McCarty also presented this award, running through a mini bio of Frank Dukes from teaching himself to play keys, guitar, bass and drums to becoming a DJ in high school. “His favourite producers were RZA, Pete Rock and DJ Premier, and he managed to figure out all their samples by reverse engineering them. When Dukes went up to accept his trophy, he thanked Murphy, “my man since the start,” as well as SOCAN in general, and his wife. “SOCAN has really looked out [for me], so I really want to thank you guys, looking out for artists early in our careers, when we have no money. You guys come through and make sure we can focus on our art.  I didn’t really prepare a speech, but I really want to thank the artists that I get to work with because at the end of the day, being producer is pretty boring if you don’t get to work with amazing talented artists so it’s really them that make my job interesting.”

A complete list of winners follows:

Alessia Cara

Our Lady Peace

Burton Cummings

Sarah McLachlan

Shawn Mendes
Adam “Frank Dukes” Feeney

peermusic Canada


Performed by Shawn Mendes
Shawn Mendes / Mendes Music
John Geiger (BMI)
Ilsey Juber (BMI)
Daniel Parker (BMI)
Universal Music Publishing Canada

“There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back”
Performed by Shawn Mendes
Shawn Mendes / Mendes Music
Geoff Warburton
John Geiger (BMI)
Scott Friedman (BMI)
Sony/ATV Music Publishing Canada
Universal Music Publishing Canada


Performed by James Barker Band
James Barker
Gavin Slate
Travis Wood
Donovan Woods/ Meant Well Inc.
Warner Chappell Music Canada Ltd.

“God, Your Mama, and Me”
Performed by Florida Georgia Line featuring Backstreet Boys
Gordie Sampson / Dash8 Music
Joshua Kear (ASCAP)
Hillary Lindsey (ASCAP)
BMG Rights Management Canada Inc.

“I Be, U Be”
Performed by High Valley
Brad Rempel / Spruce Road Publishing
Jenson Vaughan
Sony/ATV Music Publishing Canada
Ultra International Music Publishing Canada

The City of Hamilton

Daniel Caesar

Christine Jensen

Jocelyn Morlock

Keith Power

Rose Cousins

“Some Way”
Performed by Nav featuring The Weeknd
Navraj “Nav” Goraya
Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye
Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd. Canada
BMG Rights Management Canada Inc.


Performed by French Montana featuring Swae Lee
Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye
Carlo “Illangelo” Montagnese
Martin “Doc” McKinney
Rainer Blanchaer
Khalif Brown (BMI)
Jeremy Felton (ASCAP)
Karim Kharbouch (ASCAP)
McCulloch Sutphin (BMI)
Christopher Washington (BMI)
Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd. Canada

Performed by Post Malone
Adam “Frank Dukes” Feeney
Louis Bell (ASCAP)
Quavious Marshall (ASCAP)
Austin Post (BMI)
Carl Rosen (BMI)
Leland Wayne (BMI)
EMI April Music Canada Ltd.
Nyan King Music

“Fake Love”
Performed by Drake
Aubrey Drake Graham
Adam “Frank Dukes” Feeney
Brittany Hazzard (ASCAP)
Anderson Hernandez (ASCAP)
Leon Huff (BMI)
Gene McFadden (BMI)
John Whitehead (BMI)
Sandra Gale (ASCAP)
EMI April Music Canada Ltd.
Nyan King Music


Performed by Jessie Reyez
Jessie Reyez
BMG Rights Management Canada Inc.

“Slow Hands”
Performed by Niall Horan
Tobias Jesso Jr.
Julian Bunetta (BMI)
John Ryan (BMI)
Ruth Cunningham (IMRO)
Niall Horan (PRS)
Alexander Izquierdo (ASCAP)
Universal Music Publishing Canada

“Reminding Me”
Performed by Shawn Hook
ft. Vanessa Hudgens
Shawn Hook
Jonas Jeberg (PRS)
Ethan Thompson (BMI)
Round Hill

Performed by Camila Cabello
Adam “Frank Dukes” Feeney
Kaan Gunesberk
Louis Bell (ASCAP)
Camila Cabello (BMI)
Brittany Hazzard (ASCAP)
Brian Lee (BMI)
Alexandra Tamposi (BMI)
Jeffery Williams (BMI)
Pharrell Williams (GMR)
Andrew Wotman (BMI)
EMI April Music Canada Ltd.
Nyan King Music

“I Feel It Coming”
Performed by The Weeknd featuring Daft Punk
Martin “Doc” McKinney
Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye
Henry “Cirkut” Walter
Thomas Bangalter (BMI)
Guillaume Emmanuel de Homem Christo (BMI)
Eric Chedeville (SACEM)
Ed Because (SACEM)
Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd. Canada


Saving Hope
Gary Koftinoff
eOne Television International Ltd.

Keith Power
Rescued Horse Season One Inc.


Border Security: Canada’s Front Line
Greg Fisher
Derek Treffry
eOne TV Unscripted BC Inc.

Sportsnet Central
Stephan Moccio / Sing Little Penguin
Murray Fleming
Rogers Sportsnet Inc.
Universal Music Publishing Canada


The Adventures of Napkin Man!
Trevor Allan
Jody Colero / Einstein Bros Publishing
Peter Coulman (posthumous)
Ian LeFeuvre
Thomas Thorney
Breakthrough Publishing Inc.

James Chapple
Graeme Cornies
John Denottbeck
Robert Johnston
David Kelly
Brian Pickett
Earl Torno
Sinking Ship Entertainment Inc.

“Get You”
Performed by Daniel Caesar featuring Kali Uchis
Daniel Caesar
Wesley Allen
Matthew Burnett
Ian Culley
Jordan Evans
Chester Hansen
Alexander Sowinski
Mattew Tavares
Leland Whitty
Karly Loaiza (ASCAP) / Kali Uchis LLC (ASCAP)
Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd. Canada
Third Side Music


“Knocking At The Door”
Performed by Arkells
Michael DeAngelis / Oh C’Mon
Max Kerman / Pick and Roll Music
Tim Oxford / Tim Oxford Publishing
Nick Dika / Friends With Salad Publishing
peermusic Canada Inc.

“Kill the Lights”
Performed by Glorious Sons
Brett Emmons
Jay Emmons
Chris Huot
Chris Koster
Adam Paquette
Jason Murray
Black Box Songs
BMG Rights Management Canada Inc.


Performed by Zedd & Alessia Cara
Alessia Cara
Sarah Aarons (APRA)
Anders Froen (TONO)
Jonnali Parmenius (STIM)
Linus Wiklund (STIM)
Anton Zaslavski (ASCAP)
Sony/ATV Music Publishing

Performed by Virginia to Vegas
Jamie Appleby
Derik Baker
Alyssa Reid
Nathan Ferraro / Blue Dream Songs
Michael Wise
Heart and Art Music
Hyvecity Music Publishing
Third Side Music
Wax On Wax Off

“Lights Out”
Performed by Virginia to Vegas
Jamie Appleby
Derik Baker
Alyssa Reid
Dave Thomson
Michael Wise
Sony/ATV Music Publishing Canada
Third Side Music
Wax On Wax Off

“Say You Won’t Let Go”
Performed by James Arthur
Neil Ormandy
James Arthur (PRS)
Steven Miller (BMI)
Ultra International Music Publishing Canada


“Not Going Home”
Performed by DVBBS & CMC$ ft. Gia Koka
Alex Van Den Hoef
Chris Van Den Hoef
Natalia Koronowska (BUMA)
Yael Nahar (BUMA)

Performed by Zedd & Alessia Cara
Alessia Cara
Sarah Aarons (APRA)
Anders Froen (TONO)
Jonnali Parmenius (STIM)
Linus Wiklund (STIM)
Anton Zaslavski (ASCAP)
Sony/ATV Music Publishing


The Truth is in the Stars
Michael Vuscan
Not with his Wife
Michael Nielson
ROP Musique
MRD – Music Revenue Data