Emily Steinwall wins 2022 SOCAN Songwriting Prize for Welcome to the Garden

Emily Steinwall’s Welcome to the Garden is the winner of the 2022 SOCAN Songwriting Prize.

Written and performed by Steinwall, the 10-minute psychedelic jazz-rock odyssey was declared the winner by a public vote.

Steinwall receives a $5,000 cash prize, a Yamaha Workstation, and a $500 gift card from Long & McQuade to support her creative process and songwriting journey.

“Congratulations to Emily Steinwall,” said Jennifer Brown, CEO of SOCAN. “Her talent as a songwriter is clear in Welcome to the Garden. It has an emotional depth rarely seen this early in a career.”

The song is the title track of Steinwall’s 2021 debut album.

Steinwall has been gaining attention as an emerging composer, saxophone player, flautist and bandleader in Toronto. This is her first foray into songwriting, and she’s already been rewarded by fans and critics.

“There’s so much to love about Welcome to the Garden, and not just because it’s 10 minutes long,” said music journalist Matt Bobkin. “The daring blend of jazz, psych, and progressive rock; the lush arrangements, mirroring lyrics that praise the power of womanhood, community, and nature; and the many stellar performances, from the vocals to the climactic sax solo. It pushes forward plenty of ideas, narratives, and sounds that are too often ignored or pigeonholed in popular music, and it’s amazing to think that this is only the beginning for a visionary like Emily.”

Steinwall participated in JAZZ.FM91’s Jazzology program in 2016 and won the Mary Alice Stuart Scholarship in 2017.

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The SOCAN Songwriting Prize is the only major songwriting award in Canada where fans vote to determine the winner. Ten outstanding songs created by Canadian songwriters over the past year are nominated by a panel of 15 experts in the music industry. The public is then invited to vote once a day for their favourite song for one week to determine the winner.

The other nine nominated songwriters will receive cash prizes of $500 along with a $50 gift card from Long & McQuade.

The winner of the Prix de la chanson SOCAN, the award’s French-language counterpart, was Hubert Lenoir’s Secret, written by Hubert Chiasson, Félix Petit and Julien Chiasson.

See the full list of 2022 SOCAN Songwriting Prize nominees here.