Jazz vocalist Ori Dagan’s song “Going That Counts (For Ella)” is one of the grand prize winners in this year’s John Lennon Songwriting Contest.

Written by the Toronto-based singer-songwriter, the song is a heartfelt tribute to Ella Fitzgerald. Its lyrics and soulful melody pay homage to the jazz legend’s extraordinary journey and her dedication to her craft. The song appears on Dagan’s 2022 album Click Right Here.

“The song … was inspired by my heroine Ella Fitzgerald, who was quoted as saying, ‘It isn’t where you come from, it’s where you’re going that counts,’” Dagan says. “Ella’s rare gift and her dedication to it set her apart from all other singers. It feels so special for me to be recognized with this John Lennon Songwriting Award for this particular song because it feels like I am honouring Ella, and that feels right. She truly is the reason I sing this music.”

“Going That Counts” won the grand prize for jazz in the John Lennon Songwriting Contest. There were 12 grand prize winners in total. It remains in competition for the Lennon Award, which will be determined by a public vote in the spring of 2024.

Last year, JAZZ.FM91’s own Jaymz Bee won the same award for his composition “Nails.”