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Canadians Matt Epp and Faouzia Win the Grand Prize in the US-Based International Songwriting Competition (ISC)

Canadians Matt Epp and Faouzia Win the Grand Prize
in the US-Based International Songwriting Competition (ISC)

Judges Include Chris Cornell, Tom Waits, Ziggy Marley, Bastille, Hardwell,
Joe Bonamassa, Martie Maguire (Dixie Chicks), and More

May 18, 2017 -- The International Songwriting Competition (ISC) is pleased to announce its 2016 winners. Now in its 16th year, ISC is the world’s largest international songwriting competition, receiving more than 16,000 entries from 137 countries throughout the world. More than $150,000 in cash and merchandise is awarded to 71 winners in 23 categories covering all genres of music.

For the first time in the history of the competition, the Grand Prize is awarded to Canadian songwriters. It is with great pleasure that ISC bestows its highest honor to Canadian troubador Matt Epp and Morocco-born Manitoba-raised 16-year old phenom Faouzia for their co-written song “The Sound Ft. Faouzia.” The Grand Prize winners take home $25,000 in cash (USD) and over $45,000 in additional prizes.

The song is a duet and is the perfect synergy between the seasoned songwriter Epp and the up-and-coming young artist Faouzia. It showcases the talents of each songwriter and singer, interweaving the yin and yang of Epp’s stark, tender vocals with Faouzia’s soaring delivery.

The collaboration came about while Epp was on tour in Germany and received an email from his infant daughter, who he had been writing to since she was a newborn. The unexpected email from her read "What sound does a longing heart make?” In a hotel bathroom, he tearfully wrote the chorus of this song.

Fast forward a few months to when Epp was assigned to mentor a group of talented young performers; among the participants in the program was Faouzia. Perhaps unlikely kindred spirits, Epp and Faouzia formed a quick friendship, and they finished the song together. The song went to #1 on the CBC Radio 2 chart, and it recently earned the SOCAN No.1 Song Award in Canada based on its radio success.

Candace Avery, the Founder and Director of ISC, states, “Lyrically the song’s central theme of longing is universal, so everyone can relate to it. Combined with its haunting melody, the song’s vulnerability hits you to the core. This is the first time the Grand Prize has ever been given to Canadian songwriters, and we are very excited to be awarding our highest honor to these very talented artists.”

When Epp heard that they had won the Grand Prize, he said, "I've always felt that we songwriters receive songs, more than write them. I'm so grateful for this one to have chosen me and my very talented collaborator Faouzia, and especially to the ISC for this prestigious Grand Prize award!"

In addition to the Grand Prize winner, many other deserving songwriters also share in the prestige and kudos of winning their respective categories in ISC. These winners hail from all over the world (59% of this year’s winners come from outside the USA) and represent diverse cultures while ranging from talented amateurs to seasoned songwriting veterans. The 23 categories include all genres of contemporary music, from rock to pop to jazz to R&B/Hip-Hop and more.

For a complete list of ISC 2016 winners go to:

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