Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Victoria musician unexpectedly nabs spot in final round of annual global songwriting competition


This year has been hard for everyone, and especially hard for the music industry.

People have neither been able to perform nor go to a performance.

But one Victoria musician has turned it around.

Michael Wilford, drummer for a number of acts in the Victoria/Vancouver area, like Old Soul Rebel, and teacher at Victoria Conservatory of Music, as well as a graduate, has nabbed a spot in a global songwriting competition.

“I didn’t expect much when I dropped the $40 to enter the competition last September with my song,” said Wilford.

“It’s definitely legitimized my act as a kind-of solo performer.”

The song, ‘Scotch,’ is now getting airplay across the country on CBC and The World at Six.

The tune is a finalist in the People’s Voice section of the blues category of this year’s International Songwriting Competition.

The annual contest is open to artists around the world.

This year, features celebrity judges that include Chris Martin from Coldplay, pop star Dua Lipa, and prolific singer/songwriter Tom Waits.

“I don’t think Dua Lipa will be listening to the blues songs, but the fact that Tom Waits will — it’s wild — I don’t even know what to think,” said Wilford.

Finalists have been selected from 26,000 entries and the prize is $25,000.

People can go online to listen to the songs and vote for their favourite between now and midnight on April 7.

The Song

‘Scotch’ is a gritty bluesy song with soaring harmonies and a swampy lap slide lick.

Under Wilford’s direction, the song comprises a melting pot of musicians he plucks from other acts.

“The original riff for the song I entered in the competition was written on a cheap ten dollar guitar with the help of Joshua Litten,” said Wilford.

“And the latest mix you hear with lap slide guitar was written with Chris Lloyd — he really tied the song together.”

The song, Wilford said, reflects on three periods of change in his life.

“The first was leaving home to go to University, it makes me think of my Dad and how he always validated my choices to go to music school. The second is me in my last few weeks at University, after coming back from Canadian Music Week and setting off in this other direction beyond university. The third is the remix we did with the lap slide,” said Wilford.

“It feels like the song is complete now — it wasn’t always like that— but it does now.”

For those wanting more, Wilford said he will be going into the studio next month to record just that.

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