The 2015 ATB Financial All-Albertan Song Contest was our closest one ever.
The overall quality of entries was at an all-time high and fan voting was extremely tight. That left our panel of judges with a very difficult decision. Which of the top six finalists put together the best song about Alberta?
In the end, Motherland by Colleen Brown and Scenic Route to Alaska was picked as the champ. The talented artists from Edmonton will share the top prize of $10,000 from ATB. Motherland’s haunting lyrics and beautiful arrangement pushed it over the top. It’s the first time an artist from somewhere other than Calgary has claimed the All-Albertan Song Contest.
Brown, also a finalist in the first All-Albertan Song Contest in 2010, was shocked when she heard the news while cat-sitting for a friend in Toronto.
"I was listening to CKUA on my phone and I did not think we would win. I was really floored," says Brown, who just wrapped up a Canada-wide tour. "The six finalists' songs were all amazing."
Brown, originally from Lloydminster, came up with the idea for the song while on tour in Europe this past spring. She had just learned that Rachel Notley's NDP had just swept to power in the provincial election.
"I was in a cafe in Linz, Austria, when I heard the news," says Brown. "I was shocked and surprised and so excited when I found that out. My heart was bursting. I was surrounded by a bunch of Austrian bachelors who had no idea what was going on in Alberta and probably didn't care. I started crying and was just really moved. I felt like something had shifted, maybe not just in Alberta. I went back to my room and immediately wrote the song."
The song was recorded with Scenic Route to Alaska, a popular Edmonton-based trio. Brown met the group at a show in the U.K. and soon after they decided to collaborate.
"We were inspired by each other musically and felt like it was a really good match," says Brown. "We recorded that song and were really inspired to do more songs together."
Motherland will be featured on a yet-to-be named upcoming album. The song itself touches on a familiar theme: feeling homesick for Alberta while on the road.
"I had a really strong yearning to be back in Alberta and celebrating with people," adds Brown. "I can't say I thought about the lyrics a lot, they just poured out of me in that moment. It came from a feeling of pride for my home province and of oneness."
Brock Tyler’s You Can Dance In Alberta! earned second place honours and $3,000 from ATB. Tyler earned the most number of combined votes, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and CD Baby downloads. It’s the second year in a row Tyler has placed in the All-Albertan Song Contest. In 2014, Tyler finished third with Louise Caroline Alberta.
And in third place, Drew Hubka earned $2,000 from ATB with Dusty Roads and Oversize Loads, completing an Edmonton sweep of the top three spots.
ATB is also adding a new twist to the contest. Since the songs were so closely matched and since all six artists did such a great job promoting their songs on social media (resulting in a 35 per cent jump in voting totals), we’ve decided to give the remaining finalists (Carrie Day, Joe Nolan and Heather Blush & the Uppercuts) $500 each as honourable mentions.
Thanks to everyone who entered, listened and voted in this year’s contest. And stay tuned for a special concert announcement involving our winners.
2015 All-Albertan Song Contest Rules
1. Entrants must be Albertan and living in Alberta at the time of entry.
2. Entrants will record and submit an original, new, non-released song about Alberta. The song must be written and performed by the entrant.
3. Entrants will submit the song in a commonly used electronic audio format (i.e.: MP3), or on a CD.
4. Entrants will submit a legible lyrics sheet.
5. Entrants will submit a photo of themselves.
6. Entrants will submit contact information in a separate document, including song title, home phone number and e-mail address; that information won’t be disclosed to parties outside the contest.
7. Audio files of each song entered will up uploaded to the wearealberta Sound Cloud account for the duration of the contest.
8. Entrants can not be employees, or family members of employees, or board representatives, or family members of board representatives, of ATB Financial, the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, CKUA Radio, or Alberta Music.
9. The winning entrant:
a. Receives $10,000 from ATB Financial
b. Is free to negotiate for and decide on any further uses of the song, and retains its copyright
c. Agrees to be photographed and interviewed for a story on the ATB Financial community website wearealberta.ca
d. Agrees to perform a live concert for ATB Financial for an additional talent fee at to-be-determined date and location (within Alberta)
10. The second-place entrant receives $3,000 in cash from ATB Financial.
11. The third-place entrant receives $2,000 in cash from ATB Financial.
12. *Entries will be accepted through the entry form found on this page or through conventional mail to:
21st FL 10020 - 100 Street
13. Entrants’ materials will not be returned. Due to logistical considerations, the contest administrator will not be able to guarantee acknowledgment that an entry has been received.
14. Deadline for entries is 12:00 pm, September 4, 2015.
15. From the pool of entries, a short-list of three to six entries will be chosen from a panel of judges from Alberta Music, CKUA and ATB Financial.
16. The short-listed entries – both song and lyrics – will be posted on ATB Financial’s community website wearealberta.ca. The short-listed entries will also be made available for download on the website CD Baby. Proceeds from each download will be donated to the charity of ATB’s choice. Entrants agree to this, without qualification.
17. Albertans will be invited to vote on ATB Financial’s Facebook page, Twitter and Instagram for their favourite entry from the short-list. Each “like” on Facebook and Instagram and each “favourite” on Twitter count as one vote. Each song download on CD Baby counts as 10 votes.
18. The winning entries – first place, second place and third place – will be chosen from a combination of public voting and a final round of judging.
19. The first-place winner will be revealed live on CKUA radio on October 2, 2015.
20. ATB Financial and CKUA assume that all entrants – by their submission of songs for this contest – agree to these rules.
*Entry submission details to be updated – check back for further details.