You are here

Dorothy Shoemaker Awards Songwriting Contest

The 2021 Dorothy Shoemaker Songwriting Contest opens on December 1, 2021 and ends on December 31, 2021 at 11:59 pm. Entry is free, with $4,000 in prize money available to be won.

  • Top Prize: $2000.
  • The winner will also receive a free professional recording session with Songwriting judge Ian Smith.

There are four (4) Runner-Up Prizes, in the following categories:

  • Best Beat: $500
  • Best Instrumental: $500
  • Best Lyrics: $500
  • Best Youth (under 18) Prize: $500

The contest is available to individuals living in Southwestern Ontario. Please read the contest Rules and Guidelines before entering.

Rules & Guidelines

  1. The Songwriting Contest is open to all residents of Southwestern Ontario.
  2. The 2021 contest officially opens December 1st, 2021. The deadline for entries is December 31st, 2021 at 11:59 pm. The number of entries we can accept is limited, so enter early!
  3. Judge’s decisions are final and there will be no correspondence between the judge and the entrants regarding any submissions.
  4. Professional musicians are not eligible.
  5. Prize money will be awarded to the Songwriter.  Musicians featured in the work do not have any claim on prize money.
  6. Applicants may submit as an individual and/or as a group for a total of two (2) submissions.
  7. Songs must be original work and all music and sound effects must be royalty-free or original.
  8. Songs cannot exceed five (5) minutes in length.
  9. All songwriting entries must be submitted as MP3 files, no greater than 15 MB in size.
  10. Winning entries may be posted on KPL’s public channels so obscenities or offensive language should be kept to a minimum.
  11. By entering the contest, the author/creator is granting permission for their song to be used by Kitchener Public Library for publication and/or promotional purposes.
  12. Entries submitted in a language other than English may be asked to provide a translation.
  13. Winners will be notified in March 2022.

Questions about the contest? See our Frequently Asked Questions for additional information.

About our Judge

Photograph of Ian Smith

Ian Smith is an internationally recognized songwriter and producer based in Kitchener, Ontario. He has spearheaded and collaborated on numerous projects, both in Canada and abroad, with songs published by EMI (Canada), Peer Music (L.A. and Spain), Audio Freaks (U.K.), Elements (Finland), and Scandinavian Songs (Sweden).

Beginning with his early work in the successful Canadian band The Miniatures, Smith was eager to expand his musical prowess and formed a new trio called Spirits, with an electro-pop infused catalogue.  Spirits produced their 2009 self-titled album for Sonic Unyon Records, and went on to tour high-profile global shows with The Pixies, Happy Mondays, and The Psychedelic Furs.

Smith’s songwriting pedigree includes collaborations with top charted artists such as Simon Wilcox (Nick Jonas, Britney Spears), Tim Laws (Gabrielle), Rob Wells (Katy Perry), Todd Clark (Keith Urban), Stephen Kozmeniuk (Kendrick Lamar), American Idol finalist Casey Abrams, The Recklaws and Canadian synth-pop group Trust (Arts & Crafts Records).

Through reputation, years of networking in music hubs such as Nashville, Los Angeles, Toronto, London and building lasting relationships in the Canadian music scene, Smith got involved in a host of exciting projects, such as The Hippy Mafia, as well as collaborating with Marc Costanzo of the band Len. He eventually forged a long-term association with Toronto-based publisher Cymba Music.

Ian’s musical sensibilities are consistently current, cutting-edge and exciting. His ability to draw from a wide sonic palette, while maintaining a melodic foundation, led to collaborations with several major-label signed international artists, including Paula Rojo on her debut single in English, “Good To Be Bad.” Smith’s range and ability also influenced Swedish alt-pop outfit Violet Days, Britain’s Got Talent finalist Ryan O’Shaughnessy, and rising Canadian folk-pop artist Jonathan Roy.

Whether he is co-writing with an established hit maker or producing an up-and-coming new artist at his home studio, affectionately known as The White House, there is an unmistakable sound to everything Ian Smith does and a special care for detail in his craft.  Smith’s work is rooted in an insatiable quest to create meaningful studio experiences and music able to stand the test of time.

PDF icon2021 Songwriting Contest Rubric