Alberta musician snags $20,000 national songwriting prize

An Edmonton musician has snagged a national music prize.

Josh Sahunta is the grand prize winner of Corus’ national Summer Song Contest.

The singer/songwriter wrote the song specifically for the contest, which called on Canadian singers, bands and musicians to send in their original song for a chance to take home $20,000.

Sahunta said his original song was a bit of a cheeky take on the unusual summer Canadians have experienced due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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“It’s been a bit of an odd year. I didn’t want to write a song that was talking about traveling or the typical things you would do in the summer,” he said. “I tried to write a song that’s relevant to the world right now.”

Lyrics include “20/20 eyesight wasn’t what I thought it ever would’ve looked like” and “this summer really was a surprise”.

Read more: Edmonton’s Ruth B pens song in support of BLM movement

Sahunta said it’s been a tough time as a musician during the pandemic, which forced him to put plans for a U.K. tour on hold. He said the prize came at the perfect time.

“This has been incredibly helpful for my career. Especially right now, it’s been hard to find work as someone whose livelihood depends on performing live. Something like this is a really nice boost in a time when it’s really uncertain what the future looks like for music.”

Sahunta was selected as contest winner out of nearly 2,000 applications.

“It’s super flattering,” he said. “I was shocked when I got the phone call … I thought ‘Really? Am I dreaming?’ I could not have expected this.”

Sahunta hopes the award translates into more attention on his music.

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“I’m doing some recording projects with Warner Music. We’re trying to hire some really big name co-writers. Being able to fund that now is going to be a possibility. It’s nice to have the ability to do that and not worry so much about it.”

Read more: Homegrown talent working to put Edmonton on the movie map

As for what’s next?

“Well, it really depends on what’s next in the world in general. I am doing some big recording projects right now … as soon as it’s safe to travel again I’ll probably do that U.K. tour.”

The fan favourite winner as voted on by the public goes to Toronto band Growers.

You can watch the top ten videos here.

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© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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