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Dorothy Shoemaker Awards Songwriting Contest

"Thank you to all of the participants and those who have submitted. I understand, from a very personal space, how much of yourself is required to create and develop an artistic piece of work. It takes insurmountable courage to be vulnerable and show yourself. I commend you all for exposing pieces of your true artistic human self."
-- Ian Smith, Songwriting Judge, 2021 Dorothy Shoemaker Awards


Skin + Bone

Nardos Felefele | Winner: Best Song

There is a truth and honesty between the melodic spaces of 'Skin + Bone'. With honesty and innocence 'Skin + Bone' creates thought provoking trust and strength with the listener. The story that unfolds with 'Skin + Bone' creates a warmth that is undeniable.

-- Ian Smith, Songwriting Judge, 2021 Dorothy Shoemaker Awards

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.


Kitchener Waterloo Community Foundation logo

Kitchener Public Library thanks the Kitchener Waterloo Community Foundation for their ongoing financial support of this long-running contest.