The 19-year-old beat out over 600 hopefuls to secure a $25,000 prize, as well as $10,000 worth of recording time at Metalworks Studios where he’s already started collaborating with acclaimed Canadian musical artists Chantal Kreviazuk, Stephan Moccio and Raine Maida (Our Lady Peace).
The nationwide competition called for lyrical prose that captured the Canadian spirit and Graham responded with a vision of an inclusive and diverse nation which won the judges’ hearts.
Graham’s song pays tribute to everyone from the “the busker who plays his heart out on the corner of the street” to “the old, retired veteran who pauses for a moment of silence.” His depiction of Canada includes a throat singer in Nunavut, a fisherman in the Maritimes, a trucker on the highway and a child who speaks out against racism and violence.
Graham began playing guitar when he was just 13-years-old and is no stranger to recognition. He won the Canadian Fingerstyle Guitar Championship in 2010, as well as the Calgary Stampede Talent Search and the Canadian Youth Talent competition, both in 2009.
Composer Stephan Moccio, who has written songs for stars like Céline Dion and Josh Groban, will incorporate at least one line from Graham’s submission into an original score.
“His poem celebrates the cultural mosaic that is Canada,” Moccio said in a statement. “He has captured the diversity of this country — something that we as a nation are renowned for and proud of.”
Graham was not the only young talent at the top of the songwriting competition. The runner-up, Catherine Brenan of Oakville, Ontario, is only 10-years-old. She and the third place winner, Vince Dixon of Sydney, Nova Scotia, will be awarded $2,500 and $1,000 respectively.
Graham’s song is available on iTunes and he will be performing it alongside Chantal Kreviazuk, Stephan Moccio and Raine Maida at The Canada’s Walk of Fame Awards Show, Sunday, October 23rd at 8:00pm on Global.
Our very own Taya Marquis performed at the 2011 Canada’s Walk of Fame Festival. Her backing band and team had many familiar faces including MWI grads Mikal Gonzales (Manager), Terence Lam (Keyboards) and Jules Lynch (Bass) as well as current students Sunny Chohan (Percussion), Jessy Aaron (Guitar) and Alexandra Soumalias (Musical Director). “Metalworks is a big part of me,” Marquis shared in a phone interview. “I’ll always feel a close connection to the school. Everything I learnt in the Entertainment Business Management program has helped me connect and grow my network in the music business which has led me to opportunities like this one”.
For more info about Canada’s Walk of Fame, please visit: http://www.canadaswalkoffame.com/