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SALLY COLE: Music P.E.I. Canadian Songwriters Challenge April 28-29

Rachel Beck, Teresa Doyle and Logan Richards represent P.E.I., concert May 1 at The Guild

When Logan Richard received an email inviting him to hone his songwriting craft at the Music P.E.I. Canadian Songwriters Challenge in Charlottetown on April 28-29, the Stratford musician was thrilled.

“There are so many talented songwriters and musicians in the challenge this year that to be among them is amazing,” says the ECMA-nominated artist who is up for blues recording of the year for his album, “The Split 2.0”.

For the challenge, Richard will be paired with Nuela Charles, a Juno Award-nominated singer-songwriter from Alberta.

“I’m feeling pretty humble. I’m really looking forward to learning from her.”

As he prepares for the co-writing sessions that will take place at a Charlottetown location on Sunday and Monday he’s doing “a lot of listening”.

Richard is also trying hard not to think about it.

“It’s interesting going into a room with someone for two days and being asked to write two songs. If you think about it too much you can get stuck in your own head. And that doesn’t help.”

So, he’s trying to remain cool about the whole thing.

“I’m looking forward to going in with a blank canvas,” he laughs.

P.E.I. singer-songwriter Rachel Beck is also looking forward the sessions.

After participating in the Music P.E.I. Canadian Songwriters Challenge in 2017, she’s excited about the potential outcome of the event.

That year she was matched with Jordan Alexander from Toronto.

“It was our first-time meeting and one of my first times co-writing. It was fun and, true to its name, it was challenging because we met at 9 a.m. and started writing about 10 minutes later.”

That song, “Hearts on Fire”, ended up on Beck’s solo album.

“It’s one of my favourite songs on the record, and we wrote it together. So, it was wonderful to strike gold.”

This time she will be matched with Tessa Gooden, who is from Toronto.

“She seems really wonderful. We did a phone call earlier this week to get to know each other before we get together (this evening). We’ll start writing Sunday.”

As she prepares for the sessions, she’s keeping an open mind.

“I actually have a few half-written songs for my new record. So, I’m hoping we can tackle one of these. But I’m open to whatever happens,” says Beck who is nominated for pop recording of the year and rising star at the 2019 ECMAs.

The public is invited to see the results of Music P.E.I.’s Canadian Songwriters Challenge at the Canadian Songsmith Sessions set for May 1 at the Guild in Charlottetown, 7-10 p.m.

Just the facts

-As part of Music P.E.I.'s Canadian Songwriter Challenge, 12 songwriters from across Canada have been chosen to collaborate on new songs and demos during this year’s Canadian Song Conference, a special partnership with 2019 ECMA.

- The performers in the 2019 Canadian Songsmith Sessions include Brittany McQuinn (Music N.B.), Chris Ryan (Music N.L.), Dave Sampson (Music N.S.), Greyson Gritt of Quantum Tangle (MFM Northern Ontario), Logan Richard (Music P.E.I.), Madison Olds (Music B.C.), Mike Harmel of Government Town (Saskatchewan Music), Nuela Charles (Alberta Music), Rachel Beck (Music P.E.I.), Sierra Noble (Manitoba Music), Teresa Doyle (Music P.E.I.) and
Tessa Gooden (Music Ontario).

Sally Cole is an entertainment writer with The Guardian. She welcomes comments about her column as well as suggestions for future columns from readers. She may be reached at or by phone at 902-629-6000, ext. 6054.

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