The Nova Scotia Songwriter Challenge


This year, the timing seemed right to try something different for songcamp… the world of popular music is being driven by “track” recordings right now, and our Songcampers have been developing their expertise in this area. Corey Lerue, in particular, has driven this direction with Songcamp in the last three years based on his skill and work ethic while at Songcamp and his success and dedication to ongoing collaboration outside of Songcamp.

The experiment was a tremendous success which resulted in over 30 recordings of songs written from July 9 to 14 in Ingonish NS, and ongoing collaborations among participants that is already taking place. We brought in three very successful track producers who have multiple international hits to their credit.

Our five leaders and four second year songwriters attended as did late addition Dave Sampson (replacement for Ria Mae.) In attendance as usual were four leaders responsible for business sessions, meetings and catering. Session times were lengthened this year to allow for the recording aspect of the process. All writers did two collaborative sessions a day over the three and a working days of Songcamp and some also chose to write during the evenings.

Participants (2017)


  • Gordie Sampson: guitarist, singer/songwriter (Big Pond)
  • Steven MacDougall: singer, songwriter (Halifax)
  • Carleton Stone: musician, songwriter (Halifax)
  • Dylan Guthro: singer/songwriter (Halifax)
  • Breagh Mackinnon: singer/songwriter (Cape Breton)
  • Sam Ellis: writer/producer (Nashville)
  • Tawgs Salter: writer/producer (Toronto)
  • Andrew Austin writer/producer (Toronto)


  • Laurenn Marchand
  • Quake Matthews
  • Jordan Musycyn
  • Kayleigh O’Connor
  • Corey Larue

CLICK HERE for the 2016 edition of the Canadian Songwriting Challenge!

Gallery (2017)

Recorded Songs from Challenge (2017)