Lyric Writing Competition – Lyric Submissions Wanted!

Lyric Writing Competition

Songwriting Competition Series Part 1/3

Lyric Submissions Wanted!

Calling all creative writers and part-time poets. 

In celebration of MacEwan’s legacy of artistic collaboration, Bent River Records is offering an opportunity to have your work recorded. The contest was conceived as a way to honour the generous and ongoing contribution of one of the label’s major donors, Dr. Craig Monk, the Provost & Vice-President, Academic at MacEwan University. 

DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSIONS: 4:00 pm MST on October 6th, 2023


ABOUT THE COMPETITION: This contest is open to all currently enrolled MacEwan Students; no music background necessary! We are looking for your best song lyrics. We ask that you keep it under 350 words, maximum of two submissions per person.

The theme for this competition is “Gratitude” – please use this theme as inspiration for your lyrics. Adherence to the theme will be one of the considerations for adjudication.

If your work is selected, it will then be paired with an original composition done by a fellow student in the Music Department. The winner will be announced on the Bent River Records website and contacted individually. Composers stay tuned! We will be announcing the composition competition soon.

PRIZE: $750.00 honorarium 

FORMAT: Entries must be in PDF format, up to 350 words. 

*Please do not put any personal information on the PDF in order to maintain anonymity.

TERMS & CONDITIONS: The author will retain all intellectual property rights, with BRR having the right to print a limited run of vinyl and CDs, for promotional purposes only.

Adjudication will be completed by a panel of jurors selected by BRR, and will contain members of the Faculty of Fine Arts and Communication and representatives of BRR. The anonymity of entrants will be maintained; judges will not know the identity of the writers they are evaluating until after adjudication is complete.

Bent River Records values, promotes and prioritizes diversity, equity and inclusion in all of its work. We recognize the systemic barriers that have led to many artists being underrepresented and will continue to do work to amplify and uplift voices that reflect Edmonton’s diverse communities. We are committed to fostering an inclusive culture that represents diverse backgrounds.

Please contact if you have any questions.

TO ENTER: Please click here to submit your entry.

Send us your submission before the deadline of 4pm on October 6th, 2023. 


Welcome Suzuanne!

Welcome to Suzuanne Burwash, the new BRR “Level Up” summer student. Suzuanne is going into her final year of Design studies at MacEwan. She has the unique distinction of having won two Brent River Record Cover competitions. Her first for Ester Forseth’s “Preacher’s Daughter” (to be released in early 2024) and the second, Jim Walker’s Pipe Dreams with the MacEwan Generations Big Band (to be released in 2024).

Suzuanne returned to school after covid times provided her with the opportunity to reflect and reevaluate her passions. With a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts degree and a certificate in Arts and Cultural management, Suzuanne continues her interest in life long learning by immersing herself in new experiences with new people at MacEwan and the Bent River Records team.

Although admittedly tone deaf, Suzuanne makes up for her audio short comings with her visual communication abilities. She is an average ability road biker, an off and on wanna be trail runner, a one day I’ll learn how to swim swimmer and a mother of 2 children who tell her all the time she is not cool. Her most notable feature is probably her appetite. You can usually find her snacking.

Congratulations, Grads!

Congratulations to the nearly 2,200 MacEwan 2023 graduates! Special shout-out to Gladwyn Badger, who joined the Bent River Records team as an intern in September 2021 and stayed on as an associate until he graduated in Spring 2023. Find out more about Gladwyn and other grads from the Faculty of Fine Arts and Communications, including Reinette Schabert who helped out with recording on many BRR sessions, here:

Getting to Know Esther Forseth

Esther Forseth is the winner of Bent River Records 2021 Art-Songwriting Competition. She is in her fourth year of the MacEwan Music Program, minoring in Songwriting. Esther is passionate about music and songwriting and is thankful MacEwan has recently started offering songwriting as a minor.

Esther’s art-song lyrics for, “Preacher’s Daughter”, were selected as the winner of the Songwriting Competition. The lyrics originally started as a journal entry/poem. Esther wrote this poem as a metaphor for the pressures and expectations she faced growing up in a religious home and being the daughter of a preacher. She grew up in a Christian family feeling religion can make us see things as black or white, and rigid, which causes us to lose out on elements of love and other good things. A few times in her life, Esther felt suffocated by external pressures and rules, which affected choices she made. “Preacher’s Daughter” allows Esther to express her spiritual side and share her wish for greater freedom.

Esther says this competition has provided her with the incredible opportunity to put herself out in the music and songwriting industry. She is thankful that Bent River Records has this competition for MacEwan students. Esther claims it would take around a million streams on the Internet to make the amount of money awarded to the winner of this competition. After sitting out of the competition in prior years, Esther convinced herself she had nothing to lose by entering “Preacher’s Daughter” in the competition. She was feeling discouraged before the competition, but having her lyrics chosen as the winner has encouraged her to continue writing songs. Esther claims she is grateful and honoured to have won. 

According to Esther, recording “Preacher’s Daughter” was one of the coolest moments in her life.  Joel Toews arranged a composition with a string quartet for Esther’s song. Esther had the opportunity to sing and record her song live with the string quartet while playing guitar. She says having this spooky haunting world created by the string quartet was an incredible experience. Esther has enjoyed watching her small thought turn into something pretty big that might resonate with others. 

Esther’s parents and siblings are musicians, so she grew up in a house full of music. Esther became obsessed with listening to music and used music to help her get through difficult times in life. Throughout her life, Esther has been part of a percussion ensemble, played guitar, played saxophone in a band, and sang in church with her dad. After high school, Esther decided to enroll at MacEwan University and begin vocal training. Esther knew music was an essential part of her life, but it wasn’t until she came to MacEwan and started writing songs that she knew songwriting is what she is meant to do.

Esther encourages other students who want to write their own songs to just do it! She believes it is important to practice writing songs and then learn from your mistakes. Esther says you cannot expect to be really good at first. The more songs you write the better you will get!

Artist Connections with Jim Head

Jim Head is the first artist to participate in this fun interview where artists on the BRR label cross-promote each other’s projects by analyzing an album from another artist(s) of their choice while providing insight into what it is like working with Bent River Records!

Could you tell us about the Bent River Records album you chose? What stood out, or what did you like about the album?
The record I chose was Mosàfer by Farhad Khosravi. The rich texture and rhythmic energy of the album stood out for me.

How do your musical influences affect the way you appreciate this album?
I’m interested in rhythm, I’ve listened to a lot of music that incorporates odd or mixed meters, so that is something I find interesting in the music on this album. I’ve also been interested in music that draws inspiration from folk traditions.

What is your favourite song on the album, and why?
“Day of Creation” is a track that stands out for me. A rich composition that unfolds beautifully. I love the interplay between the melody and the counter melody, the vibrant rhythmic atmosphere. 

How would you describe your musical taste?
I guess I would describe my musical tastes as very eclectic. I listen to a very wide range of music.

Can you share your thoughts on what it’s been like working with Bent River Records?
The Bent River team has been wonderful to work with. They always put artists needs and concerns first.