Canadian Musician


Manitoba’s Faouzia Wins Grand Prize in Unsigned Only Music Competition

September 7th, 2017

FaouziaThe winners of the U.S.-based Unsigned Only Music Competition were announced yesterday and the grand prize winner was 17-year-old Canadian artist Faouzia. Selected from 6,000 entries from almost 100 countries, the winners share in over $150,000 in cash and prizes split among 28 winners. Unsigned Only is open to all artists who are unsigned to a major record label.

All entries are narrowed down to a group of finalists that are given to the panel of judges whose task is to select the winners. The panel is comprised of renowned recording artists, music journalists, and music supervisors, including such celebrities as: Aimee Mann, MercyMe, The Killers, O.A.R., Phantogram, Montgomery Gentry, David Crowder, Delbert McClinton, and many more.

In all, 31 wins were garnered by Canadian artists in this year’s competition, including the overall grand prize winner, three first place wins, two second place wins, and 26 honorable mentions.

The overall 2017 grand prize is awarded to Morocco-born, Manitoba-raised artist Faouzia. This is the first time a teen has won the overall Grand Prize since the competition launched six years ago and the second time a Canadian has taken home this honor (Wes Mack won the Grand Prize in 2013). Faouzia is also the First Place winner in the Teen category and is awarded a full scholarship to Berklee College of Music’s five-week Summer Performance program as one of the prizes for winning this category.

Faouzia’s song “Knock On My Door” was the overwhelming favourite with the judges who were enamored with her vocal prowess and original pop sensibility. In addition to winning $20,000 in cash (US) and much more in prizes, Faouzia also receives one-on-one mentoring from a group of upper echelon music industry executives from Atlantic, Razor & Tie, Sony Music Nashville, Island, and more.

“I am so thankful for this opportunity and the doors that it will open in the future,” says Faouzia. “Receiving approbation in such a prestigious competition brings a sense of honour and happiness that can’t fully be put into words. This only pushes me to work harder to achieve goals that seem unattainable but can be achieved with perseverance.”

Born in Morocco and raised in the rural town of Carman, MB, Canada, Faouzia may be a new artist on the scene, but she is astounding audiences and critics alike. Growing up in a French and Arabic-speaking household, Faouzia started making music at a very young age in the basement of her home and then graduated to singing covers and putting them on YouTube (her cover of Adele’s “Hello” is impressive). Putting her poetry to music was the next step, and her original songs began to take form. Her extreme vocal range and tone, coupled with songwriting that is mature, commanding, and inventive, is positioning her as a pop powerhouse. She is currently working on her debut EP which will be released soon.

“If there is one thing that we have learned over the years it’s that there is such an incredible wealth of talent in the world,” said Founders/Directors Candace Avery and Jim Morgan. “This is best highlighted by this year’s Grand Prize winner, Faouzia, who at only 17 years old is one of the most stunning vocalists and artists that we have come across in a long time. This is just the beginning of what is to come for this young, talented artist, and we are very excited to be a part of her journey.”

2017 judges include: Aaron Shust; Aimee Mann; David Crowder; Delbert McClinton; Excision; Frank Foster; Jack Ingram; Lucero; Lydia Loveless; Melanie Fiona; MercyMe; Montgomery Gentry; O.A.R.; Phantogram; The Killers; Kyle Anderson (Senior Writer, Entertainment Weekly); Josh Jackson (Co-Founder and Editor-In-Chief, Paste Magazine); Anthony DeCurtis (Contributing Editor, Rolling Stone); Zach Long (Associate Editor, Time Out Chicago); Caine O’Rear (Editor-In-Chief, American Songwriter); Michael Molenda (Editor-In-Chief, Guitar Player); Lyndsey Parker (Managing Editor, Yahoo Music); Jed Gottlieb (Music & Theater Writer, Boston Herald); Kevin McNeese (President, NewReleaseToday); Suzanne Cadgene (Publisher, Elmore Magazine); Sarah Jones (Editor, Electronic Musician Magazine); and many more.

Mentors include: Pete Ganbarg (Executive VP/Head of A&R, Atlantic Records); Nick Haussling (Sr. Director of A&R, Razor & Tie); Taylor Lindsey (Sr. Director, A&R, Sony Music Nashville); Jeffrey Sledge (VP of A&R, Atlantic Records); Matt D’Arduini (VP of A&R, Island Records); Kim Stephens (President, Forward Entertainment); and Riggs Morales (VP A&R & Artist Development, Atlantic Records).

Unsigned Only is sponsored by: Berklee College Of Music; Celebrity Access; D’Addario; D’Angelico Guitars; Disc Makers; Eventide; Eventric; Groove 3; Lurssen Mastering; Magix; Merch Cat; Musicians Institute; PRA Audio Systems; Radio Airplay; Shure; Symphonic Distribution; The Music Business Registry; Valve Industries; and VOX.

Submissions for the 2018 competition are currently open. For more information, go to

Canadian winners include:

Grand Prize

Faouzia (Carman, MB, Canada) – “Knock On My Door” – Teen

First Place

Faouzia (Carman, MB, Canada) – “Knock On My Door” – Teen

Big Little Lions (Royston, BC, Canada) – “In The Quieter Times” – Screen Shot

Jordan St. Cyr (Niverville, MB, Canada) – “In My Lifetime” – Christian

Second Place

Dale Boyle (Montreal, QC, Canada) – “Gasoline” – Americana

Matt Epp (Owen Sound, ON, Canada) – The Sound” – AC (Adult Contemporary)

Honorable Mention

Benjamin Dakota Rogers (Brantford, ON, Canada) – “The Soldier Song” – Folk/Singer-Songwriter

Big Little Lions (Royston, BC, Canada) – “Against The Wall” – Americana

Big Little Lions (Royston, BC, Canada) – “Better Than This” – Folk/Singer-Songwriter

Brad Saunders (Glovertown, NL, Canada) – “Cut To The Chase” – Country

BRAVERY (Vancouver, BC, Canada) – “Sparkles” – AAA (Adult Album Alternative)

Brock Zeman (Carleton Place, ON, Canada) – “Drinks (The Clown) ” – Folk/Singer-Songwriter

Colleen Brown And Major Love (Edmonton, AB, Canada) – “I Love All Of You” – AC (Adult Contemporary)

David Blair (Vancouver, BC, Canada) – “What Am I Worried About” – AAA (Adult Album Alternative)

Janet Cull’s In The Red (St John’s, NL, Canada) – “Mommy’s Boy” – Vocal Performance

Jayde Taylor (Port Hope, ON, Canada) – “Hurts Like Hell” – Screen Shot

Jordan St. Cyr (Niverville, MB, Canada) – “Victory” – Christian

K Montana (Vancouver, BC, Canada) – “Dancing” – R&B/Hip-Hop

Lisa Nicole (Castlegar, BC, Canada) – “Mad About It” – Country

LITEYEARS (Toronto, ON, Canada) – “Zeitgeist” – Screen Shot

Luke Nicholson (Toronto, ON, Canada) – “Long May He Reign” – Americana

Matt Epp (Owen Sound, ON, Canada) – “The Sound” – Folk/Singer-Songwriter

Mikalyn Hay (Guelph, ON, Canada) – “Pins And Needles” – Teen

Nate Hall (Waterloo, ON, Canada) – “Holiday” – Pop/Top 40

North Easton (Rockland, ON, Canada) – “Love Like That” – AAA (Adult Album Alternative)

Powell Peebles (Vancouver, BC, Canada) – “So Far So Good” – Country

Quinton Cochran (Toronto, ON, Canada) – “Don’t Need A Reason” – Teen

The New Electric (Calgary, AB, Canada) – “Ride This Feeling” – Pop/Top 40

The Small Glories (Winnipeg, MB, Canada) – “No Friend Of Mine” – Americana

Trevor Panczak (Lethbridge, AB, Canada) – “For A Girl” – Country

Tyler Simmons (Toronto, ON, Canada) – “I’m Already Falling” – Teen

Wes Mason (Rockwood, ON, Canada) – “Worth It” – Screen Shot

For more information and to view the list of all winners, including Honorable Mentions, go to


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