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Nashua musician wins songwriting competition

Bill Fee of Nashua, also known by his artist name Fee the Evolutionist, won first prize in the R&B/Hip Hop category at this year’s New England Songwriting Competition with his song “Ain’t No Love.” Visit to listen to it and the other winning songs.

What is the New England Songwriting Competition, and what made you decide to enter it this year?

It’s been around for more than 15 years. They have different judges every year, and they’re always accomplished musicians. Some of them are involved with really big names [in music] and have worked out at Nashville studios and have Grammy awards and accomplishments. It’s a different array of musicians from all different genres, which is great. This year, I think they had over 500 submissions. I submitted my song “Ain’t No Love” for the Best R&B/Hip Hop Song category. I wasn’t even [planning] to actually enter because I thought it was a shot in the dark, but at the last minute I said, ‘Let me just enter and see.’ I remember when I got the email; it came through a few weeks later and I thought, ‘Oh, man, well, I wonder what this is,’ and I had ended up winning in that category. I was super happy about that. It comes with a cash prize, which I used to put toward studio time, and I had already had studio time booked, so it was great that I was able to put that [prize] back into my music.

What is your background in music?

I’ve been involved in music forever. My whole family is involved in music; my brothers and sisters and grandparents all play instruments, so I’ve always been writing songs for as long as I could speak. I was scatting to the jazz music that my parents would play. My grandfather was in a big band where he played trumpet, and my brother Mark played piano and my brother Mike played drums. I love all different types of music. I was really passionate about poetry and hip-hop just [because of] the way that you could express yourself. I started getting involved in that and put a few records out in my teens and met up with a guy who produced Jay-Z. I was just getting involved right when he was able to get going, and I was able to see that whole thing take off. It was great being a part of that. That let me know that, hey, you can make a living doing this. If you work hard, you can be successful. I think that was the turning point for me and when I really got serious about it. Since then, I’ve just been writing songs. I have some songs licensed out to HBO, Amazon Prime, the NBA. It’s been fun.

What is your winning song about, and why did you choose to submit that one?

Because of everything happening in the world today and the polarization that you’re seeing with people financially, politically, spiritually, I really wanted to say something. I wanted to put it out there how I was feeling. It’s a song about social justice and inflation affecting the most vulnerable people in the community. … I wasn’t sure at first if I should enter that song, because it is kind of edgy and a little political, but it was an outlet to what I was seeing, and I want to be vocal and find ways to support my community.

What would you like people to take away from your song?

Even though it’s an edgy song, it’s got that meaning of hope in there, as well. I just want people to be conscious of how they’re treating each other and have some empathy and some compassion.

What’s next for you?

I have a bunch of shows coming up, and I have some projects that I’m recording. … I’m working with a live band. I’m working with a label out of Nashua called Hellhound Publishing, and we’re going to be releasing some projects.

What advice do you have for other songwriters?

Someone once gave me good advice. I didn’t take it until I got older because it’s hard to do, but it’s just a little piece of advice that’s easy to digest: write every day. Write a verse, even if it’s a small, little verse. Write every day, and you’ll get better, and if you love it and you’re passionate about it, you’ll get better.

Featured photo: Fee the Evolutionist. Courtesy photo.

News & Notes 22/08/25

Election prep

The New Hampshire Secretary of State’s Office will host training sessions for local election officials in preparation for the New Hampshire state primary election on Tuesday, Sept. 13. According to a press release, the sessions, open to moderators, clerks, selectmen, supervisors of the checklist and inspectors of election (ballot clerks), will provide a detailed overview of election law and the processes to be carried out by election officials before, during and after the state election. The sessions will be held in person in Atkinson, Campton, Colebrook, Conway, Gorham, Haverhill, Keene, Manchester, Newport, Portsmouth, Rindge and Wolfeboro, though on-demand training webinars will also be available for election officials who cannot attend the in-person sessions. Visit

The New Hampshire Secretary of State’s Office also announced that it will offer the Accessible Electronic Absentee Ballot system for the 2022 state primary, which will enable New Hampshire voters with print disabilities to securely request, receive and mark absentee ballots electronically from their own homes. According to a press release, “print disability” is defined as a physical disability that prevents a voter from marking a ballot or completing election forms using pen and paper. Voters using this system will then mail or deliver their marked absentee ballot to their town or city clerk; no votes will be sent or processed over the internet. Applications to use the system for the upcoming election can be downloaded at (Applicants are permitted to type their name for their signature on the application and email the completed application to their local clerk.)

Dept. of Ed news

The New Hampshire Department of Education is partnering with to provide 24/7, unlimited access to free online tutoring for every middle and high school student in the state to help students recover from missed learning due to the pandemic. According to a press release, more than 100,000 students attending New Hampshire public, private and charter schools as well as students enrolled in home education and Education Freedom Account programs will be able to use the service anytime, anywhere and from any internet-connected device. The tutoring is offered one-to-one for test preparation and homework help, with support available in multiple languages. Students can interact with their personal tutors through their preference of communication method, which may include two-way text or voice chat. All tutors recruited by are vetted and undergo background checks. “This tutoring will not only facilitate and enhance learning, but serve as a tremendous resource for students hoping to enhance their educational experience, or those students in need of individualized instruction,” New Hampshire Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut said in the release. “This partnership will also support teachers in their ongoing efforts to assist students who may be struggling and seeking additional guidance.”

The New Hampshire Department of Education has also formed two additional partnerships to promote and strengthen literacy among students in the state. A partnership with Lexia Learning Systems, based in Concord, Mass., gives eligible New Hampshire educators access to Lexia’s Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling (LETRS) professional learning programs. According to a press release, the programs are designed to provide early childhood educators, elementary educators and education administrators with a deep knowledge of literacy and language instruction and the science behind reading, including phonological awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, comprehension and written language. A partnership with Güd Marketing, based in Lansing, Mich., has been established to launch a new statewide reading campaign. The campaign will include advertising, marketing and social media efforts as well as a video series, according to the release.

Opioid settlement

New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Vermont, Virginia and attorney generals from other states have reached a $450 million settlement with Ireland-based opioid producer Endo International and its lenders. According to a press release from New Hampshire Attorney General John M. Formella, Endo makes generic and branded opioids, including Percocet, Endocet and Opana ER, the last of which was withdrawn from the pharmaceutical market in 2017. The states allege that Endo used deceptive marketing for its opioid sales, downplaying the risk of addiction and overstating the benefits of opioids. The company, which has its U.S. headquarters in Malvern, Pennsylvania, filed for bankruptcy protection last week. In addition to the $450 million payment, the agreement in principle — pending final documentation and Bankruptcy Court approval — requires Endo to turn over millions of opioid-related documents for publication online in a public document archive and pay $2.75 million for the archival expenses and bans Endo from marketing opioids. “This settlement continues our efforts over many years to hold opioid manufacturers, distributors and dispensers responsible for their role in fueling the opioid crisis in New Hampshire,” Formella said in the release. “That crisis continues to wreak havoc in our communities and results in significant numbers of drug overdoses and deaths.” New Hampshire’s funds from the settlement will be dedicated to opioid treatment and prevention programs in the state.

The New Hampshire State Forest Nursery in Boscawen has continued to see record-breaking seedling sales this year. According to a press release, the total number of orders increased by 37.6 percent, income increased by 52 percent and the total number of seedlings lifted, sorted for quality, packaged and sold increased by 50.8 percent from 2021. Each year, the State Forest Nursery grows three million seedlings and has 20 acres dedicated to seed orchards and testing areas.

The New Hampshire Harm Reduction Coalition and Rights & Democracy Institute will host the Concord International Overdose Awareness Day Vigil on Wednesday, Aug. 31, which is International Overdose Awareness Day. Attendees are invited to gather at City Hall starting at 4 p.m., from where they’ll start walking to the Statehouse at 4:30 p.m. At the Statehouse starting at 5 p.m. there will be a program with music and speeches, culminating with the candlelight vigil at 6:30 p.m. Visit

The Bedford School District is faced with around 75 positions still left to fill before the school year starts. According to its website, paraprofessionals, custodians, food service workers and bus monitors are needed. Informational meetings will be held in the district’s SAU Boardroom (103 County Road) on Friday, Aug. 26, at 9 a.m. and Monday, Aug. 29, at 1 p.m.

Go easy on the kids

At a family picnic this summer we gobbled salads, pulled pork and pies. Lounging in the shade of a giant maple, we admired my cousin’s picture-book perennial garden and a flock of orioles flitting above. Later we cooled off in the swirling water of the Connecticut River. All the while, we swapped family news and stories, only once drifting over the line into politics. An idyllic afternoon.

Imagine my surprise when our host emailed me how disappointed she was in her teenage grandchildren. They were perfectly capable of conversation, she said, and hadn’t even tried. At one point, inexplicably, they had all marched out of the house, stood in a row holding pieces of bread, and intoned, “We found the toast.” (More on that later.) She had a mind to speak to them.

My advice: go easy. Their willingness to even show up at a family reunion testifies to the tug of kinship in a disconcerting world. While Boomers can draw on the confidence instilled in us when things seemedto be headed generally in the right direction, younger people have had vastly different inputs. Millennials grew up in the shadow of 9/11, war and recession; Gen Z in the slow burn of climate change and Covid-19. For better and worse, they are all digital natives. The pandemic has exacerbated normal anxiety and distress, and provoked serious mental health challenges.

All of these factors impact social behavior. The rules and skills used to interact in society are not inborn. They have to be identified, modeled, practiced. Expectations vary, but at the core are respect and empathy. Saying please and thank you are basic. Being able to engage in conversation in a way that shows attention to the other person and awareness of interesting events is more advanced.

Long before the pandemic, civility itself had been eroding. In 2010 Jim Leach, then chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, visited New Hampshire on a 50-state “Civility Tour.” Leach sought to raise awareness about the danger of inappropriate public discourse and behavior. “Little is more important for the world’s leading democracy in this change-intensive century than establishing an ethos of thoughtfulness and decency of expression. … If we don’t try to understand and respect others, how can we expect them to respect us, our values and our way of life?” he asked.

About that toast: It turns out the teenagers were reaching out. One of this summer’s trends on TikTok is “#RaiseAToast.” Inspired by a scene from The Little Rascals in which Alfalfa toasts his would-be sweetheart, it focuses on celebrating the people and things you love the most.

We grown-ups were the ones who missed the social cue.

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