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 newenglandsongwritingcompetition.com/winners 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.