By Jennifer Bolton
The winner of the First Fed centennial songwriting contest is “We Believe” by mother-and-daughter-team Mary and Jessie Morgan. The song was selected based on voting open to all team members of the local bank.
“We wanted to make it fun and upbeat while also capturing the essence of community that together you have created in the last hundred years,” wrote Jessie Morgan in her artist statement. “Congratulations First Fed on your centennial! We are grateful to be a part of it through music.”
Two songs tied for second place. “Northernstar” was written by Drew Chadwick, a Sequim native and member of Emblem3, which rose to national fame when they competed on The X Factor.
“‘If only trees could talk, they would tell a story’—I wrote these lyrics sitting around a campfire with my best friends in the backyard of my childhood home,” noted Chadwick in his artist statement. “Those trees watched and guided me through all the journeys I experienced in my hometown, including my first job, my first love, my first friends and most importantly my first realization of purpose and passion. Sequim is also home to my first bank, which happened to be First Fed :).”
While Chadwick has traveled worldwide with his band, his roots in the Pacific Northwest are ever-present in his music. “To show everyone in my hometown how much they inspire me and my creative endeavors, gives me the deepest sense of fulfillment and honor,” emphasized Chadwick.
Tied for second was “Upper Left” by songwriter Jenner Fox and Johnny Bregar, a well-known musician and producer. Both Fox and Bregar live on Bainbridge Island.
“Upper Left was our first collaboration together,” said Bregar. “Jenner wrote the song specifically for First Fed. But we wanted something that people could enjoy driving around the peninsula. After it was done we’re like—hey, this is really good!”
“We Believe” edged ahead of the other two songs due to its message of community. However, the song recording needed love—it was lacking the production quality of “Northernstar” and “Upper Left.”
The original performer was located out of the state. For the professional recording, the clear choice was Sequim musicians Abby Mae Sill and David Rivers, from Abby Mae and the Hometown Boys. In addition to being a talented vocalist, Sill is a member of the First Fed marketing team.
Bregar was asked to produce the new professional recording of “We Believe.” Bregar recorded Sill and Rivers in his studio, providing additional instrumentation along with mixing and mastering the song.
“Our centennial song really shines with the talented songwriters and performers,” said Derek Brown, Chief HR and Marketing Officer of First Fed.
“I enjoyed performing our centennial song,” said Sill. “The lyrics really capture our community spirit.”
Listen to all three winning songs at: ourfirstfed.com/songwriting
First Fed is a member FDIC and equal housing lender.