By Zoe Bowen
First Fed has announced the winner of its 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 at 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 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. “Upper Left” was a collaboration between two Bainbridge Island musicians, Jenner Fox and Johnny Bregar. Bregar is a well-known producer with recording studio on Bainbridge.
“Upper Left was our first collaboration together,” said Bregar. “Jenner wrote the song specifically for First Fed. But we also wanted something that people could enjoy listening to while driving around the peninsula. After it was done, we were like—hey, this is really good!”
Tied for second was “Northernstar” by Drew Chadwick, a Sequim native and member of Emblem3, which rose to national fame when they competed on The X Factor.
“I wrote these lyrics in my backyard of the house I grew up in, next to a campfire with my best friends,” wrote Chadwick in his artist statement. Chadwick listed out several firsts he experienced in his hometown of Sequim: “Most importantly my first realization of purpose and passion….and 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.
“We Believe” edged ahead of the other two songs due to its message of community. However, the song needed to be re-recorded professionally.
“We loved the message, but the production quality needed polish,” Jennifer Bolton, Sr. Director of Marketing.
The original performer was located out of the state. Local musicians Abby Sill and David Rivers, from Abby Mae and the Hometown Boys, were tapped to learn and perform the song for a new recording. In addition to being a talented vocalist, Sill is a member of the First Fed marketing team, so she had a vested interest in creating a high-quality recording.
When Bolton saw that Bregar had a recording studio, she recruited him to produce the new professional recording of “We Believe.” Bregar recorded Sill and Rivers, then mixed and mastered the song.
“Our PNW spirit shines with this amazing collaboration! We were fortunate to have the Morgans’ songwriting, Abby’s voice, David’s performance, and Johnny’s production skills,” said Bolton. “We hope that everyone loves this song as much as our team does.”
“It was a pleasure collaborating with Abby and David. They are talented musicians—total pros,” said Bregar.
Listen to all three winning songs at: ourfirstfed.com/songwriting
First Fed is a member FDIC and equal housing lender.