Posts

Building strong communities with Dustyn Baulkham, Founder of Rebellious Unicorns

Rebellious Unicorns Production Company is a Kelowna-based event company focused on creating unique experiences to build stronger communities. No stranger to Kelowna’s community-building events, Rebellious Unicorns hosts an abundance of events in Kelowna including Peak Pride at Sun Peaks Resort & Big White Ski Resort, FruitCake, the Okanagan’s only monthly drag show and inclusive club night, the MX, Kelowna’s monthly LGBT2Q+ community networking event, www.Kelowna.lgbt, and is also a partner in the Earth to Table Vegan Market, Dirty Mutter & the Black Mountain Cub Crawl.

This summer, Rebellious Unicorns launched QUSIC, Kelowna’s first LGBTQ2+ programming featuring emerging musicians coming out and onto the B.C.’s music scene. The livestream series highlights emerging LGBT2Q+ artists in concert, along with an intimate conversation with the artist. Dustyn Baulkham is leading the way with the LGBTQ2+ community in Kelowna, creating inclusive spaces for LGBTQ2+ artists. We spoke with Dustyn about QUSIC and the importance of online communities during the pandemic.


Dustyn Baulkham at FruitCake

 

Tell us about Rebellious Unicorns

Rebellious Unicorns Production Company Inc. is a Kelowna-based events, broadcasting and media production company, dedicated to leading positive change in the Okanagan and curating inclusive events, experiences, and programming that bring people together.

It all began with Peak Pride and FruitCake, two of our most well-known event series, which were created through a business partnership in January 2017 as a passion project. When my business partner decided to relocate to Toronto, the events evolved into the creation of Rebellious Unicorns Production Company Inc. in Fall 2017. Since then we have grown substantially adding new events and initiatives.

The majority of our events operate on the unceded, traditional territory of the syilx (Okanagan) people.

Rebellious Unicorns is nothing short of a multi-service production company, can you tell us about the various umbrellas and brands under Rebellious Unicorns?

Rebellious Unicorns produces Unicorns.LIVE, QUSIC, Peak Pride, FruitCake, the MX., Dirty Mutter & Cub Crawl, and Earth to Table Vegan Market.

Peak Pride is a multi mountain winter pride series, founded in 2017 at Big White Ski Resort. In the 2018/2019 Season, we added Sun Peaks Resort (March) to series, and thanks to a Canadian Experiences Fund grant through Western Diversification we expanded for the 2019/2020 ski season to include SilverStar Mountain Resort (December), and Red Mountain Resort (January). April 2020 would have marked the 4th Anniversary at Big White; however, this last Peak Pride in the 2019/2020 Season was cancelled due to COVID.

FruitCake was the first event that we ever hosted as an organization. It started in January 2017, partially as a way to help raise capital for Peak Pride. Up until January 2020, there were no LGBT2Q+ focused venues in the Okanagan, and so FruitCake was created as a monthly club night to offer the LGBT2Q+ a safe space to party and dance the night away.

Unicorns.LIVE was 100% born out of necessity during the early stages of the COVID lockdown. As we were trying to sort out how to keep QUSIC going, we noticed a high volume of online content being created. QUSIC was reimagined as a live-streamed performance series. In doing this, we realized that we could support more than just LGBT2Q+ musicians. 35% of all subscription revenue is paid out to creatives based on minutes viewed of their content. One thing that makes Unicorns.LIVE unique is that every single show is shot live and unedited. I believe that today’s society has become too filtered, edited, and “perfect”…it’s #authentic, but not truly authentic. Unicorns.LIVE introduces the reality of live performance, and that sometimes…not everything goes according to plan. The content is professionally shot and produced, but taking away the safety net of post-production to “polish” everything keeps it exciting, real, and truly present.

The MX. was created over 2 years ago to offer the LGBT2Q+ business community an opportunity to meet and network in a relaxed atmosphere. Pre-COVID we were operating monthly and 100% of the funds raised from participants is donated to Etcetera Youth Group which provides a safe weekly hangout for LGBT2Q+ Youth.

Earth to Table Vegan Market is a three times per year vegan focused market that welcomes 30-50 local artisan vendors to showcase their vegan-friendly products. This is run as a partnership with Rebellious Unicorns, Allison Staten, and House of Rose Winery.

Dirty Mutter & Cub Crawl are outdoor obstacle course challenges done in partnership with Results 4 Life Fitness. For Dirty Mutter think Tough Mudder except you get to bring your dog with you and for Cub Crawl think the same except it is for youth and kids aged 8-14. In the last two years, we have raised over $18,000 for charities through these events.


Rebellious Unicorns Production Company

What drives your work with Rebellious Unicorns?

Since a very young age I have always volunteered and given back to my community. Having previously worked in banking for over 10 years, it was my escape from all the corporate challenges. When I left banking in 2014 and returned to Kelowna, I had no idea what I was going to do–I just knew that my strongest networks, closest friends and family were here and it was the best place to re-discover who I was. Since returning to Kelowna, I have worked with the Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission as their Workforce Development Officer (yes, that’s quite the mouthful), the Executive Director of the Arts Council of the Central Okanagan, and I am going into my third year as the General Manager of the Kelowna Pride Society.

My time at the Arts Council has really opened my eyes to how undervalued the arts and culture sector is in our community and province. It really has pushed me to create events and experiences that elevate our creative people and ensure they are getting fair compensation. Non-profits have an important role in our communities, and yet they continually face growth-related challenges as many people operate in a poverty mindset which limits the growth potential of these organizations. Business needs to step up and take a lead role in growing our creative community and Rebellious Unicorns is doing just that.

What’s the best piece of advice you received during your career that you would pass forward to someone starting out in the industry?

Feel free to experiment. I love my family and friends but many are very risk-averse and are often trying to talk me down some of my grand ideas. You have to take some risk to create great things. You might fail 10 times before you succeed but that’s OK. Don’t hold back!

 


Peak Pride at Sun Peaks Resort & Big White Ski Resort

 

QUSIC launched earlier this year, can you tell us about the series and its birth?

About a year ago, I started to envision an LGBT live music program that would be of benefit to all musicians who identify as LGBT2Q+. The intention was to create a space that really elevates emerging LGBT musicians. Initially, we had planned on mini-tours around the province, with a few larger productions in 800 person venues that featured a well know LGBT2Q+ identified musician and having BC-based LGBT2Q+ musicians open for them. Shortly after we got the amazing news that Creative BC was funding this program COVID hit and everything came to a screeching halt.

Creative BC has been extremely flexible in how we offer QUSIC and we are incredibly grateful. Since COVID, we have invested heavily in technology to make QUSIC a hybrid model. Currently we are hosting a small physically distant concert at Friends of Dorothy Lounge, Kelowna’s first LGBT2Q+ lounge. We can safely have about 26 people in the venue. QUSIC is also livestreamed through our new Unicorns.LIVE platform so people anywhere in the world can enjoy the music and also tip the artists. The show begins with a 15 minute interview with the musician, hosted by our team member, Kris Johnson. Following that we stream two 30-minute sets with the musician. We have a professional sound technician and videographer that ensure we are producing a high-quality livestream experience.

 

What’s next for Rebellious Unicorns?

The majority of our events are very up in the air right now because of the on-going COVID-19 pandemic. We are very much hoping to at least get the event cap raised to 100 which will allow us the ability to bring back some of our events, with modifications in place and adhering to health and safety guidelines as laid out by the BC Ministry of Health and Dr. Bonnie Henry. Knowing that we are going to be in this pandemic for some time we are going full tilt with Unicorns.LIVE. It’s the best option for our business’ sustainability. We are currently in discussions with a number of theatres and theatre groups, various music groups and bands as well as others within the arts sector on monetizing their high-quality content for livestream shows. We are also creating more content that has a livestream focus with the ability for small in-person attendance as well. An example of this would be the Sunset Sessions that we piloted with the Anna Jacyzsyn Quartet in a backyard concert on July 4th.

 

Dirty Mutter

 

Learn more about Rebellious Unicorns:

Website
Facebook
Instagram 

Explore the bookmarks of Haley Blais’ life through ‘Below the Salt’

On August 25, 2020, Vancouver’s Haley Blais released her debut full-length album, Below the Salt, through the new local, women-owned music label Tiny Kingdom. The album, produced by Louise Burns and Tennis, is a follow-up to her much-praised EP Let Yourself Go.

Haley has been DIY-ing it since 2014, turning out song after song of defiant scream-into-your-pillow bedroom pop anthems recorded in her actual bedroom. Haley speaks candidly of the journey that was the creation of Below the Salt, life in isolation, and the moments that made her realize music was for her.

Photography by Kyla Schnellert

 

Tell us about Below the Salt and the influences behind the album

This is my first album, so influences were plenty and chaotic. I think I got a lot out of my system in experimenting with different genres while recording – you’ll hear Carole King, or the Cranberries, or Liz Phair, Angel Olsen and more. Every song is a specific bookmark in my life.

 

 

 

Do you have any sweet anecdotes you can share while creating your album? We’d love to know about your experience working with Tennis!
I think I black out anything exciting because my brain can’t handle it, but working with Tennis was such a dream, they brought such a lightness to the songs that were originally darker and brooding.

 

How do you want people to feel when they hear your music?
Whatever emotion it compels them to feel. I love when I write a song that may mean something completely different to me than what someone else might interpret it as.

 

What drives your work?
Growth. Recording this album especially challenged me to subject my songs to critique, to change. I’m excited to take what I’ve learned and channel it into the next chapter.

 

How did young Haley know she wanted to pursue music?
5 years old, sitting on the stairs of my childhood home and torturing myself over a recent living room performance of “O Canada” and whether or not it could have been better. Nothing has changed.

 

Photography by Kyla Schnellert

 

What are your go-to road trip songs or albums?
Twin Peaks, Harry Nilsson, Warren Zevon… a lot of male energy on the road.

 

How are you staying creative at home?
Writing music and rearranging my living room every day.

 

What’s the best advice you’ve received that you’ve held close to your heart?

My friends and family know how to keep me in check better than I do myself, so there are countless tidbits I keep close to heart every day. The first one that comes to mind, though, is tequila with orange, not lime.

 

Haley will be performing live from the Fox Cabaret on September 13th at 5:00pm PST. Tune into the livestream via Haley’s Facebook page. Listen to Below the Salt  and follow Haley here.

BC Creators nominated for 2020 Prism Prize Awards

The 2020 edition of the annual show celebrating the best of Canadian music videos and their creators will take place on Thursday, July 23 at 5:00 PM PST on PrismPrize.com and the @PrismPrize FacebookTwitter and YouTube channels.

Following the cancellation of the 2020 Prism Prize Grand Prize screening and awards presentation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Prism Prize decided to keep all previously announced Top 20 artists in the running for the Grand Prize. A jury of over 120 Canadian creative arts professionals voted to determine the winner who will be awarded $20,000, increased from $15,000 thanks to a contribution from Stingray. Each of the runners-up listed in the Top 20 will receive a $500 cash prize courtesy of Slaight Music and RBCxMusic. The Audience Award will also be announced, a fan-voted prize awarded to a video from the Top 20.

Along with the Grand Prize and Audience Award winners, the Prism Prize will recognize several Special Award recipients in the upcoming virtual show including a new honour, the Willie Dunn Award. This is named after the groundbreaking Canadian singer-songwriter, film director and politician William “Willie” Dunn, whose 10-minute film for The Ballad of Crowfoot is often cited as “the first Canadian music video.” The award is presented to a Canadian trailblazer who has demonstrated excellence within the music video production community. The recipient is asked to select an emerging Canadian music video creative to receive a $5,000 cash grant. The Willie Dunn Award’s mandate is to encourage the professional development of diverse creators within the Canadian music video industry.

The recipient of the Willie Dunn Award will be announced alongside honourees for the Special Achievement Award (Presented by Slaight Music, established to recognize an exceptional contribution to music video art on the world stage), the Hi-Fidelity Award (Supported by FACTOR, established to recognize recording artists who utilize music video in innovative ways), and the Lipsett Award (Sponsored by iHeart Radio, established to celebrate a unique approach to music video art) in the lead-up to the July 23rd show.

Below is a list of the British Columbia artists who are among the Top 20.


Debby Friday, Fatal

Directors: Debby Friday & Ryan Ermacora


Said the Whale, Record Shop

Director: Johnny Jansen

 

Sam Tudor, Joseph in the Bathroom
Director: Lucas Hrubizna

 

Jordan Klassen, Virtuous Circle
Director: Farhad Ghaderi

,

SoundON Brings British Columbians Together to Show Resilience and Celebrate the Power of Live Music

SoundON is a province-wide campaign and resilience fund to help bring British Columbia’s music community back together and provide desperately needed support to those connected to the sector – artists, presenters, production staff and venues. The first project of its kind in Canada, it is the ultimate in community and collaboration as it brings together industry members from across the province with one common goal – to bring the province’s vibrant music industry back to life.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on the once effervescent music industry in BC,” says Lindsay MacPherson, Executive Director at Music BC. “It is a pain that has been felt by so many, especially those working in arts and culture. A group of leaders from across the industry have come together to collaborate on a way to bring back life to the sector. We have everyone from city officials, promoters, presenters, venues, production, and artists working on the project. Our aim is to be highly collaborative, in an unprecedented way, to bring our beloved industry back.”

The music industry in BC was among the first sectors to be closed due to COVID and will be among the last to reopen, a scenario that is predicted to create devastating consequences for the industry. Without immediate action, more than 90% of Canadian independent music venues are anticipated to permanently close within the next six months.

Tonye Aganaba by Lindsey Blane Creative

SoundON will fund and stream uniquely curated content through the lens of festivals and presenters. With the help of public funding, corporate sponsors, and individual donors, SoundON aims to put economic flow back into the industry. This will allow people to return to work as soon as possible – while sparking hope for those affected by the pandemic. The website also provides music lovers worldwide a whole new way to discover music in BC. Amazing shows from across our province will be featured, all on one free website.

SoundON is produced by a volunteer collective from the music sector, who are passionate about making a difference. It is a fluid, multifaceted project that will be rolled out in several stages. The first stages, announcing today, invite presenters from across BC to apply to curate shows that will be streamed on SoundON.ca beginning July.

An anticipated 100 shows will be produced to showcase the incredible diversity of British Columbia’s music community. While shows will be free to watch on SoundON.ca, donations will be encouraged to help fund the project through its ongoing phases.

“This is a tale of resiliency and one we’re excited to share with British Columbia,” says Eduardo Ottoni, Producer of SoundON. “Music and gathering are at the heart of every vibrant culture, and something that gives joy to so many people. The pandemic has not only had a devastating economic impact, but an emotional one. Our aim is to be a beacon of resilience during the pandemic and beyond.”

SoundOn is presented in part with initial funding from Creative BC, the Province of British Columbia, several corporate sponsors, and private funders.

,

British Columbia 2020 JUNO Award Winners

Yesterday evening, the 2020 JUNO Awards took place in a new form, through an hour-and-a-half-long pre-recorded special, delivering a night of celebration for Canada’s music industry and fans, featuring performances from Alessia Cara, iskwē, Neon Dreams, and The Dead South.

See the list of British Columbia talent that were awarded this year below.

 

JACK RICHARDSON PRODUCER OF THE YEAR
Ben Kaplan
“Brittle Bones Nicky” BRITTLE BONES NICKY – Rare Americans Independent
“It’s Alright” (co-producer Ryan Guldemond) DANCE AND CRY – Mother Mother Universal

 

 

RECORDING ENGINEER OF THE YEAR
“Dividido (feat. Silvana Estrada)” SUBLIME – Alex Cuba Caracol*Fontana North

 

 

DANCE RECORDING OF THE YEAR
Love Me
Felix Cartal & Lights
Physical Presents*Fontana North

 

ADULT CONTEMPORARY ALBUM OF THE YEAR 
Shine A Light
Bryan Adams
Universal

 

 

CLASSICAL ALBUM OF THE YEAR: SOLO OR CHAMBER
Angela Schwarzkopf
Redshift
Detach Record Label

View the full list of B.C. nominees.

Ian Cromwell of Locals Lounge on getting ahead with community support

Behind every song, there is a musician. Behind every musician, there is a story. Locals Lounge is known for its monthly intimate sessions at the landmark Railway Stage & Beer Cafe. Host and curator, Ian Cromwell sits down with some of Vancouver’s finest musicians to discover the human being behind the microphone, accompanied by live performances.

Born in Vancouver and raised all across Canada, Ian Cromwell has one true home: the stage. A classical violinist by training, Ian has spent more than 20 years performing with classical ensembles, symphonies, quartets, and as a solo performer. Ian’s love of the stage put a guitar in his hands some years later, and he hasn’t looked back since. Over the past eight years, Ian has been regularly rocking stages in Vancouver and beyond as a solo artist.

Ian’s love and deep passion for music transcends the cerebral classical genre and takes root in the full-throated, no-holds-barred, primal scream of rock and alternative music, tempered by an affinity for upbeat and memorable pop hooks. Blended together with his signature powerful vocals, Ian’s musical range is sure to please anyone who describes their musical taste as ‘eclectic’. We connect with Ian to shine a light on his work and Locals Lounge.


Aza Nabuko and Ian Cromwell Photography by Leah Gair


Tell us about the birth and mission of Locals Lounge

Locals Lounge started in the fall of 2016. I’d been a gigging musician in Vancouver for about six years at that point and had the opportunity to meet some really incredibly talented musicians who were also really wonderful and interesting people. In a musical climate where anyone can carry their favourite music around in their pocket, it had become very difficult for these musicians to support themselves and break out of their small personal networks. Vancouver has lots of great musicians but it’s also very difficult for anyone to find them, as we are losing venues and don’t have a strong musical culture.

The idea of Locals Lounge was to solve both of these problems by connecting the audience to the human being behind the microphone. As a musician, I get to walk into rooms where live music is being played and feel like I’m at home. This is a privilege, especially in a city that has a reputation for being a bit unfriendly. I want everyone to be able to share in that experience, and this was my way to try and make that happen.

Tell us about the journey of Locals Lounge since launching, how has it grown since and where are you taking it?

We started this with a team of three, and only a vague idea of what we were doing. I knew a bunch of musicians, the Belmont Bar (now closed) offered me one Sunday night each month, and that was basically it. We crawled through a bunch of months with empty rooms and no money for pretty much the whole first year of the show, but we’ve never had a problem booking top-notch talent and I’m so grateful to the musicians who gave their time and talent to this weirdo experiment in its early days.

Since then I really feel that Locals Lounge has become a mainstay of the local music scene. We are a part of the environment here. People have discovered their favourite artists at our shows. People have made new friends at our shows. Which meant that when COVID-19 shut down the live music industry, we had a lot of community support and goodwill that allowed us to immediately shift operations online. In the first three months of quarantine, we did nearly 30 live-streamed shows supporting over 40 local acts. At times it felt like the early days of the project where we had little more than our reputation and a desire to do something that brought people together. And I think we did that.

Can you tell us about your experience working in British Columbia’s music industry?

British Columbia is in a tough spot, geographically. Mountains to the east, ocean to the west, and a border to the south means we’re hard to tour to from outside the province/country. Which means that if we want to have a thriving music industry, we need to do the work ourselves. And we can’t do it by simply replicating the model that was designed 30 years ago for places where lots of large cities are within driving distance and a self-financed tour is simply a matter of locating a vehicle and calling a few venues. The longer we keep doing that, the longer we’ll remain anonymous, waiting for someone to “make it big”.

 

Locals Lounge | Photography by Leah Gair


What lights you up about your work?

The city of Vancouver has a ton of little cultural pockets. We are blessed with a level of ethnocultural diversity that is nearly unmatched in the world. We have an exciting opportunity to mix these cultures together and create sounds that the world has never heard before. Even a subtle shift in our collective consciousness about the value of diversity – not as something that checks a feel-good box on a grant application but as a powerful resource – has the potential to spark a revolution. Nothing gets me more fired up than the opportunities I’ve had to use this project for that purpose.

What do you consider to have been the most difficult challenges along the way?

Inertia. Audiences expect to access music in the way they’re used to. Musicians expect to make money in the way their forebears did. Grant agencies and the philanthropic sector are eager to fund “innovation” but highly reluctant to be innovators themselves. People seem to want the world to change, provided that change happens externally. And the people who benefit are the capitalist class who acquired their wealth by creating the system the rest of us are running around in.

What are some of the greatest moments you’ve had?

The collaborations we’ve done with other local music innovators and community champions: the 5X Festival, AfroVan Connect, Emotions Open Mic, Anza Live, Root Dwellers Community Showcase, Pacific Sound Radio, CreativeMornings/Vancouver, A Better Life Foundation. Music is the best way of bringing people together for the purpose of strengthening our bonds of shared humanity, and I’m so proud of the opportunities we’ve found to do that.

But my favourite part of this job is seeing people coming back to see an artist they’ve never heard of because they know they’re going to have a great time and see friends and hear something amazing from the stage. That’s the reason I do this, and it fills my heart to see it succeed in this way.

 


Tonye | Photography by Leah Gair


What’s the best piece of advice you received during your career that you would pass forward?

Do not do this to get rich. And do not do this alone. Talent and drive are crucial, but they are not enough. Especially for musicians in British Columbia. To get ahead, we need to be blowing wind into each other’s sails.

Do you have any upcoming ways that readers can support Locals Lounge or upcoming projects?

Our COVID-19 pivot was a really tough slog for the whole team. We’re taking a brief pause to breathe and re-assess how we can best serve our community as the summer months bring a respite from quarantine. In the meantime, we’ve got a huge library of interviews and performances, both from our in-person and online shows. Anyone interested in seeing Vancouver’s music scene from a human-eye view should sign up to support us on Patreon, where $1/mo will unlock a treasure trove of video and audio, and give you a front-row seat to whatever comes next for us.

 

Learn more about Locals Lounge

Website
Facebook | Instagram
Patreon
YouTube

50 British Columbia Artists Nominated for Western Canadian Music Awards

The Western Canadian Music Alliance (WCMA), created by the music industry associations of B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Northwest Territories and Yukon Territory, presents the awards to promote and celebrate western Canadian music, BreakOut West.

Snotty Nose Rez Kids

 

The WCMA works with government, FACTOR and assorted private radio broadcasters to also host the annual conference and music festival BreakOut West. This is the 18th year for the WCMAs, which will conclude voting on this year’s winners July 6. The awards are held in a different western Canadian city on a rotating basis and will be held virtually from Winnipeg this year on Sept. 25. BreakOut West is scheduled for Sept. 30-Oct. 4.

Congratulations to the 50 British Columbia artists nominated. View the full list of nominees here.

2020 WESTERN CANADIAN MUSIC AWARDS ARTISTIC NOMINEES


Harpdog Brown, Blues Artist of the Year
Kat Danser & The Tall Tales, Blues Artist of the Year, recorded in BC

Kenny ‘Blues Boss’ Wayne

Kenny ‘Blues Boss’ Wayne, Blues Artist of the Year
Nuela Charles, Pop Artist of the Year, recorded with BC producer Ryan Worsley – Echoplant
Alexandria Maillot, BreakOut Artist of the Year
The Funk Hunters, BreakOut Artist of the Year
Ginalina, Children’s Artist of the Year

Ginalina

The Kerplunks, Children’s Artist of the Year
Will’s Jams, Children’s Artist of the Year
Mark Takeshi McGregor, Sponsored by Canadian Music Centre (CMC)

Mark Takeshi McGregor

The Vancouver Island Symphony, Sponsored by Canadian Music Centre (CMC)
Dorothy Chang, Classical Composer of the Year
Marcus Goddard, Classical Composer of the Year
Stephen Chatman, Classical Composer of the Year
Khanvict, Electronic & Dance Artist of the Year
Miles Away, Electronic & Dance Artist of the Year
SkiiTour, Electronic & Dance Artist of the Year
Loig Morin, Francophone Artist of the Year
Buckman Coe, Global Artist of the Year (formerly World Artist of the Year)

Mazacote

Mazacote, Global Artist of the Year (formerly World Artist of the Year)
Orchid Ensemble, Global Artist of the Year (formerly World Artist of the Year)
Blue Moon Marquee, Indigenous Artist of the Year
Snotty Nose Rez Kids, Indigenous Artist of the Year
Pierre Schryer & Adam Dobres, Instrumental Artist of the Year
CRNKSHFT, Metal & Hard Music Artist of the Year
Neck of the Woods, Metal & Hard Music Artist of the Year

Alexandria Maillot

Alexandria Maillot, Pop Artist of the Year
Luca Fogale, Pop Artist of the Year
Ryan Dahle, Producer of the Year
Ryan Worsley, Producer of the Year
Steve Bays, Producer of the Year
Hooper Turnt Sanger, R&B Artist of the Year (formerly Urban Artist of the Year)
Iamtheliving, R&B Artist of the Year (formerly Urban Artist of the Year)

Iamtheliving

Krystle Dos Santos, R&B Artist of the Year (formerly Urban Artist of the Year)
Bdice, Rap & Hip Hop Artist of the Year
Kimmortal, Rap & Hip Hop Artist of the Year
Moka Only, Rap & Hip Hop Artist of the Year
Snotty Nose Rez Kids, Rap & Hip Hop Artist of the Year
Frazey Ford, Recording of the Year

Frazey Ford

Hunting, Recording of the Year
Dee Daniels, Spiritual Artist of the Year
Brock Davis Mitchell, Video Director of the Year
Farhad Ghaderi, Video Director of the Year
Big Dave McLean, Blues Artist of the Year

2020 WESTERN CANADIAN MUSIC AWARDS INDUSTRY NOMINEES


Ben Kaplan, Audio Engineering Award
Ryan Worsley, Audio Engineering Award
Steve Bays, Audio Engineering Award

Steve Bays

The Vancouver Island Symphony, Community Excellence Award
Bronwin Parks, Feisty Creative, Excellence in Visual Design
Squamish Constellation Festival, Impact in Live Music sponsored by Canadian Live Music Association

2019 Squamish Constellation Festival

Missy D Teaches us Vulnerability

Harmonizing her Rwandan, Ivorian, and Zimbabwean heritage with a confident—and bilingual—voice, Missy D is a tour-de-force ‘femcee’ in the Canadian Hip Hop/Rap and Soul scene. 

Missy D released her debut album When Music Hits You Feel No Pain in 2016 and was a Storyhive Music Video Edition 2017 winner for her song “XX” featuring Kimmortal. In 2018, Missy D was an SXSW Official Artist, representing for a B.C. showcase. She is also apart of the Hip Hop and Soul duo, Laydy Jams. 


Missy D by David Markwei Productions

Rapping about her roots since she was 11, Missy D has long been an outspoken champion for diversity and resilience. This year her voice became even more powerful with the release of her newest 6 track EP, YES MAMA. With tracks produced by David Tallarico, Jay 808 Beats, and Mantra Beats, the EP is a rich account of Missy D as an artist—her experiences, outlook, and her relationship to the Motherland and her blackness. Balancing vulnerability and confidence, YES MAMA has been celebrated with glowing reviews and was recently flagged by CBC’s list of top 25 albums to listen to this season. 

Her latest music video for the title track premiered this past Mother’s Day. With an enlivened beat and lyrics bursting with gratitude, YES MAMA details the love for all our mother figures within our families and chosen families in a way that is sure to get both parties dancing. 

 

YES MAMA, Missy D (2020)


Directed by
Alexander Farah and Lawrence Le Lam, YES MAMA’s innovative video concept impressively integrates COVID-era video calling, creating an enriching audio-visual experience with maximum relatability.

 

Missy D by Christopher Edmonstone


Follow Missy D 

Website
Instagram
Twitter
Facebook

Award-winning B.C. artist Joey Stylez performs on Facebook Live this Saturday, June 20th

Join Joey Stylez, one of Canada’s top 25 rappers of all time voted by CBC on Facebook Live, June 20th at 3:30PM. Joey Stylez will perform alongside his band, with a special guest appearance from Carsen Gray and the performance of his soon to be released single “You Driving Me Crazy (Indian Girl)” which features the legendary drum group, Northern Cree.

Joey Stylez ‘2 Die 4’

 

Livestream Details:
Date
: June 20
Time: 3:30 pm – 4:30 pm PDT
Join the livestream here: http://facebook.com/joeystylezworld

 

Joey Stylez by Jack Gambell

 

Joey Stylez’s story is as unique as the music he creates. This Juno-nominated Hip Hop artist hit the ground running in the early 2000s with internet and mainstream hits that challenged society’s views of Indigenous people. With online streaming in the tens of millions and collaborations with big names such as Dragonette, Bun B & Ty Dolla $ign, Stylez has showcased his talents to the delight of his fans. He has charted on Canadian top 40 radio and has served as a role model to Indigenous youth, as he overcame a troubled past and gained a respectable following. Stylez inspired a generation of Canadian musicians, including The Weeknd, and was recognized by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) as one of the top 25 Canadian rappers of all time. He has opened for artists such as Snoop Dogg, 50 Cent, and Billy Ray Cyrus. His catalogue has tracks with the likes of Grammy Award-winning producer James Ho (Malay). He continues to tour extensively and create chart-topping hits.

Joey’s journey was not without twists and turns. Growing up in Saskatoon, a mid-sized city on the prairies of Canada, he had gone down a path of darkness that few return from. With friends and family members on the same path dying, and the statistics for Indigenous youth dismal, the future did not look promising for him as a young man. He had fallen into a life of crime and violence. But, one night while sitting in the back of a police car and facing a certain prison sentence, things changed. He prayed, and promised his deceased cousin Kevin and uncle Isho that if he could possibly avoid incarceration, he would turn his life around, which he certainly did! He feels that his prayers and promises were heard. Joey’s life experiences instilled in him, a desire to make a difference in the lives of others. His early music, which served as healing medicine, told a story of the current reality of being an Indigenous youth in Canada. He became an online force as he released song after song and video after video, that shared that story with mainstream North America and across the globe. He had the honor of opening Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation process at a Winnipeg event along with Blue Rodeo and performed his critically acclaimed song Living Proof that illustrated the horrors of Canada’s Residential School system, which his Plains Cree Koohkom (Grandmother) had attended.

Joey’s Koohkom was a major force in his life. Speaking no English, she followed the traditional Cree culture and her spirituality was instilled in him. He attributes his participation in traditional ceremonies as part of who he is, how he survived his past and what brought him to the successful place he enjoys today with his family, whom he lives for.  Traditional ceremonies, not unlike religions around the world, include a connection to the spirit world and the use of medicines that have been harvested for many thousands of years. These ceremonies are known to lead to healing miracles. Joey feels that his life has been nothing short of miraculous and gives thanks daily for his many blessings.

While he practices his Cree traditions, Stylez has lived in major cities across North America such as Los Angeles, Atlanta, Toronto, Winnipeg and Vancouver while he performed across the world. He is as comfortable in Tokyo or Los Angeles as he is in a tiny Indigenous community in northern Canada or Europe. With many awards and accolades under his belt, he cites the greatest award he has ever received is knowing that his strong work ethic has inspired others to success.

Follow Joey Stylez
Website
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram

Discover more livestream events from British Columbia’s creative industry on Showcase BC.

Haida Gwaii’s award-winning singer Carsen Gray counts blessings in her latest single ‘Sah ‘Laana’

Hailing from Haida Gwaii, B.C., Carsen Gray is a Haida Indigenous and mixed descent award-winning singer/songwriter.

Earlier this year Carsen released the official music video for her latest single ‘Sah ‘Laana’. The lyrics, supported by the beats of Vancouver-based producer Vago, thank God for the beauty of the land on Haida Gwaii and the blessings Carsen counts in her life, including her four-year-old son Matisse and one-year-old daughter Josette.

The accompanying music video, directed by Patrick Shannon’s InnoNative company and sponsored by the Taking It Global non-governmental organization, features visuals of Gray surrounded by nature and family.

Carsen Gray – Sah ‘Laana (Official Music Video)

Carsen’s early career took off when she became a regional finalist in the CBC 2015 Searchlight contest leading her to the creation of her debut self-titled album, released in 2017. Following the debut release of her singles, “Supernatural” and “Wanna See You” reached number one on the NCI FM Indigenous Music Countdown.

That same year, Carsen was awarded “Best New Artist” presented by SiriusXM, at the 2017 Indigenous Music Awards. Since then Carsen has performed at National Aboriginal Day for the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network and JunoFest Vancouver the following year.


Photo by Liz Rosa 

An unstoppable force with her soulful lyrics, captivating voice, and energetic sound, Carsen proves to be paving the way as an artist infusing Pop with Trap, Indigenous sounds, R&B and Soul.

Listen to Carsen’s music on Spotify and learn more about her here.