The SOCAN Foundation has announced the five recipients of the second annual award SiriusXM Black Canadian Music Awards (BMCA).
The BCMAs were founded in 2021 to recognize and celebrate the artistic merit demonstrated by Black Canadian music creators who bring new sounds to the music industry. The 2022 winners, Falana, IDMAN, Jon Vinyl, shoppedand born in Ottawa Maurice Moore, were selected from hundreds of applicants by a jury and advisory board of prominent black artists and industry leaders. Each winner received $5,000 to support their career development.
Keziah Myers, Managing Director of ADVANCE Music Canada, co-founded the BCMAs with the goal of showcasing and promoting black music creators. She says the idea to create the awards came shortly after the death of George Floyd, an African-American man who was murdered by police during an arrest in Minneapolis on May 25, 2020.
“It was definitely a catalyst year,” says Myers. “Musicians began to notice the lack of recognition of black people within the music industry, especially in Canada. When we look at racialized and non-racialized creators and artists, there’s a very obvious difference, in that a group has the opportunities that lead to the ability to earn a living in the music industry. Without this opportunity, [racialized] artists are not able to reach their full potential.
When we look at racialized and non-racialized creators and artists, there’s a very obvious difference, in that a group has the opportunities that lead to the ability to earn a living in the music industry.
Myers says the failure of the Canadian music industry to recognize and promote black artists has a significant cultural cost. Without support to increase their audience in Canada, black artists are forced to leave the country to make themselves known elsewhere. According to Myers, this is especially the case for black artists whose musical genres are primarily associated with white artists and audiences. “When a black rock artist wants to show their work, it’s not seen in the same light, it’s not promoted in the same way,” says Myers. “That means they don’t necessarily have any radio airplay, which results in less royalties, which means they don’t have the number of tours.”
Through the BCMAs and his work at ADVANCE Music Canada, Myers hopes to see more black artists and professionals in leadership positions in the Canadian music industry. “There’s a direct correlation between the purpose at a label’s board table and the artists and creators who are signed to the label,” she says. “Awards like the BCMAs showcase black artists and music professionals in the industry. They’re signaling to the entire industry that they need to support these black creators because they’re going to be the next big thing.
And the rising stars spotlighted by this year’s BCMAs are, without a doubt, “the next big thing.” Among the five winners for 2022 is Ottawa-born singer, songwriter and producer Maurice Moore. Since releasing her debut single in 2015, Moore has made her mark releasing viral singles and mixtapes and writing songs for some of the biggest names in the music industry, from HER, Justine Skye and Zara Larsson. , up to K-pop royalty EXO and NCT dream. Moore’s smooth vocal tones, powerful, introspective storytelling, and polished production combine to create a warm, familiar, yet undeniably modern sound.
“It’s pretty amazing to be recognized like this,” said Moore, who spoke to Apt613 from his home in Los Angeles. “I have the impression of being seen, of being heard. I have so much I want to say and so much I want to give to the world with my music. I’m really excited for everything that’s to come.
Like many black Canadian artists, Moore felt he had to leave Ottawa to pursue his musical career. “Ever since I was a little kid, everyone was like, ‘Dude, we gotta get out of here.’ We always knew we couldn’t stay there forever, there weren’t enough opportunities for us to really grow and get to know each other.
Moore believes initiatives like the BCMAs can help build Black artists’ confidence in the Canadian music industry’s ability to help them reach their full potential. “Awards like this let us know we have support in Canada. And we do. Canada has been very supportive of my career regarding grants and funding opportunities.
But Moore also points out that pursuing opportunities overseas doesn’t necessarily mean leaving Canada: “I think it’s cool if artists go to the United States and try to get their name out there because you know , in the end, we are still representing the house. I really wave the Ottawa flag everywhere I go. I never say I’m from Toronto or Montreal to look cooler. I have to represent where I come from.
Leading by example, Moore has kept Ottawa in his heart and sound. His music is deeply rooted in the genre-defying style he considers a signature of Ottawa’s musical landscape. “It’s so obvious that I’m from Ottawa when you listen to a Maurice Moore album,” he laughs. “People in Ottawa are just mixing things up and starting new genres. They will mix dancehall with a ballad. They take on so many different styles and different musical mindsets. It’s one of the great things about Ottawa that I’ve always appreciated.