Manitoba will have a strong presence when the Western Canadian Music Awards are handed out in Edmonton this fall. Artists and music companies picked up 34 nominations in 19 categories for the 15th annual celebration of music from the western provinces and territories. Manitoba’s world music, Indigenous, Francophone, hip hop, and spiritual communities have a strong presence their respective categories while Manitoba’s music companies and industry entrepreneurs have earned recognition for community excellence and impact in live music, music marketing, and artistic development. Winners will be celebrated at the Western Canadian Music Awards Networking Reception and Industry Awards Brunch during the BreakOut West festivities, September 13-17, 2017.
Vocal powerhouse Begonia, aka Alexa Dirks, is up for two awards this year with nominations for BreakOut Artist of the Year and Songwriter of the Year. Dirks shares the songwriting nod with Matthew Schellenberg, who is also up for Visual Media Composer of the Year for his scoring and soundtrack work on the locally-produced film, Lovesick.
Bilingual singer/songwriter Kelly Bado is also a double nominee with nods for World Artist of the Year and Francophone Artist of the Year. Hip hop artist Alpha Toshineza is also up for Francophone Artist of the Year while musician/dancer/choreographer Casimiro Nhussi and Latin jazz ensemble Papa Mambo round out Manitoba’s domination of the World Artist of the Year category.
Manitoba’s First Nation, Inuit, and Métis music communities are a strong leader yet again this year, landing nominations for Indigenous Artist of the Year for rock outfit Indian City and country singer/songwriter Jade Turner. Other nominees include Blue Moon Marquee, Cindy Paul, and Jay Gilday from Alberta.
Singer/songwriter William Prince, who recently picked up a JUNO Award for Contemporary Roots Artist of the Year and won a WCMA in 2016 for Indigenous Artist of the Year along with a pair of Canadian Folk Music Award nods, is up for BreakOut Artist of the Year.
Other artistic award nominees include Big Dave McLean for Blues Artist of the Year; Madame Diva et Micah le Jeune Voyageur for Children’s Artist of the Year; Doc Walker for Country Artist of the Year; Steve Kirby's Oceanic Jazz Orchestra for Jazz Artist of the Year; Mobina Galore for Rock Artist of the Year; Saskatchewan/Manitoba duo Karrnnel Sawitsky & Daniel Koulack for Roots Duo/Group of the Year; and Alek Rzeszowski for Video Director of the Year for Yes We Mystic’s "No Harm". Manitoba-born, Ontario-based artist iskwé is up for Electronic/Dance Artist of the Year.
Manitoba’s venues, festivals, and artist development companies have earned several nominations this year. The West End Cultural Centre and Winnipeg Folk Festival are double nominee this year for the Industry Awards, landing nods for Impact in Live Music and the Community Excellent Award. Emerging company Prairie Mix, which manages William Prince among others, is up for Impact in Artist Development alongside veteran company Paquin Artist Agency. Festival du Voyageur is up for Impact in Live Music while community organization Sunshine House is up for the Community Excellence Award for its music-related programming. Le 100 NON’s Eric Burke, The Park Theatre’s Kevin Mozdzen, and Pipe & Hat Music Group round out the nominees list with three out of five nods for Impact in Music Marketing. Producer/composer/musician Mitch Dorge is up for Visual Media Composer of the Year for his work on The Advocate.
BreakOut West features a conference and music festival with over 50 showcasing acts, offering an incredible opportunity for emerging and established artists to be a part of the Western Canadian music community. Participating artists and other music professionals have the chance to meet key industry stakeholders creating opportunities for new waves of exciting industry developments from business deals to international tours.
Many of this year’s Manitoba nominees have participated in Manitoba Music’s professional and market development programs during their careers, accessing assistance to develop their business skills, showcase in new markets, and in make critical industry contacts. Manitoba Music’s programs are supported by the Province of Manitoba, FACTOR through the financial support of the Government of Canada and Canada's private radio broadcasters, and Manitoba Film & Music.
For a complete list of 2017 WCMA nominees, please visit breakoutwest.ca.