Manitoba Music Announces Board of Directors for 2024-25 and Legacy Award Recipients

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From left: Jade Turner, Brandi Vezina, Keisha Booker (Photo by Nia Banilbo)

Manitoba Music announced its board of directors for 2024-25 and celebrated the Kevin Walters Legacy Award and Vince Fontaine Legacy Award recipients at its annual general meeting on July 4 at The Saddlery on Market, in the same building as Manitoba Music’s office. 

The AGM was a chance to reflect on a remarkably productive year that included greatly expanded export market development programming, significant leadership and staff transition, extensive industry advocacy, and the ongoing evolution of programs and services. The association welcomed new leader Vanessa Kuzina after the late summer departure of longtime executive director Sean McManus, while Desiree Dorion was appointed president of the Board of Directors in early 2024 to replace Ruth Shead. Read the Manitoba Music Annual Report for 2023-24

Manitoba Music is the hub of Manitoba’s vibrant music community. A member-based, not-for-profit industry association, it works with 700 members in all facets of the music industry. Through its programs and services, Manitoba Music provides information, education, and industry development opportunities to nurture, develop, and promote the growth and sustainability of the Manitoba music industry.

“As we reflect on the past year, I am humbled by the resilience and dedication of this membership in the face of ongoing industry complexities. Manitoba Music reflects and responds to many artists and industry entrepreneurs that share their stories, energy, time, struggles, and hopes as members, directors, staff, volunteers, and partners. The strength of Manitoba Music is its people, working together to champion each other, move careers forward, and create a safer, more equitable industry,” said Kuzina, who presented this year’s executive director report at the AGM.

“This has been a year of transformation for our association, including significant staffing transitions and exciting, impactful programming. Throughout 2023-24, Manitoba Music has been committed to supporting and advancing the careers of our members at home and abroad. Thank you to all of our government funders, especially this year the Government of Canada through PrairiesCan and the Province of Manitoba through Sport, Culture, and Heritage for their support of our three-year export and business development program,” says Desiree Dorion, president of the Board of Directors, whose term ends this year.

Manitoba Music would like to thank the Government of Canada, FACTOR through the financial support of the Government of Canada and Canada's private radio broadcasters, PrairiesCan, the Province of Manitoba, Manitoba Film & Music, Canada Council for the Arts, and members of the music industry of Manitoba for supporting our programs and services.

Board of Directors

Manitoba Music thanks departing directors and presidents Desiree Dorion and Ruth Shead, and David Schellenberg for being generous with their time and guidance, sharing their knowledge, perspective, and dedication to Manitoba Music and its membership during their terms. Each has had an immeasurable impact on the association and their wisdom, humour, and direction will be greatly missed. A special thanks to Stephen Carroll of Manitoba Film & Music for his support for Manitoba Music including service on the Board of Directors and as an ex officio member.

Manitoba Music welcomes artist and live music industry professional Adam Soloway (First Date Touring / Real Love Winnipeg / Living Hour), artist and accountant Alannah Walker (Deloitte LLP / Booter), artist and composer Jason Burnstick (Burnstick), and artist and HR professional Rhonda Thompson (Fenom) to the board. They bring new perspectives and invaluable expertise that will be assets to the work of the board and the association.

2024-25 Board of Directors
Adam Soloway, First Date Touring / Real Love Winnipeg / Living Hour
Alannah Walker, Deloitte LLP
Chloe Chafe, Synonym Art Consultation
Danielle Morrison, Cochrane Saxberg
David Landreth, Birthday Cake Media / The Bros. Landreth
Elliott Walsh (Nestor Wynrush)
Jason Burnstick, Artist/Composer
Liliane Lavack, Centre culturel franco-manitobain
Neil Exell
Rhonda Thompson
Suzanne Holatko, Deloitte LLP

Kevin Walters Legacy Awards

The board of directors announced this year's recipients of the Kevin Walters Legacy Award and Kevin Walters Memorial Songwriter Award, in honour of Kevin Walters, a longtime Manitoba Music board member and music industry legend. 

Recognizing an emerging professional in the music industry, the Legacy Award went to Keisha Booker, the artist and visionary founder of Soul Supreme, a pioneering bimonthly event series and annual festival that has filled a void in the local cultural landscape, offering a vibrant platform where artists, DJs, musicians, and visual artists converge to unleash their creativity.

Award winning songwriter and performer Jade Turner is this year’s recipient of the Kevin Walters Memorial Songwriter Award in recognition of her excellence in songwriting craft and numerous accolades, including the Fay Walker Song of the Year and Single of the Year at the 2023 Manitoba Country Music Awards with co-writer Crystal Shawanda, and her semi-finalist spot in SiriusXM’s Top of the Country project in 2024.

It’s an honour to share these awards with Keisha and Jade who each have a long relationship with Manitoba Music and deep dedication to supporting and uplifting their communities. Their passion, advocacy, determination, and community-building are an inspiration. The board celebrates all they have accomplished and looks forward to all that is to come. 

Vince Fontaine Legacy Award

The Indigenous Music Steering Committee at Manitoba Music presented the second recipient of The Vince Fontaine Legacy Award. Award-winning Red River Métis singer/songwriter Brandi Vezina has earned the honour this year. The award is sponsored by Manitoba Music and Manitoba Film & Music. The Vince Fontaine Legacy Award recognizes an emerging Indigenous artist or industry professional currently working towards a career in the music industry and is intended to contribute to their professional development. The award honours the indelible legacy of Vince Fontaine, who passed away in 2022. Brandi’s drive and passion for her music, amplifying her community, and inspiring others perfectly demonstrate Vince’s professional traits, values, and commitment. 


Keisha Booker
Kevin Walters Legacy Award 2024 Recipient

Since its inception in 2014, Soul Supreme has set out to curate events dedicated to pioneering the R&B music scene in Winnipeg, MB. Inserting soul into the city - Soul Supreme has filled a void in the local cultural landscape, offering a vibrant platform where artists, DJs, musicians, and visual artists converge to unleash their creativity. Each event features a curated lineup of live performers, DJs, and visual artists, providing a stage for diverse talents to shine.Led by Keisha Booker, a local black female artist and visionary, Soul Supreme serves as more than just a gathering—it's a vibe, an intention, and a labor of love dedicated to nurturing the relationship between community and art. It is a sanctuary for creatives to manifest their visions
and a haven for R&B lovers by R&B lovers.

Beyond entertainment, Soul Supreme is a catalyst for meaningful connections and cultural exchange, fostering a sense of belonging and empowerment within its community. Soul Supreme's impact extends far beyond Winnipeg, serving as a model for how art and culture can be used to build bridges, foster understanding, and create positive change. With its unwavering commitment to creativity, diversity, and community, Soul Supreme continues to shine as a beacon of love and inspiration.

Jade Turner
Kevin Walters Memorial Songwriter Award 2024 Recipient

2024 SiriusXM Top of the country semi finalist Jade Turner combines her fiery spirit and smooth vocals to bring a unique sound to the Canadian country music scene. Originally from Misipawistik Cree Nation (Grand Rapids, Manitoba), which is Cree for “Rushing Rapids”, Jade’s sound captures the same powerful and transformative flow of the force of water her home community is named for. Through her storytelling lyricism Jade offers insight into Indigenous ways of knowing and being and light-hearted reflections on the rollercoaster of life. Recognized for her songwriting and powerhouse vocals, she has established a diverse listening audience through her singles like “Hangover Blues,” “Stay Wild Child”,  “Deadweight” which won Song (writers) of the Year and Single of the Year at the 2023 Manitoba Country Music Awards and her latest “That Wind”.

Brandi Vezina
Vince Fontaine Legacy Award 2024 Recipient

Brandi Vezina is a Red River Metis singer/songwriter with roots intertwined with classic country and rock. She’s an MCMA award winning artist who writes & sings about what she knows, lives, and loves. 

Her recent single “Tornado in a Trailer” along with “Old Fashioned Values” are on Sirius XM’s Indigiverse and Top of the Country, Apple playlists Boots & Mocs, The Lodge, Indigenous Now and the Indigenous Music Countdown.

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