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June 15, 2013

Spotlight Shines on Canadians – A Look at the Canadian Music Industry

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Written by: CT
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bobby crma

The line outside of Toronto’s Koolhaus stretches down the street. Fans holding posters in anticipation blare music from their iPods, squealing at the thought of hearing the artists perform live in just a few hours. Inside, the green room is bustling with activity. Musicians, managers, and industry executives mingle while journalists prepare and set up. The atmosphere radiates warmth and understanding, it is a night of coming together for one sole purpose: to celebrate the talent of Canadian artists young and old. This year’s Canadian Radio Music Awards took place on March 20th. It is a much-anticipated event that highlights the accomplishments of Canadians, awarding people of different genres for their radio success.
Although today Canada’s entertainment world is thriving, it was not always so. It has been a long journey for Canadians to make their mark and get the recognition that they deserve. As a journalist covering the event that night, I was presented with the exciting opportunity to chat with the one and only Bobby Curtola, one of Canada’s pioneering artists who paved the way for future generations of talented musicians. “We lived in the shadow of America for all those years”, Curtola says. “And we all thought that we had to work harder to get there. And because of how we felt…what happened to the Canadian music industry is unbelievable, the Canadian artists that are now accepted around the world is because of the work ethic that we have as Canadians to just try harder.” Bobby knows first hand how hard it can be to break into the industry, but eventually his hard work paid off and he was able to see results. “I was very proud to be a part of the first pioneering (artists)…to actually go coast to coast and have radio support…it was a great time in my life.”

At the time of Bobby’s immense success, organizations like the Juno Awards, dedicated solely towards Canadians, did not yet exist. In 1966, Bobby became the first Canadian to have an album go gold, and received the RPM Gold Leaf Award. This award, in later years, went on to become known as a Juno Award. Although it was a difficult start, one could say that the spotlight is now shining brightly on Canada with artists like Justin Bieber, Drake and Carly Rae Jepsen breaking out internationally. The eyes and ears of the world are upon us, hearing what we’ve got to say and looking out for who we’ve got to present next. Says Bobby, “ To me it’s so interesting that the world has come to Canada…Usually, in years gone by, it was us trying to get into those other markets but they’re all here now…It’s a whole different time for the artists of our country.”
Several artists voiced their opinions that night on what being a Canadian musician truly means. According to eighteen-year-old singer/songwriter Victoria Duffield, “Canada just has so much love.” The music industry here, she says, is such a big part of people’s lives. “Canadian Music Week is great to just celebrate…everyone’s love for music, whether it’s writers, producers, performers…or the fans. We’re all a part of it.”

Canadians are recognized globally as being caring individuals. Dallas Smith, a country artist also known as the lead singer of rock band Default, supports this thesis. “We’ve always tried to be involved in anything supporting Canadian troupes, we went out to Afghanistan and played for them.” According to Jason Parsons from the band USS, to be Canadian is to be humble. He states that as a “little 2-piece rock and roll band” that gets played on alternative radio stations, being asked to perform at an awards show along with top 40’s sensation Massari and Marianas Trench, who are now going global, embodies the humility which is to be Canadian.

Events like Canadian Music Week bring everyone together, no matter what level they are at. Adds pop singer Shawn Hook, “Up here it seems like everyone’s got each other’s back which I think is so important…I love that about Canada.” He states that the camaraderie among artists and the community feel is something unique to Canada. “I’ve spent a lot of time in L.A. and that vibe isn’t there.” A general sense of belonging seems to be a recurring theme when discussing Canada with the artists. “I really love everything our country stands for,” says singer Jesse Labelle. “It feels good to be from somewhere where I feel like I belong.” He mentions the joy of touring across the country, crediting his success to the love and support he receives from his fans here.

Canadians are caring, passionate, ambitious and hard-working people. It is very exciting that the world is finally looking at what Canada has to offer. During his interview, newcomer and winner of “Mainstream AC”, Scotty James states “It’s great music, a lot of great talent has come from here…” As Curtola puts it, “The talent has always been here, but there are so many artists that have really ended up belonging to the world that were really born and raised in Canada and were ours first but now they belong to everybody else too.” Many international labels are now coming to Canada to scout new talent to add to their roster. Many distribution deals are being made between Canadian labels and international ones, helping spread Canadian music globally. Canadians now more than ever, are having the opportunity to make a huge impact on the world. Curtola can barely contain his excitement, “If you’re dreaming about being in the music business, now’s the time…People from all over the world are coming, looking for artists.” So what’s coming up next for you, I ask. “I’m looking at management and getting more involved in artist development and television…” In 2014 Curtola will be heading out on a cruise and is inviting fans to join him. He will be hosting a cocktail party and performing on board. “I’m still doing what I love to do”, he says with a big smile. “I’m still singing in the casinos.” Now that’s staying power.

Check out our interviews from the CRMA’s! (Click on the arrows to jump from one video to the next).

Visit our youtube channel here for more footage with your favourite Canadian artists!

Canadian Music Week 2014 will take place May 6-10th, stay tuned for more news: http://cmw.net/






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