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ARTIST OF THE YEAR PRESENTRED B Y AMAZON MUSIC

Thank you to everyone who voted. Voting is now lcose. We hope you will join us for the WIM Canada Honours reveal, March 5, 2024. 

This honour recognizes a woman or gender diverse artist whose music demonstrates excellence with an exceptional year as a result of radio chart successes, media exposure, industry recognition, and/or touring success. Artists considered in this category may be at any stage of their music career, with success in the timeframe of the award eligibility being the primary measure of adjudication. Artists may only be honoured with this category once.

The recipient of this category will be selected from the shared results of jury and open voting by Women in Music Canada membership. 

FAWN WOOD

Award-winning Cree/Salish singer Fawn Wood sings with a voice that is deep and true. Infused with a feminine perspective, her Round Dance, Hand Game and traditional songs convey the strength of indigenous women. Titled with the Plains Cree word Kikāwiynaw meaning “our mother,” this collection of Fawn’s soul-tingling songs honors the female spirit. Native American Music Award Winner.

Fawn Wood is a role model for marginalized groups, such as indigenous women. She is a strong language and culture advocate and she expresses that through her music. She was the inaugural recipient of the traditional indigenous artist of the year for the Juno awards. Besides all of her accomplishments, she remains humble. Among controversy, Fawn has gracefully done her work in bringing traditional music to the world. Fawn speaks of helping build bridges through her music recognizing that the beautiful thing about music is its  universality.  She is proud when she can showcase her grassroots expressions to listeners of all walks of life and backgrounds.

Giving space to people like Fawn, holds space for the whole indigenous community. She takes pride in every aspect of recognition she has received and she love to lead our indigenous communities by example She wants to show the young people from a similar background as herself as possible being indigenous is something to be proud of being a woman is something to be proud of.

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FAWN WOOD ON AMAZON MUSIC

JESSIA

With over 375 million collective global streams, JUNO Award-winning pop songstress JESSIA has taken the music industry by storm, capturing the hearts of fans across the world with her raw talent, dazzling pop melodies, and heart-wrenching lyricism. 

Recent accolades:

  • 375 million streams
  • Toured Southeast Asia and Europe with OneRepublic in early 2023
  • Toured Canada with Dean Lewis for his sold-out dates in mid-2023
  • She’s performed at multiple major US festivals like Lollapalooza, Outside Lands, and Austin City Limits. - She won ‘Breakthrough Artist’ at the 2022 JUNO Awards Past support from SiriusXM, iHeart, and Billboard

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JESSIA ON AMAZON MUSIC

JESS MOSKALUKE

Jess Moskaluke released the Deluxe Edition of her fan-favourite A Small Town Christmas album on November 24th. The new edition features two new songs including the original holiday song, “Counting Down Christmas” which has been streaming at a rate of 20k streams per day and increasing! It has seen major U.S. and Canada playlist support on Spotify, Apple and Amazon Music.

On November 25th, Jess began the western Canadian leg of her popular Winter Wonderland Tour. The tour ties in with the re-release of her holiday album where fans will hear her perform Christmas essentials and her greatest hits. The tour has seen sold-out shows in Watson, SK, Saskatoon, SK, Regina, SK, and Brandon, MB, so far with more shows selling out as the tour goes on.

In October, Jess embarked on a successful cross-Canada radio jewelry tour where, in addition to the usual interviews, Jess personally applied permanent jewelry to a lucky contest winner at each stop. The contest saw over 800 entries (between two stations) in Saskatoon, 200 in Red Deer and 150 in Calgary, to name a few.

Jess released her latest EP, Heartbreaker, on September 29th and has gained over 13 million combined streams. The title track reached Top 10 at Canadian country radio. Her smash hit “Knock Off” has been certified gold. The video for “Not What Ya Think” has been one of her most creative offerings of late and includes unique live action elements and brightly coloured animations.

Jess Moskaluke has had a storied and very successful career. From JUNO Award wins for Country Album of the Year to numerous Canadian Country Music Association Award wins including 3 time CCMA Female Artist of the Year, Jess’ star continues to rise because of her amazing talent and ability to deliver great songs and live performances.

This honour will help to continue the story of Jess Moskaluke with our friends at Canadian Country radio and also with our streaming partners as we continue to release new Jess music around the world. Jess has broken through numerous ceilings as a female artist in this country and this honour would help speak to the numerous things she has been able to do including being honoured as a Woman in Music Canada.

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JESS MOSKALUKE ON AMAZON MUSIC

LU KALA

LU KALA is a bold, Canadian pop artist, taking the world by storm.

Selected achievements in 2023: 

  • LU KALA received her first Billboard Hot 100 entry in the US with her Latto collab “Lottery”
  • She was the Spotify Canada Equal ambassador for March for their Campaign for International women’s month co-curating Spotify’s Equal Canada Playlist.
  • Spotify also honoured her with billboards in Yonge-Dundas Square and Times Square in New York City.
  • She was featured as an Apple Music Up next artist in Canada.
  • Her viral hit single Pretty Girl Era has been used more than 339,000 times on TikTok and Instagram Reels.
  • She received her first top 10 at Top 40 and Adult Contemporary radio in Canada with her hit single Pretty Girl Era which also spent 15 weeks in the top 15 at Top 40 radio in Canada.
  • She received her second top 10 at top 40 radio in Canada with her Latto collaboration Lottery. She received her 3rd top 15 at Top 40 radio in Canada with her single Hotter Now.
  • LU KALA was selected to be part of the first class of TikTok’s emerging program Elevate repping Canada and shooting content commissioned by TikTok in the neighborhood she grew up in, Regent Park.
  • LU KALA won the emerging Artist Award at the 2023 Legacy Awards. She will be performing at TikTok’s first music festival in Arizona in December alongside Cardi B, Anitta and Charlie Puth, LU KALA was selected as one Vevo DSCVR’s artist to watch 2024.

This award would bring more awareness to LU KALA amplifying voice and showing women and girls feel like they can do the same, whatever the genre, no matter their race.

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LU KALA ON AMAZON MUSIC

THE BEACHES

Kylie, Jordan, Leandra, Eliza

The Beaches have had an incredible breakthrough year after getting dropped by their major label & American agents and firing their management. The Beaches had to rebuild everything from the ground up and take everything into their own hands.

Since then, The Beaches have written and released the best album they've done in their 10-year careers, "Blame My Ex". Released independently through AWAL, the lead single "Blame Brett" currently sits at 25million streams, spent 15 weeks at #1 at alternative radio, is currently #29 at Alternative Radio in America (and climbing), & in less than 6 months, is already gold in Canada. This success has also translated to their live business, selling out their worldwide tour in a matter of hours, including Toronto’s Massey Hall x2 (5400 tickets), Vancouver’s Orpheum (2750 tickets), Brooklyn’s Williamsburg Music Hall x2 (1300 tickets), Los Angeles’s Troubador x2 (1000 tickets) & London, UK’s Outernet (1300 tickets).

All of the success came from the band finally being in control of their own destiny, which is an absolute inspiration to young women in the industry.

This honour would further validate all success and hard work they worked for.

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THE BEACHES ON AMAZON MUSIC

TEGAN AND SARA

Propelled by the conviction of reinvention, Tegan and Sara’s 8th studio album, Love You To Death, is the latest sonic chapter in a celebrated 17-year career. Produced by Greg Kurstin (Adele, Sia, Beck, Ellie Goulding), Love You To Death delivers 10 new Tegan and Sara tracks more vibrant and visionary than ever.

Tegan and Sara explored a transcendent pop sheen for the first time on 2013’s Heartthrob, which deftly balanced critical acclaim with mainstream ambitions. They follow it up here with an equally explosive production, but one that casts darker shadows and lingers longer in the psyche. Taking a page from dramatic non-fiction, Love You To Death finds Tegan and Sara mining their own lives to investigate complex relationship dynamics. At one moment the subject is their own inescapable relationship as twin sisters (100x, White Knuckles), while at another it’s a romantic relationship that drives the protagonist to mournful regret (“That Girl”). Secret relationships (“Boyfriend”) give way to social judgment about passion and transience (“Faint of Heart”). Marriage is eloquently questioned as a barometer for commitment (“BWU”), while commitment itself is questioned with a deliberately self-conscious anti-love-song (“U-turn”). With each album their writing grows in precision and vulnerability, and differing lyrical voices continue to sharpen their respective identities – Tegan’s unapologetically clear word choice in evaluating romance (“Stop Desire”) is balanced by Sara’s poetic reflections on anxiety (“Hang on to the Night”).

Even as they’ve been embraced by the mainstream, Tegan and Sara consciously operate to the left of popular culture – their lyrical and social wisdom comes from an outside vantage looking in. Paradoxically, the essential message that underpins their worldview and identity is inclusion. So it is only fitting that these two self-described outsiders have ultimately found acceptance from such a diverse amalgamation of cultural forces. This is a band that can perform comfortably alongside Katy Perry or Neil Young, Taylor Swift or The Killers. You may have seen them in the dusty desert at Coachella or on the pristine stage at the Academy Awards. Few other contemporary artists can cross boundaries of genre and culture so effortlessly.

Twin sisters born in Calgary, Alberta and now residing in Vancouver, BC, Tegan and Sara’s career numbers are impressive – over 1 million albums sold, 7 Gold certifications, 1 Double Platinum certification, 3 Juno Awards, 2 Polaris Prize nominations, and a Grammy nomination. But even more impressive is the conviction that has driven Tegan and Sara’s relentless evolution as artists. Transitioning from acoustic roots to indie rock royalty in the mid 2000s, with widely-acclaimed albums So Jealous (2004) and The Con (2007), they began the path of reinvention that continues to inform their creative identity today.

If the highest intention of the artist is to self-actualize, Tegan and Sara have given their devoted audience the gift of a front-row seat to their lifelong process of evolution. Love You To Death, featuring the first single “Boyfriend,” will be released on Warner Bros. Records on June 3, 2016.

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TEGAN AND SARA ON AMAZON MUSIC

CHANGE MAKER OF THE YEAR presented by the National Arts Centre

This honours a woman or gender diverse industry member who is creating change through their leadership (aligning collective direction and motivating people toward strategic goals) and mentorship (supporting and sharing expertise with other women and gender diverse professionals to reach their goals). 

While the recipient may be a company owner, this is not a requirement and the recognition is intended specifically for their individual leadership initiative and successes. Active engagement with the music community should be visible on an ongoing basis. Testimonials, past achievements, and ongoing projects can all be included in this submission. Submissions will be juried primarily on professional activity occurring within one year of the submission deadline however long term initiative information may be submitted.

CHERYL HICKMAN

Opera on the Avalon

Cheryl Hickman’s stellar leadership in the opera world, alongside her commitment to inclusivity, equity, and innovation, make her an exceptional nominee for the Career Achievement Honour.

Trailblazing Leadership at Opera on the Avalon (OOTA): Cheryl’s foundation of OOTA has propelled opera into the 21st century. Productions like John Estacio and Robert Chafe’s "Ours" and Laura Kaminsky and Lisa Moore's "February" are a testament to her mission of delivering new, evocative repertoire that resonates with modern audiences.

Redefining Opera Narratives: Under Cheryl's guidance, OOTA has dedicated itself to changing the narrative for women, BIPOC artists, and other equity-deserving individuals. The commissioning of works like Dean Burry and Yvette Nolan’s "Shanawdithit" and The Rock Performs Digital Series highlights her commitment to bringing diverse stories and voices to the forefront.

Championing Diversity and Inclusion: Cheryl's imprint is palpable in OOTA’s vision, which emphasizes a community reflecting diverse art-making. For instance, Eastern Canada’s only comprehensive professional training program for Emerging Artists she established, sponsored by RBC’s emerging artists fund, champions diversity and empowers talents from around the globe.

Innovative and Inclusive Programming: Cheryl's audacious decision to produce operas like "Dead Man Walking", "Three Decembers", and "As One" demonstrates her belief in the modern relevance and cultural significance of these works for the people of Newfoundland and beyond.

Engaging Community and Civic Initiatives: The "Garden of Tears" public art installation, which saw patronage from esteemed figures like His Excellency, The Right Honourable David Johnston, showcases Cheryl’s genius in intertwining artistry with civic impact.

Relentless Advocacy for the Arts: Through her appointments in various boards like the Canada Council for the Arts, Association of Opera in Canada, and the City of St. John’s Arts Advisory Board, Cheryl has been pivotal in advocating for equity, diversity and inclusion in all cultural industries.

Empowering the Next Generation: Cheryl’s work with the Mentorship Program for Women Administrators at Opera America, her co-chair of the Women's Opera Network, and her role as mentor for the Opera Theatre of St. Louis Clayco Future Leaders Fellowship Program underlines her dedication to fostering young, diverse talents, especially from BIPOC backgrounds.

Accolades and Recognitions: Being thrice named one of the top 50 CEO's by Atlantic Business Magazine and her recent recognition as one of Atlantic Canada’s 25 Most Powerful Women in Business for 2023 highlights her impactful journey.

Commitment to Equitable Values: OOTA's mission and values, which underscore the power of art in creating flourishing, inclusive societies, mirror Cheryl's dedication to championing cultural equity and empowerment.

In essence, Cheryl Hickman’s vast achievements and groundbreaking work at Opera on the Avalon, combined with her unwavering commitment to inclusivity, equity, and representation, undeniably position her as an exemplary candidate for the Career Achievement Honour.

DIANE HELLSON

Rudegang Entertainment

Diana Hellson/Mamarudegyal MTHC and her work with Rudegang Entertainment has been helping BIPOC, LGBTQ2S+ and Women/Femme creators in the Music and Entertainment space to improve their own capacity and access to resources since 2014. She has achieved this via many means including grant writing for free, connecting musicians with thousands of dollars to create projects. Creating Free Music Videos, EPKs, Onesheets, and bios for many indigenous artists and Vancouver locals to improve their access to higher stake bookings.

Diana has held the role of Team Leader on many productions from Music Videos, Films and Virtual Performance Showcase where she has to budget and hire, and Diana always uses these opportunities to hire artists and crew from marginalized backgrounds, particularly Indigenous to give them access to wage and experience.

At this new stage of her career, Diana is currently piloting an Artist Development program (Music) and Career Development (Entertainment) with Rudegang Entertainment working with musicians, artists, models and photographers to build results based strategies to help them connect their career goals with real steps to achieve them.

Diana Hellson is also a Record Producer who is trusted by many hip hop artists to produce their songs, and to provide mock A&R sessions for artists preparing to release new projects. They zoom with Diana/Mamarudegyal MTHC and song by song, discuss possible improvements and positive highlights to increase release quality at the last possible opportunity. Diana has just completed a Mix/Master Mentorship with Monarch Studios through First People's Cultural Council.

ERIN BENJAMIN

Canadian Live Music Association

The very definition of "creating change through their leadership"; as CLMA President & CEO she has served as the indefatigable voice of Canada's live music industry, leading it through the darkest period in its history with fierceness, diplomacy, and incredible empathy, with industry members often citing her work as the reason their businesses survived the pandemic. During COVID, Erin and her team helped to provide new and expanded funding opportunities to live music, published "Closing the Gap: The impact and representation of Indigenous, Black, and People of Colour live music workers in Canada, and worked alongside adjacent industry association (like TIAC and Hotels Canada) to advocate for the hardest-hit sectors.

Says Cindy McLeod of Calgary Blues Festival, "You were a guiding light in a very dark  time and you brought us hope…. I’m SO proud to be a part of this community of courageous, resilient, creative, passionate people!".

Sarah Jarvis of Destination Toronto: "I would follow you to the end of the earth...and beyond. What a horrible two years for this industry, but how lucky the sector is to have you as it’s patron saint."

Greg Curtis of Tooth Blackner Presents: "Erin, you and all your team have shown what it means to be courageous and hardworking in extremely difficult circumstances.  I applaud and admire you and am extremely grateful for your presence."

In the last 12 months alone, Erin has accomplished much:

1. Advocacy: In a year of financial austerity and cabinet shuffling, Erin has maintained live music's position at the forefront of policymakers' minds. She has uplifted our industry as not only a key economic driver with spillover benefits to the tourism and hospitality industries, but as a vital provider of social and cultural expression and connection--things COVID-19 taught us not to take for granted. Erin has attended meetings, spoken at committees, sat on boards, and worked with other advocacy leaders (like TIAC) to advance the live music industry's interests.

2. Community-building: Erin and her team led key initiatives to connect the live industry with each other, with business opportunities, and with opportunities for recognition. The Next Stage is an event that visits Canadian music markets with a curated guest list of local corporate and live music leaders, bringing them together to explore opportunities to incorporate live music into their operations and opening new revenue pathways for live music orgs. The Canadian Live Music Industry Awards, in partnership with CMW, are the only event bringing together the Canadian live music industry to recognize and celebrate outstanding work in the sector; this year saw the induction of Bruce Cockburn and Riley O'Connor and was hosted by Digging Roots.

3. Future-building: Under Erin's leadership, the CLMA unveiled its new brand Live U, encompassing all of its professional development activities, ranging from prospective live music industry workers to management and leadership. The CLMA further partnered with Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion firms KOJO Institute and NVision Insight group to present Foundations of Equity and The Path cultural competency trainings to the live music industry. Erin has also supported the ongoing development of a network for young music workers across subsectors. All of these projects have been undertaken to help live music become the safe, inclusive, cutting-edge international leader it can be.

Erin's leadership has not only empowered the live music industry, but also the staff on her team. She is a passionate and empathetic supervisor who nurtures her staff as well as she does her industry.

Erin is a feminist, and has been a champion of women her whole career (and beyond). She has also been the catalyst of several outstanding women's careers in music.

To be honoured by women, for women, would be a career highlight for Erin Benjamin. 

She embodies everything that the "Change Maker of the Year" award is. 

SAM SLATTERY

CARAS / CAPITAL PRESENTS

Samantha has been working in the music industry throughout North America and the UK for almost two decades. Her career focused primarily on live music, working for promoters/festivals including Coachella, Virgin Festival, Reading / Leeds Music Festivals, All Points West, and Mumford & Sons Gentlemen of the Road Tour. In addition, Sam spent several years as a manager at Nettwerk Management’s UK office, working with major-label multi-platinum artists.

Sam iS the Founder of Women in Music Canada, one of the largest non-profits associations in the Canadian music industry as well as continuing her consulting role at the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts & Science (CARAS) and the JUNO Awards.

Sam holds numerous post-secondary qualifications, including a UK Graduate Diploma in Law, a Hon BA in Political Science from York University, as well as graduating from UCLA’s Music Business program, and most recently completing the Greener Festival Assessor Training from Falmouth University in the UK.

In addition, she regularly guest lectures at colleges and universities, serves on several boards, committees, and adjudication groups, and is a regular speaker at industry events including SXSW and Liverpool Sound City. She’s received multiple nominations for RBC Woman of Influence award as well as being among a handful of music entrepreneurs selected to participate in the Canadian-Europe music industry gender initiative Keychange.

STEPHANIE HUTCHINSON

National Music Centre / YYC Music Awards / Chronograph Records

Stephanie Hutchinson is recognized as one of the top music executives in western Canada. She passionately advocates for the local and regional music scene through her work as President and Program Director of the YYC Music Awards. This role was recognized in Fall 2022 by the Mayor’s Celebration for the Arts with the Mamdani Arts Leadership Award, an award for non-profit volunteer leaders in the Calgary arts community – Stephanie was the youngest women to ever receive the honour at age 38. Until recently, she curated and directed a $3 million dollar arts presentation portfolio at western Canada’s largest performing arts centre, Arts Commons and the Jack Singer Concert Hall. She’s recently moved over to the National Music Centre as their Director of Programs where she creates strategic programming and oversees the busy portfolios of live presentations, public programming, education, and artist residencies. She also runs JUNO Award-winning specialty record label, Chronograph Records, which elevates western Canadian musicians to the international stage. In November 2023, Stephanie was recognized as a Top 40 Under 40 by Avenue Magazine in Calgary for the incredible work she does for the music community. All while raising a young family!

The underlying theme of Stephanie’s career has been advocating for Western Canadian artists and our local scene at the national and international level. She is not an artist herself, but has spent 20 years working with them so she understands their needs and nuances, how they function and can speak their language, which has resulted in a high level of trust. She sees potential in musicians they can’t necessarily see themselves.

Through her work with the YYC Music Awards, every year she gives countless hours to help impact the careers of many Calgary-based musicians. Her goal in joining the team was to see increased transparency, respectability and appropriateness of the Awards. They operate with the utmost ethical standards, which is evidenced and achieved through separation of roles on the board to avoid any potential conflict of interest, as we have tight knit musical community. She expanded the jury pool to include many of her contacts including some of the top managers, publishers, publicists, distributors, and other industry members from across the country. This increased the discoverability of local artists to national decision-makers immensely, and also brought up the level of standards to where our community can be proud to be acknowledged. The impact of winning a YYC Music Award has been evidenced over the years, from starting with the emerging artist awards, to winning genre and artistic awards – and then moving on to win Western Canadian, JUNO and international awards. She has had the pleasure of watching immense career growth in musicians, that began through our local award platform.

At Arts Commons, the impact of the programming she curated and oversaw leaves a lasting legacy in our city. Her vision there was to connect international artists with the ears and hearts of Calgarians through community participation, artistic outreach, and arts education. Not only do these artists leave pieces of themselves here in our city through performances and workshops, they take many experiences and connections back home to foster their own further artistic practice. She would receive regular feedback from traveling artists that working with her portfolio was one of the best performance experiences they’ve had. Throughout the pandemic, she crafted vision and planning statements that secured more than $400,000 in government presenting funding for live and digital, and undertook the resulting programming that put hundreds of artists and arts workers to work to bring musical performances to audiences in new ways.

Now at the National Music Centre (NMC), Stephanie can make an even bigger impact on the local and Canadian music communities and music-loving public. Her passion shows through growing the education portfolio with the goal of seeing every Calgary student come through the museum and classroom facilities at least once during their school years. Her experience in many facets of the music industry allows her to breathe new ideas and life into creating new programming strategies that connect with the changing exhibits and new Hall of Fame inductees and displays. This is only the beginning for her in creating meaningful and memorable experiences for artists and NMC guests! 

Throughout her work in grant-writing, she has won a cumulative of more than $1.5 million dollars for artists across the country and Alberta non-profits. In addition to working with artists and independent musicians, Stephanie has secured funding for organizations focussing on youth work in music, such as the Alberta International Band Festival, Calgary Stampede Showband, Calgary Stetsons Show Band, and Calgary Round-up Band, and more. This funding has allowed these incredibly important organizations to provide music education and performance experiences to more than 10,000 students to nurture the next generation of musicians.

Her record label that she co-founded, Chronograph Records, was started to give a voice to jazz musicians from the Prairies when no one else was. Twenty years later, the label has released more than 100 Prairie-led projects to international markets. She is also regularly called on by local artists and organizations to offer mentorship and career guidance. For example, she’s spoken on panel presentations for the JUNO Awards, the Western Canadian Music Awards, and Alberta Music. One local artist she mentors has gone from studying music abroad, to composing new music, to becoming a Canada Council for the Arts funded artist, to winning awards for her music. It gives her great joy to see artists realize their dreams of creating and disseminating world-class music from right here in our city.