Carleton Stone is a young singer-songwriter from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. After releasing a Nova Scotia Music Award-nominated debut in 2009, Stone met fellow Canadian songwriter Hawksley Workman, with whom he soon founded a new creative partnership. With Workman in the role of producer, his self-titled, second album was released to critical acclaim in 2011, and since then has taken home the Best Rock Recording award at the Nova Scotia Music Awards.

His third album, Draws Blood was released in March 2014, and was co-produced by Jason Collett and Howie Beck (producer for fellow Canadian artists Feist, Hayden and Sarah Harmer).

“So far I’ve been lucky enough to work with some of my heroes,” says Stone. “I can’t wait to start playing shows again and introducing these new songs to audiences.” His songs have appeared in television shows like NBC’s Saving Hope and CBC’s Being Erica, and he’ll be touring throughout 2014.

Hard-rocking pop powerhouse Rykka (aka, BC-born, Swiss-Canadian singer Christina Maria) is one to keep an eye on in 2014. Her latest album, Kodiak was released to critical acclaim in 2013. Produced by Ryan Guldemond (Mother, Mother), it marks a move into a more aggressive hard rock territory that has become Rykka’s new sound.

“It was a natural progression,” says Rykka. “It took a year of writing in a faraway place to evolve into the more aggressive kind of sound of Kodiak… It’s written from an animal perspective. I decided to work with this concept to strengthen my songwriting skills, and as an answer to living in a world where hurting the environment is a cultural norm.”

In 2013 Rykka took home the $102,700 grand prize in the Peak Performance Project run by Vancouver’s Peak 102.7 radio station. She has since toured both Canada and Europe, and she’ll be recording her next album in 2014, before another tour.

Formed nearly 30 years ago, the Scottish Cultural Centre, in Vancouver, is home to the United Scottish Cultural Society and convention centre. With dozens of events held annually, it’s no wonder they attribute their success mostly to word-of-mouth referrals.

Their success can also be credited to the medley of music that’s performed and heard at the many, varied events held in the Centre; from weddings and family gatherings to concerts and other special affairs. The Caledonian Room, the largest at the Centre, houses a full stage with an unhampered surround-sound system, where background music has put an extra step in the Gaelic and Highland dance performances. The Centre also strongly recognizes Vancouver’s music community by hiring local talent for their many live performances. “By drawing on local talent, we’re fostering the development of further talent,” says General Manager Darryl Carracher.

The Centre is one of 30,000 brick-and-mortar licensees to proudly display SOCAN’s badge of honour. “The Licensed to Play sticker states loud and clear that the Scottish Cultural Centre is in full compliance with the mandate to support Canadian musicians and music creators, and does what everyone knows is right,” says Carracher.

“We encourage our partners in business, SOCAN’s music licensees, to proudly display the Licensed to Play sticker; to tell the rest of Canada that music is making a difference in your business,” says Jennifer Brown, Vice President of Licensing at SOCAN.

SOCAN licenses more than 125,000 businesses in Canada – businesses that recognize the contribution music is making to their overall success.

“Music is essential,” says Carracher. “Whether it’s played in the background during a relaxing fundraising dinner or a wedding reception, or it’s the main attraction of an exhilarating, high-energy rock concert, music contributes in a substantive and undeniably meaningful way – even on a subconscious level – to the tone of nearly every event at the Scottish Cultural Centre.”

To learn more and become Licensed to Play, click here.