The ongoing pandemic provided a rather unusual ADISQ Gala for 2020. Place des Arts, where the gala is usually held, was empty this year. Instead, the host, Louis-José Houde, moved from studio 42 to studio 43 of Radio-Canada to give out the 12 Félix awards on Nov. 1, 2020, in front of a distanced crowd comprised strictly of the finalists for those trophies. Les Cowboys Fringants continued as they did in the previous Premier Gala, and walked away with the Félix awards for both Song (for “L’Amérique pleure”) and Group of the Year, bringing their total 2020 tally to five, a number that hadn’t been reached since Jean Leloup did so in 2015.

Another SOCAN member, Louis-Jean Cormier, also won two trophies, the first for Adult Contemporary album of the year for Quand la nuit tombe, and the prestigious Author or Composer of the Year honour, which he shared with his collaborators Daniel Beaumont, Alan Côté, and David Goudreault. We spoke with him after the gala, during a break from work at his studio.

Among the other winners of the evening were Alexandra Stréliski, who won Female Artist of the Year, the first time an instrumental artist has won in this category. The Revelation of the Year went to Eli Rose, who stressed how important her participation in the 2016 edition of the Kenekt Québec song camp was, at a time where she was considering quitting music altogether. The indomitable Robert Charlebois won the Show of the Year Félix for Robert en CharleboisScope. Marc Dupré won Pop Album of the year for Rien ne se perd, the rap trophy went to KNLO for Sainte-Foy, and the folk one to Jean Leloup for L’étrange pays.

Finally, Émile Bilodeau won the Félix for Male Artist of the Year, while Élisapie won the second edition of the Native Artist of the year, after Florent Vollant who won the inaugural one last year.

The gala also offered memorable performances from SOCAN members 2Frères, Anachnid, Bleu Jeans Bleu, Eli Rose, Evelyne Brochu, Flore Laurentienne, Isabelle Boulay, KNLO, Les Cowboys Fringants, Louis-Jean Cormier, Marc Dupré, Marie-Pierre Arthur, Matt Holubowski, Naya Ali, and Pierre Lapointe.

For a complete list of the winners of all the ADISQ galas, click here.

Valence, Vincent DufourAfter conquering a series of difficulties created by the current pandemic, the 2020 Grand Final of the Les Francouvertes competition finally took place at Montréal’s Lion d’Or, almost six months later than in previous years. The Québec City singer-songwriter Valence took top honours, and was presented with the $10,000 SiriusXM cash prize, and various and sundry other awards. Vincent Dufour’s retro-kitsch, often swinging, sound also won the band the SOCAN-sponsored $1,000 Paroles & Musique Award, which comes with a free songwriting residence at either the Paris, France, or Nashville SOCAN House.

In second position was Narcisse, also from Québec City, with a musically and visually daring entry, while singer-songwriter Ariane Roy (also from Québec City) took the third spot. The industry jury included SOCAN A&R Representative Widney Bonfils, and people were invited to attend the awards ceremony from the comfort of their own homes.

The show opened on a joint performance starring the event spokespersons, Laurence Nerbonne and Émile Bilodeau.

For a complete list of the 2019 Francouvertes winners, go to the event website.

The Les Francouvertes final was broadcast live online, but viewers will be able to catch a special broadcast of the full evening on Influence Franco – SiriusXM 174 on Wednesday, Nov. 11, from 12:00 noon ET (as well as on Friday, Nov. 13, from 6:00 p.m. ET).

SOCAN warmly congratulates Valence for this major victory in its young career.

SOCAN has announced the departure of Chief Membership & Business Development Officer Michael McCarty, effective Nov. 30, 2020. After that, he’ll provide consulting services for the organization until April 2021, assisting with the transition to the Membership department’s future leadership and structure.

“We thank Michael McCarty for his leadership, creativity, and commitment to our members over the past seven years,” said Jennifer Brown, Interim CEO of SOCAN. “During this time, he has transformed our Membership services and strategy, built one of the strongest member bases in our industry, and helped to change our company culture to being even more optimistic and leading-edge, serving music creators and publishers in Canada and around the world.”

McCarty has a 40 -year career in the music industry. Before becoming SOCAN’s Chief Membership & Business Development Officer in 2013, he was president of EMI Music Publishing Canada for 17 years and contributed many years of service as a member of the SOCAN Board of Directors.

“One of the great joys of my job has been to work with a strong team of people dedicated to a single cause – serving our members,” McCarty said. “I will always be proud of our accomplishments and the journey we took together, improving the recruitment and retention of members and impacting the culture and business of SOCAN. I want to thank everyone at SOCAN for their support, advice and help in achieving our mandate.”

In 2019, Michael McCarty was inducted into the Canadian Music & Broadcast Industry Hall of Fame.