Bands and singer-songwriters from Canada’s French-speaking and Indigenous communities have until 8:00 a.m. on Nov. 10, 2023, to submit their applications on the Francouvertes website in the hope of being one of the 21 contestants in the upcoming cohort.

The competition runs from March 11 to May 15, 2024, at Lion d’Or, Club Soda, and online. The artists will perform their original compositions in front of a live audience. The spokespersons for this 28th edition are Lou-Adriane Cassidy (a previous finalist) and Thierry Larose (a previous semi-finalist).

 Whatever their musical style, Francouvertes participants benefit from a prime showcase, presenting their songs to new audiences, the media, and various industry representatives. For the first time this year, thanks to the contribution of SiriusXM, a one-time amount of $500 in production assistance will be awarded to each participating act. Also new, changes to the rules relating to entries have recently been made to make the competition more accessible to artists who haven’t widely marketed their songs. Finally, an important new feature concerning the event’s online broadcast will be announced during the inaugural evening, and it promises greater visibility for artists, and wider availability to the public.

By participating in the Francouvertes, artists will have the chance to partake of an experience that’s rich in artistic and professional meetings. In addition, there are opportunities for cash prizes – including the $15,000 SiriusXM cash prize – studio time, promotional and professional support, paid performances in major venues, and performances at major events.

Francouvertes is a competition that takes place in three stages: the preliminaries, the semi-finals, and the finals, totalling more than 11 nights, with three artists presented per night. To find out more, access

Enthusiasm ran high as the Francophone country music community from Québec and Canada gathered on Oct. 26, 2023, for the 10th annual edition of the Gala Country, held this year at Club Soda in Montréal. Hosted by country singer Guylaine Tanguay, the gala presented 14 Willie Awards to artists and projects that stood out over the past year, and offered a variety of musical performances.

Sandrine Hebert, Gala Country, 2023

Sandrine Hébert

SiriusXM offered a $1,500 cash prize to Véronique Labbé, who won the Album of the Year – Classic Country Award, and  a $1,500 cash prize to Francis Degrandpré, who won in the Album of the Year – Contemporary Country category – as well as winning the $2,000 cash prize for the Song of the Year Award. Degrandpré also won the Songwriter of the Year Willie Award, confirming him as the “winningest” artist of the Gala. Sandrine Hébert walked away with two trophies, one for the Breakthrough Artist of the Year and the Public Choice Award while the band Lendemain de veille also won two trophies, in the Duo or Band of the Year and Live Show of the Year categories.

As for the performances that punctuated the evening, gala host Guylaine Tanguay paid tribute to Willie Lamothe with “Elle va revenir, mon amour,” the very first French song to reach Nashville’s hallowed Grand Ole Opry, in 1974. Laurence St-Martin and Véronique Labbé then performed a medley from the album Honky Tonk Bar. Another tribute was paid to Renée Martel by Paul Daraîche and Cindy Bédard, who moved the audience with “Contre Vents et marées.” New country sensation Phil Lauzon performed his song “Because of Yours.” For the closing number of this 10th edition of the Gala Country, the Grande Ourse collective – Andie Therio, Brittany Kennell, Fred Dionne, Guillaume Lafond, Phil G. Smith, Vince Lemire, and Francis Degrandpré – gathered onstage to perform some of their original compositions, as well as songs from their respective repertoires.

Complete List of Winners

Songwriter of the Year
Francis Degrandpré

Song of the Year
“Bang Bang”
Performer: Francis Degrandpré
Songwriter: Vince Lemire

Album of the Year- Classic Country
Véronique LabbéHonky Tonk Bar

Album of the Year – Contemporary Country
Francis DegrandpréSoir de quai

Album of the Year – Other Languages
Phil LauzonPhil Lauzon

Duo or Group of the Year
Lendemain de veille

Female Artist of the Year
Annie Blanchard

Male Artist of the Year
Matt Lang

Breakthrough Artist of the Year
Sandrine Hébert 

Live Show of the Year
Lendemain de veille

Promoter of the Year
LASSO Montréal

Radio Show of the Year
Cormier Hot Franco, hosted by Stéphane Cormier

TV Show of the Year
Aller-retour Country, hosted by Karo Laurendeau

Public Choice Award
Sandrine Hébert

AHI, FMO 2023

Photo: Daniel Motta/FMO

Folk Music Ontario (FMO) and SOCAN presented a songwriting masterclass with AHI on Sunday, Oct. 15, 2023, during the FMO Conference, at the Doubletree by Hilton in London, Ontario.

From charting on Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon, to delivering captivating performances on CBS This Morning & NPR Tiny Desk Concerts (both in the U.S.) and touring internationally with Mandy Moore and Milow for his latest album Prospect, AHI has amassed more than 80 million streams worldwide in a few short years.

AHI offered stories from his life, and insights into the art and craft of his songwriting, in a conversation with SOCAN Creative Executive Houtan Hodania. He discussed what inspired him to become a songwriter; growing up in a multi-cultural environment like Brampton, and how it influenced his songwriting; his tour with Mandy Moore; how to navigate specific songwriting communities, like Nashville; his songwriting process, and how he approaches songwriting from scratch; and what he believes makes a song truly stand out and connect with listeners on a deep level.

Among the SOCAN members officially showcasing at the 2023 edition were Kaia Kater, Ammoye, Tara McLean, Aleksi Campagne, Barbra Lica, Adrian Sutherland, Onion Honey, Rory Taillon, Meredith Moon, The Bombadils, Lonesome Ace, Quote The Raven, Brooke Blackburn, The Pairs, The Barrel Boys, Twin Flames, David Laronde, Steph Larochelle, Pressgang Mutiny, and Sarah Jane Scouten.