Most of SOCAN’s Communications & Marketing team spent the nights of May 14 and 15, 2022, sequestered in the media room of the JUNO Awards Galas, where most of the winners come after they win, to reply to questions from Canadian music journalists, videographers, online reporters, and so on. Here’s what some of them said…

Alternative Album of the Year winner Mustafa, on how he met Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens) and what it meant to him
“Yusuf Islam/Cat Stevens [is] probably the most significant artist that I was able to listen to, growing up, especially when thinking about how I was going to present myself, as an artist, to the world. Thinking about how Cat Stevens became a legend in his own right, as a folk artist, and then embraced Islam, and became one of the most significant Nasheed [Islamic devotional song] artists in the Muslim community, is always baffling to me.

“We began by writing letters to each other. I wrote him a letter about how much I loved Tea for the Tillerman, and all of the records that he released, Catch Bull at Four, and he responded to me, and encouraged me in my pathway as a Muslim, and my pathway as a folk artist.

“Then [Gucci luxury fashion house] Bottega Veneta reached out to me to do a three-day event in Dubai, and I was speaking to Cat Stevens’ son, who told me that he was going to be present at that time, and so we actually broke fast with each other for a few days. He told me stories about what it was like for him to tour with Jimi Hendrix, and how he found and embraced Islam.

“It was the first time in my life that I was able to enter a household where someone was able to practice Islam and music with a devotional quality, with grandkids. I never imagined what my life could look like at 70, but for the first time, two months ago, I was able to do that. So, I think it’s a thing that will stay with me forever.”

Haviah Mighty, on making history as the first woman, and first Black woman, to win in the Rap/R&B Album category, for Stock Exchange
“Being in hip-hop and being a woman, and being a Black woman at that, was not the normality, through performing, and people being, like, “Wow, you’re really good for a girl. Wasn’t expecting that.” It was like a blessing and a curse for me… I could astound people ‘cause they expected so much less, but at the same time I recognized that changing the narrative of those lowered expectations was a part of my journey, and a part of what I represent.

“And I would say to other women like me, who are trying to carve their own path, and knock down these doors, to surround themselves with people who don’t upkeep that negative rhetoric, or put them in a box, where they themselves internally feel that they can’t occupy that space – because society will continue and continue to remind you that you’re not the chosen prototype for those spaces… I remind myself constantly, and have a great team that reminds me constantly, that there is no barrier, despite what society says.”

Allison Russell, on winning the Contemporary Roots Album JUNO Award for a record with so much vulnerability
“Never in a thousand years would I have dreamt that this record would be the one that connects in the way that it has, and [had] the kind of moment that has coalesced around it, and the kind of support that has coalesced around it, from all sorts of people… Thank you to the Canada Council. The reason the record was made was because Kaia Kater’s mom, Tamara Kater, encouraged me to apply for a writing and demo grant, an exploratory grant. And that was enough to book four days at The Sound Emporium in Nashville and record Outside Child… I’m so grateful. I’ve had the sense all night tonight of just how unique and supportive and beautiful our Canadian arts community is… I feel really and deeply honoured to be part of this community… I have been a Canadian artist writing for over 20 years, but it took me a long time to step into writing my own story, and to be recognized for that is quite stunning and very healing.”

JUNO Gala performers Snotty Nose Rez Kids, on expanding into other genres
Darren Metz (Young D): “The more the merrier. We’re always pushing each other to grow, not only as human beings, but as artists. We don’t ever want to get complacent, we want to keep pushing boundaries, and creating that space.”
Quentin Nyce (Yung Trybz): “I kind of want to work with metal artists, and I kind of want to dabble in a little bit of country, I’m not gonna lie.”
Darren Metz (Young D): “The list goes on. Me personally, I’m a huge fan of disco. It’s got me through a lot of the pandemic. It’s hard to be sad when you listen to disco… Whenever I need to clean my house, I just put on my disco playlist.”

Traditional R&B/Soul Recording winner (for the second consecutive year) Savannah Ré, on receiving support from SOCAN throughout her career
“Both me, and my husband Yogi the Producer, from the very beginning, SOCAN welcomed us in. Before we even dropped a project… they always breathed such life into what we were doing. And supporting us in many ways; finances, shows, anything that they could. SOCAN has been really integral to my career.”