SOCAN member Cadence Weapon won the 2021 edition of the $50,000 Polaris Prize for the best album in Canada, on Sept. 27, 2021, in an online version of the event, broadcast online from a rented loft in downtown Toronto.

Cadence Weapon, Polaris Music Prize, 2021It was the veteran rapper’s third time on the short list, after Breaking Kayfabe in 2006 and Hope in Dirt City in 2012. His winning 2020 album – on which the 11-person Polaris Grand Jury agreed – is Parallel World, a work of strong social comment set to electronic beats and sounds, created in an urgent burst of activity in the wake of the racial reckoning touched off by the death of George Floyd.

“I was listening to Sly’s There’s a Riot Goin’ On, Public Enemy’s It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, The Clash’s Combat Rock, Gil Scott-Heron’s Winter in America, all kinds of political albums,” he said in an online press conference after his win, and added that he was trying to update that kind of content with the with the trap, grime, drill, and futuristic rap sounds that he makes.

Cadence Weapon (born Rollie Pemberton) accepted the award virtually, from last year’s winner, Backxwash. At the press conference, he seemed truly surprised and pleased, saying, “I feel like I’m dreaming.”  After a brief congratulatory call from his sister in New York at the beginning of his appearance, he said, “It was really emotional for me. To get to this point it was a lot of hard work… This is a really important thing.”

He also shouted out Edmonton, where he was born and raised; Montréal, where he lived and worked for many years; and his current hometown of Toronto.

Asked how he would spend the prize money, Cadence Weapon said he was going to start, or complete, a GoFundMe to support Black Business grants the Little Jamaica community in Toronto. “It was like, ‘How can I use my platform for positivity?’” he said.

The 16th annual edition of the Polaris celebration was hosted by CBC Music’s Angeline Tetteh-Wayoe, and featured CBC Music’s Jess Huddleston, Polaris jury members Michelle Da Silva and Calum Slingerland, and CBC Music Afterdark’s Odario Williams, playing and discussing music from the 10 finalists – as well as two spooky, intense song performances from Backxwash.

While Cadence Weapon received $50,000 for the win, the nine other short list nominees each received $3,000, courtesy of Slaight Music. The 2021 Polaris short list was:

  • Leanne Betasamosake Simpson – Theory of Ice
  • Cadence Weapon – Parallel World
  • DijahSB – Head Above The Waters
  • Dominique Fils-Aimé – Three Little Words
  • Mustafa – When Smoke Rises
  • The OBGMs – The Ends
  • Klô Pelgag – Notre-Dame-des-Sept-Douleurs 
  • TOBi – ELEMENTS Vol. 1
  • The Weather Station – Ignorance
  • Zoon – Bleached Wavves

SOCAN congratulates all of the nominees, and winner Cadence Weapon, on their great achievements!

Gala SPACQ 2021For its 16th edition, the SPACQ Foundation (Société professionnelle des auteurs et des compositeurs du Québec) unveiled the winners of its annual awards ceremony on Sept. 27, 2021, at the Imperial Theatre in Montréal. In total,16 prizes of $10,000 each were awarded to singers, songwriters, and composers on the Québec cultural scene. Louise Forestier hosted the event for a thirteenth year.

SOCAN, represented by its President of the Board of Directors Marc Ouellette, and Chief Membership Officer Jean-Christian Céré, presented Gaële with the Stéphane Venne Award for a non-performing songwriter. She receives this award for her body of work, well established over the years, thanks to her knack for the right word, a clever rhyme, and highly evocative images.

“Sixteen years already!” said Diane Juster, President of Fondation SPACQ. “Year after year, it’s always with renewed pleasure that Fondation SPACQ celebrates the accomplishments of authors and composers while gathering not only those creators, but businesspeople, broadcasters, and other major players in our musical ecosystem. The major changes in our industry are getting deeper and deeper, and have a major impact on the state of music creators. It is vital that we keep defending their interests, and stop the erosion of their rights. Thanks to the continued commitment of our partners, Fondation SPACQ is able to shine a light on, and recognize, the tremendous talent of our creators.”

SOCAN congratulates the 2021 winners:

PRIX ANDRÉ-DÉDÉ-FORTIN – Presented by Stingray
Budding Career

PRIX RICHARD GRÉGOIRE – Presented by Hydro-Québec
Film Music

PRIX BEAU DOMMAGE – Presented by RNC Média
Creative Bond


PRIX PAUL DARAÎCHE – Presented by Arsenal Média
Country Music

Writing for Others

PRIX ÉDITH BUTLER – Presented by Bell Média
Canadian Francophonie

PRIX DIANE JUSTER – Presented by Sirius
Social Involvement

PRIX ROBERT CHARLEBOIS – Presented by Power Corporation
International Success

PRIX EDDY-MARNAY – Presented by Productions Feeling

PRIX SYLVAIN-LELIÈVRE – Presented by Fiera Capital
Passing the Baton

PRIX LUCILLE-DUMONT – Presented by Industrielle Alliance

PRIX ANDRÉ GAGNON – Presented by Québecor
Instrumental Music

PRIX GILLES VIGNEAULT – Presented by the National Bank
Ongoing Career

PRIX LUC PLAMONDON – Presented by ICI Musique

Exceptional Imagination

The Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA) has announced its full list of nominees for the 2021 CCMA Awards, and The Reklaws are leading the race with six nominations.

Following closely behind, with five nominations apiece, are Lindsay Ell, Brett Kissel, and  Dallas Smith, while MacKenzie Porter, Tenille Townes, Jess Moskaluke, Dean Brody, and Tyler Joe Miller have each earned four, and High Valley have earned a trio of nominations.

The nominees for Songwriters of the Year are:

  • Patricia Conroy, Ester Dean, Andrew DeRoberts, Dave Haywood, Charles Kelley, Shane McAnally, Madeline Merlo, Tina Parol, Hillary Scott, Ryan Tedder, and Dave “Dwave” Thomson, for “Champagne Night,” performed by Lady A
  • Tenille Townes, Marc Beeson, and Daniel Tashian, for “Come As You Are,” performed by Tenille Townes
  • Aaron Goodvin, Ed Hill, and Jimmy Ritchey for “Every Time You Take Your Time,” performed by Aaron Goodvin
  • Lindsay Ell, Sam Ellis, and Micah Premnath, for “Good on You,” performed by Lindsay Ell
  • Jess Moskaluke, Zach Abend, and Liz Rose, for “Mapdot,” performed by Jess Moskaluke

The Entertainer of the Year Award will see Dean Brody, Brett Kissel, MacKenzie Porter, The Reklaws, and Dallas Smith vie for the honour.

Nominees for the Amazon Music and Alkexa Fans’ Choice Award are Tenille Arts, Dean Brody, Jade Eagleson, High Valley, Brett Kissel, Tyler Joe Miller, MacKenzie Porter, The Reklaws, Dallas Smith, and Tenille Townes.

This year’s CCMA Awards will be broadcast from London, Ontario, on Monday, Nov. 29, 2021. For more about the nominations, click here.