CIMA is facilitating a series of roundtable discussions on anti-Black racism in the Canadian music industry, presented in association with supporting partner ADVANCE, Canada’s new Black music business collective, and CIMA has invited peer and partner organizations from across the national music ecosystem to support the initiative. Initiated, curated, and co-ordinated in association with entertainment community mainstays Ian Andre Espinet and David “Click” Cox, these discussions will be centred in the voices and lived experiences of working Black music professionals from the vast segments of music entertainment.

All conversations will be Black-led, with the public, peer, and partner organizations and the industry invited to  listen, and challenge ways of thinking, explore unconscious bias, and examine the collective role played in perpetuating anti-Black racism in the music industry. These discussions on systemic and systematic anti-Black racism will seek to identify the structures and behaviours which facilitate it. In so doing, together, we can begin to confront, address, and dismantle existing racist structures and practices within the industry. After listening to the experiences and the lessons contained therein, the accumulated knowledge will be used to compile a report containing actionable  suggestions for change.

“Breaking Down Racial Barriers” takes place in 10 weekly Zoom roundtable discussions, each Tuesday at 1:00 p.m. ET,  beginning Aug. 4, 2020. Nine sessions will address key areas of the entertainment industry and barriers faced by Black people — with highlighted themes and key takeaways captured. The final segment will aggregate accumulated knowledge and create actionable solutions via the Breaking Down Racial Barriers report, which will be then shared with all peer and partner organizations, and the wider community, with the understanding that it can, if embraced, inform how policies and practices can and should be reformed. For more info, click here, and to register, click here.

The Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame is celebrating the induction of three TV theme songs co-written by Alan Thicke – Facts of Life, Diff’rent Strokes, and Wheel of Fortune – with a virtual presentation that will air nationally on Global’s The Morning Show from 9:00 to 10:00 a.m. on Friday, August 7, 2020.

Alan Thicke is best recognized as TV dad Jason Seaver on the hit situation comedy Growing Pains, but  his lifelong love of music has shaped a highly successful career behind the scenes, as he penning some of the most memorable television theme songs of all time. In fact, he had more than 40 television themes to his credit. Thicke wrote the Wheel of Fortune theme himself, and co-wrote the theme songs for both Facts of Life and Diff’rent Strokes with his first wife Gloria Loring and TV producer Al Burton.

Accepting the honour on behalf of his late father will be son Robin Thicke, the multi-platinum selling singer-songwriter best known for “Blurred Lines.” “The Thicke Family is honoured to accept this recognition on my father’s behalf,” says Robin Thicke. “My father was a proud Canadian, and although he was mostly known for his acting, hosting and philanthropic work, deep down he always wanted to be Gordon Lightfoot or Bruce Springsteen.”  He adds, “There’s no doubt that Alan would consider having his songs being inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame as one of his life’s greatest achievements. We’re sure he is playing his catalog for all his friends in Heaven right now. We love and miss you, Alan Thicke.”

“These three iconic theme songs that will be inducted to the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame harken to the halcyon days of ‘80s television, when sit-coms and game shows brought multi-generational families together in their living rooms,” said Vanessa Thomas, Executive Director of CSHF.  “Alan Thicke had a unique talent to create catchy, memorable songs that appeal to a mass audience, while concisely encapsulating the essence of a show. Each song became as popular as,  and synonymous with, its show, and as the characters and actors who starred in them.”

Alan Thicke recalled what it was like to compose theme songs during their heyday: “The challenge was, you have 24 seconds to do something catchy and memorable and sum up the entire premise of the show, in case somebody had never seen it before. You had to do it with an internal rhyme scheme and a perky little ditty – so it was an interesting challenge.”

Following the televised virtual presentation of Thicke’s song inductions, fans will be able to view the permanent exhibitions honouring CSHF inductees and song inductions at the National Music Centre, located at Studio Bell, in Calgary. The National Music Centre is the physical home of the Songwriters Hall of Fame and will continue to honour and preserve the legacy of new inductees through exhibitions which feature stories, exclusive artifacts, and one-of-a-kind memorabilia.

The votes are in! “The Spark,” written and performed by William Prince of Winnipeg has won the 15th annual English SOCAN Songwriting Prize, the most prestigious award for music creation as determined in a public vote.

Music fans from across Canada cast their votes from July 16 to 30 for the 10 finalist songs as determined by a panel of music experts.

In addition to the prestige of winning, William Prince receives the $5,000 first prize, a Yamaha Keyboard, and a $500 gift card from Long & McQuade.

“Songwriting has been a part of my life for so long. ‘The Spark’ goes back to my earliest days of learning how to communicate love and hope through music,” said William Prince. “Winning the SOCAN prize is terrific affirmation of the beginning of my life’s work, and motivation to keep working on the next chapters. Thank you to SOCAN and everyone that took time to vote.”

In a first in SOCAN Songwriting Prize history, each of the remaining nine nominated songs were awarded $500 for the songwriters.

With so many fantastic songs, at a time when music creators have been particularly hard hit by the effects of COVID-19, SOCAN decided to present cash prizes to all finalists, providing some timely relief for several of Canada’s most talented emerging songwriters.

“‘The Spark’ is an incredible song, and William Prince is an incredible and deserving talent,” said Jennifer Brown, interim CEO of SOCAN. “The SOCAN Songwriting Prize is about identifying and celebrating Canada’s next and best music creators, and the 2020 nominees are testament to that fact. This year, we’re thrilled to be able to monetarily award the excellence of all 10 nominees.”

Brad Wheeler, Globe and Mail music & arts journalist and SOCAN Songwriting Prize panelist had this to say about nominating “The Spark” for the prize:  “William Prince isn’t the first songwriter to use fire as a metaphor – Billy Joel started it, don’t let him tell you otherwise – and he won’t be the last. But ‘The Spark’ is gently consuming, with a natural rhythm that takes you by the hand and leads you down the path you need. It’s a love song. Maybe all of his songs are. This one’s built to last, though, with ‘our song’ possibilities.”

The SOCAN Songwriting Prize is the only major songwriting award in Canada where fans vote to determine the winner. Ten outstanding songs created by Canadian songwriters over the past year are nominated by a panel of 15 esteemed music industry experts. The general public is then invited to vote once a day for their favourite song for two weeks to determine the winner.

SOCAN plays no role in determining the nominees or winners, apart from ensuring that they are members of SOCAN. A mirroring competition for songs in French, the Prix de la chanson SOCAN, is conducted separately.

The winner of the Prix de la chanson SOCAN is “Maintenant ou jamais” – written by Félix Dyotte; published by Dare To Care; performed by Evelyne Brochu.

The other nine songs nominated in the English category were:

  • “#uvangattauq” – written by Rita Claire Mike-Murphy, Zahrah Ibrahim, Andrew Morrison; performed by Riit; published by Girl On A Horse, Aakuluk Music Inc.
  • “Breaking Down” – written by Meghan Meisters, Mary Beth Ancheta, Alex Mak; performed by iskwé; published by Hyvetown Music Inc.
  • “Grip” – written by Clairmont Humphrey II; performed by Clairmont The Second.
  • “Mind Games” – written by Lauren Isenberg, David Charles Fischer, Jeff Hazin, Matt Kahane; performed by renforshort.
  • “Mountain” – written by Scott Zhang; performed by
  • “Same Room” – written by JP Saxe, Ryan Marrone; performed by JP Saxe; published by SONY ATV Music Publishing Canada.
  • “Some Kinda Love” – written by Kira Huszar, Adam Pondang, Akeel Henry; performed by LOONY; published by Keys Open Doors, Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd. Canada.
  • “The Spark” – written by William Prince; performed by William Prince.
  • “Thinking ‘Bout Love” – written by Khalid Yassein, Robyn Dell’Unto; performed by Wild Rivers; published by Wild Rivers Ltd., Robyn Dell’Unto Music.
  • “Thirteen” – written by Haviah Mighty, Preston Chin, Tim Hill; performed by Haviah Mighty.

The 2019 winner of the SOCAN Songwriting Prize was grandson for “Blood//Water” written Chester Krupa Carbone, Kevin Hissink and Jordan Benjamin. Additional winners are available to view on the SOCAN Songwriting Prize website.