CRi, ADISQ 2021


It was almost back to business as usual on Sunday, Nov. 7, 2021, when the Gala de l’ADISQ was presented before a live audience in Montréal’s Place des Arts. SOCAN member Klô Pelgag continued her skyrocketing trajectory by winning her second Songwriter of the Year award, and the trophy for the Online Show of the Year – Francophone, which, in addition to the awards she won during the Premier Gala, brought her total to six. That makes her the only other artist to win six “artistic” trophies in a single year, alongside Céline Dion.

Roxane Bruneau also won two honours, Song of the Year for “À ma manière” (co-written with Mathieu Brisset and published by Les Éditions Musique Variole enr.) and Female Artist of the Year, for a total of four awards in both galas.

One big surprise was the victory of CRi as Breakout Artist of the Year category, making him the first electronic music artist to win in that category. FouKi also defied all expectations by winning the Male Artist of the Year Award, while veteran rapper Connaisseur Ticaso won for Rap Album of the Year, his first Félix, but he wasn’t on hand to receive it.

Many were also surprised to see Alex Burger win Country Album of the Year for Sweet Montérégie, ahead of established artists like Irvin Blais and relative newcomers Émilie Daraîche and Léa Jarry. This award marks Burger’s arrival in the Québec country community with a bang, after being mostly known for his work in the rock realm, so far.

Louis-Jean Cormier, ADISQ 2021

Louis-Jean Cormier

Louis-Jean Cormier won the Album of the Year – Adult Contemporary award for Le ciel est au plancher, while veteran Daniel Bélanger won in the Instrumental Album of the Year category for Travelling. One victory that wasn’t a surprise was that of Cowboys Fringants in the Group of the Year category.

The gala offered viewers many wonderful performances by SOCAN members Alex Burger, Angèle Dubeau & La Pietà, Charlotte Cardin, CRi, Damien Robitaille, David Goudreault, Dominique Fils-Aimé, Élage Diouf, FouKi, Guylaine Tanguay, Irvin Blais, Klô Pelgag, Léa Jarry, Roxane Bruneau, Scott-Pien Picard, Simon Leoza, and Vincent Vallières.

For a complete list of winners, visit the ADISQ website.

Singer-songwriter, recording artist, screen composer, and classical composer Sarah Slean has joined SOCAN’s Board of Directors, after a seat was vacated by the departure of Damhnait Doyle, who decided that a new career opportunity would not allow her enough time to fulfill her duties.
Slean is a four-time JUNO and two-time Gemini Award nominee, who’s written and released 11 albums in more than 10 countries as a songwriter and recording artist, but the most unique aspect of her artistry is its breadth.

Over her 25-year career, she’s performed internationally with world-renowned artists such as Rufus Wainwright, Alanis Morrisette and Feist; shared the stage with dozens of professional orchestras; composed award-winning chamber music; written orchestral arrangements for Dan Mangan, James Ehnes and Hawksley Workman; scored music for the screen (Hospital ShowUndeniably Young); created songs for television (CTV’s Cardinal); and is currently working on the stage adaptation of the Canadian Screen Award-winning film Maudie.

She’s a graduate of the Canadian Film Centre’s Composing Residency, and her TV work includes the second season of Detention Adventure for CBC/HBO (alongside Ari Posner and Amin Bhatia), for which they earned a Canadian Screen Award for Best Original Music, Fiction. Her most recent recognition was a JUNO Award nomination for the Best Classical Album: Choral or Vocal.

“SOCAN is arguably the most important music organization in this country, and I’m truly excited to join the board at such a pivotal moment in its evolution,” said Slean. “As a lifelong artist with 25 years’ experience in a variety of musical worlds, I hope to bring a unique and artist-focused perspective to the work ahead. Over those 25 years, I experienced the total digital transformation of the music ecosystem in real time, but no matter how swiftly the tech changes, artists are, and will always be the lifeblood of our industry. I’m passionate about helping SOCAN develop new and better ways to serve them. I look forward to collaborating with my excellent colleagues on the board and thank the voting members for their trust.”

Slean’s appointment was a result of the most recent SOCAN Board election results, and in accordance with the company’s bylaws.

“It’s been an honour to serve Canadian songwriters and their concerns the last three-and-a-half years,” said Doyle. “I’m departing the board to join the CBC Music team, and as sad as I am to leave SOCAN, I’m thrilled that Sarah Slean is joining. I know she’ll be an excellent addition to the board. I also have enormous faith in SOCAN CEO Jennifer Brown, and her vision for the future of the company. SOCAN’s future is bright.”

Said SOCAN Board of Directors President Marc Ouellette, “Despite her departure, SOCAN’s Board colleagues are both delighted with the new career opportunities that are taking place for Damnhait, and also very pleased and motivated to welcome renowned songwriter Sarah Slean into their ranks.”

Folk Music Ontario and SOCAN will present a songwriting masterclass with Allison Russell on Nov. 16, 2021, online via Zoom, to a limited audience that signs up for the event.  

On her debut album Outside Child, Russell – now based in Nashville – reclaimed her story of being an abused child who found her lifeline in her hometown of Montréal. Russell moved to Vancouver when she came of age, where she had her first experiences as a professional musician, co-founding the band Po’Girl. With her daughter’s father, JT Nero, she founded the folk/gospel/Americana duo Birds of Chicago in 2012. In 2021, she released her first solo album – after overcoming the writer’s block that emerged after the birth of her daughter. 

“I felt an urgency to write,” she says. “It became important to me to express vocally what I’ve been through, to end the cycles of violence – racism, sexism, sexual violence. It’s also very important to me to write my own story, and be able to tell people that it’s survivable.” 

Russell’s unique life story and songwriting experience promise to provide a fascinating and instructive look at the process of turning life into song, and overcoming the struggles of that activity.  

To register for her masterclass, click here.