The SOCAN Foundation, with the support of TD Bank Group and Indigenous Music Awards, has presented the third annual TD Indigenous Songwriter Award to Leonard Sumner.

Sumner, a member of SOCAN, accepted the award and the accompanying $10,000 cash award and a beautifully crafted hand drum made by Robert Caribou and painted by Patrick Ross, in addition to mentorship and a showcase opportunity facilitated by Indigenous Music Awards and SOCAN Foundation.

“When I got the call on Monday, I didn’t recognize the number and thought it might have been a spam call saying I won a trip or something,” said Sumner. “However, upon finding out that I was the recipient of this award… I had a small celebration with my daughter and wife who were with me in the living room and listening on speaker. I am grateful and appreciative; this definitely goes a long way for an independent artist.”

An Anishinaabe MC and singer-songwriter, Sumner tells stories that flow directly from the shores of Little Saskatchewan First Nation, located in the heart of the Interlake of Manitoba. Sumner’s self-determined sound is evidence of his ability to simultaneously occupy landscapes of multiple musical genres, including hip-hop, spoken word, country, and R&B. With every vibration of the strings on his guitar, Leonard rattles the dust off truths that have been buried for far too long. On stage he poetically sings awake the consciousness of audiences may have been unaware of their slumber. In this era of unsettling history and healing wounds of the past, Sumner’s music is an expression of medicine that walks the line between fortitude and fragility. His current (second) album is Thunderbird.

“Indigenous artists continue to frontier a pathway that fosters tradition and innovation in music creation. The Indigenous Songwriter Award recognizes artistic excellence in songwriting achieved by an Indigenous music creator in Canada, and we’re proud to partner with TD and the Indigenous Music Awards to celebrate extraordinary music creators, such as Leonard,” said Wall-Andrews. “The award is a significant part of our ongoing, mutual efforts with TD and the Indigenous Music Awards to foster, promote and create opportunities for Indigenous music creators.”

“The Indigenous Music Awards is very excited for Leonard Sumner and congratulate him on being the recipient of the 2020 SOCAN Foundation and TD Bank Indigenous Songwriter Award.  Leonard’s music inspires through his lyrical poetry, the sharing of stories through song, and connecting with the music lover in every generation,” said Jacquie Black, manager of the Indigenous Music and Arts Program. A virtual showcase of Sumner will be premiered on the Indigenous Music Awards Facebook page on June 18, 2021.

The TD Indigenous Songwriter Award is determined by a jury of SOCAN members. This year’s esteemed panel consisted of Kinnie Starr as Jury Chair, Tiffany Ayalik and Amanda Rheaume, who carefully reviewed over 100 submissions from across Turtle Island. Former award recipients include Anachnid and Jasmine Netsena.

“Through the TD Ready Commitment, we seek to highlight artists who are typically under-represented, amplify voices, and help emerging artists as they navigate their careers. TD is proud to support the SOCAN Foundation and the TD Indigenous Songwriter Award to recognize the contributions of and celebrate the musical creations of an Indigenous songwriter in Canada. Congratulations to this year’s winner, Leonard Sumner – thank you for sharing your music with us.” Said Farah Kurji, Senior Manager, Philanthropy, Global Corporate Citizenship, TD Bank Group.

Applications to the 2021 TD Indigenous Songwriter Awards will open in the late Summer of 2021. Visit for more information about programs, grants and awards.

The 11th Trille Or Awards, produced by APCM (Association des professionnels de la chanson et de la musique), took place on June 19, 2021, in the Babs Asper Theatre of Ottawa’s National Arts Centre, and were broadcast on Unis TV and TV Rogers Ottawa. Some 20 artists were featured, onstage and online.

Trille Or, Medhi Cayenne, 2021

Medhi Cayenne

The final 10 Trille Or trophies were presented as part of a Zoom show hosted by actor Vincent Poirier, and staged under the artistic direction of SOCAN member Isabelle Longnus. The evening’s top winner, musician Mehdi Cayenne, took home three awards, including one for Best Songwriter, during the Industry Gala on May 28, 2021.

A mixture of live and recorded performances, the show included numerous performances by artists from all parts the country, celebrating the artistic  excellence of French Canadian music. They included Mélissa Ouimet, De Flore, Mimi O’Bonsawin, Chloé Breault, Rayannah, Les Soliloques, Reney Ray, Cristian De La Luna, Loig Morin, Louis Venne, and éemi.

Trille Or, Cano, Nicolas Fedor, 2021, CSHF, PACC

L-R/G-D: Nick Fedor, Cano

The Trille Or Awards also provided the setting for the online induction into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame (CSHF) of two songs by the Franco-Ontarian group Cano, “Dimanche après-midi” (written by (André Paiement), and “Baie Sainte-Marie” (co-written Marcel Aymar, David Burt, John Doerr, and Wasyl Kohut), among a host of other great Canadian songs. CSHF Director Nicholas Fedor was on hand to do the honours.

Last but not least, musical artist Anique Granger brought the show to an end, along with several of the guest artists, by celebrating the career Prix Hommage recipient Daniel Lavoie.

The winners of the 2021 Trille Or Awards are:

Best Songwriter
Mehdi Cayenne

Best Solo Artist
Mehdi Cayenne

Best Group
Geneviève et Alain

Best New Artist
De Flore

Best Album
Mehdi Cayenne for “Radio Batata

Best Acadian Music Album  
Les Hay Babies for “Boîte aux lettres

Best EP
De Flore for “Figure Déserte

Best Song
“Red Flag, by Marie-Clo

Best Show
Anique Granger

Prix Hommage
Daniel Lavoie

Congratulations to all the winners!

For more information on winners and nominees, visit


In order to provide a platform for our members on the rise, we’re pleased to continue the SOCAN Satellite Sessions – an ongoing series of new, unseen member performances broadcast on @SOCANMusic Instagram (and later available across all our social media platforms). In celebration of Black Music Month, the first series of sessions will showcase Black music excellence; each week in June, well present musical performances by some of Canada’s most talented up-and-coming Black songwriters.

The third SOCAN Satellite Session features BOYFRN, streaming on @SOCANMusic Instagram starting on June 17, 2021.

“I want to blend the genres I grew up with,” says BOYFRN. “I hate following the generic layout that most songwriters follow. Black people get put into a box all too often. If you’re Black, you get the ‘rapper’ label so quick. I’d like to be part of the movement that breaks down those barriers.”

Immigrating from Barbados to Scarborough, Toronto, BOYFRN wields a strong cultural and artistic heritage. In high school he started writing his own poetry, a move that ignited a deep-rooted urge within. Naturally quiet, BOYFRN continued in this inspiration, writing poems as therapy, and an expressive outlet. Poetry transformed into music, finding BOYFRN in makeshift studios, making connections with those who fostered his inherent talent. With the help of friends, BOYFRN honed his skills and created his own sound: a mix of deep, poetic rap and ’90s pop sounds and vibes. He released his first single, “Nine Tails,” in 2018, with “CRY” and “Come Down” following shortly afterward.

The year ahead is filled with production and execution, as BOYFRN prepares to release the work that’s developed over the last 12 months.

Tune in to @SOCANMusic Instagram to see his exclusive video performance!