Polaris Music Prize nominee Mustafa and alt pop sensation Ariane Roy have both earned the 2021 Slaight Music Emerging Songwriter Award, presented by the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Established in 2017, the Award celebrates the current achievements and bright futures of Canadian songwriters in their early careers. One Anglophone and one Francophone winner are determined by a music industry jury. In addition to receiving a cash prize and access to songwriting camps, the winners will attend the SOCAN Awards in Toronto in the spring of 2022.

“Songwriting and composing are the lifeblood of the Canadian music industry; therefore, it’s vital that we support, foster, and inspire the next generation of creators – and more importantly, shine a spotlight on the depth and diversity of talented songwriters within our communities,” said Nicholas Fedor, Director, Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame.  “Congratulations to Mustafa and Ariane Roy; we’re so excited to be a part of your music trajectory and continued success (as well as more great music) to come.  Thank you to Slaight Music, and to all the fans who voted online to show their support for this year’s finalists.”

Toronto-based poet and recording artist Mustafa released his debut album When Smoke Rises in May of 2021, and it was short-listed for the 2021 Polaris Music Prize. After losing several friends to gun violence, he coped with the losses through his interpretation of folk music. He’s produced a documentary titled Remember Me, Toronto about hip-hop culture in Canada, and has co-written songs for The Weeknd, Shawn Mendes, Justin Bieber and the Jonas Brothers. Mustafa has been listed as an Artist to Watch in 2021 by i-D, British Vogue, and Complex magazines, among others.

“I am humbled that my attempt at seeing the hood; a world within a world in this country, can be celebrated,” said Mustafa. “I want kids in poor neighbourhoods across this country to re-tell the stories of their intersections, so their accounts can be marked in time. Hopefully, moments like this can continue to encourage them.”

The Québec City-based Ariane Roy was nominated in the pop EP category of the GAMIQ (Gala de l’alternative musicale indépendante de Québec) Awards for her 2020 debut release AVALANCHE, and one of her songs, “Ta main,” reached the finals of the Prix de la chanson SOCAN in 2021.

“I’m so happy to receive this honour, and to be in the company of artists I admire,  and who inspire me so much,” said Roy.

Past winners of the Slaight Music Emerging Songwriter Award include Lowell (Anglophone), Les Louanges (Francophone), Jessie Reyez (Anglophone) and Charlotte Cardin (Francophone).