SOCAN would not be what it is today were it not for Gilles Valiquette, and that’s only one of the reasons why he was awarded the Special Achievement Award during the 30th SOCAN Awards Gala on Sept. 22, 2019, at Montréal’s La Tohu. Elected to the SOCAN Board of Directors in 1982, he stayed on as a Director until 2018, and was our President from 1998 to 2003. The prolific singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist was committed to the rights of music creators, and demonstrated this commitment by also sitting on the boards of SPACQ, SODRAC, and SODEC. With a dozen albums to his credit, the artist is also a producer, arranger, and founder of the Musitechnic school. He’s received five SOCAN Awards during his career, not to mention that his SOCAN Classic “Je suis cool” was inducted in the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2011. SOCAN’s Eric Parazelli met with him prior to the gala, where he discussed the fight for the creators’ rights, the evolution of SOCAN, and the challenges ahead.
Lili Fatale’s arrival on the scene, in 1997, was a big surprise, and the band’s first album’s mission was to modernize pop music in Québec. Two singles, “Mimi” and “Feels” in particular, resonated with audiences in Québec, Canada, and Europe. Each of the two songs received a SOCAN Classic Award at the 30th SOCAN Gala, held on Sept. 22, 2019, at Montréal’s La Tohu. SOCAN met with Nathalie Courchesne, Richard Binette, Uranian Valceanu, and Martin Beaulieu to talk about the stories behind the songs, and the circumstances of the band’s breakup after their second album.
SOCAN is mourning the loss of our screen composer member Walter Rathie, who passed away on July 23, 2019, at the age of 66, unexpectedly, after complications during treatment for a cancer diagnosis.
Beginning in the late 1990s, Rathie shifted his musical focus from performing to composing and built a successful career as a film and television composer. His music soundtracks appear in many network and cable TV shows and series in Canada, the U.S., and worldwide, including See No Evil, Handsome Devils, Murders and Motives, Weird or What?, Property Brothers, and Nazi Hunters, among many others.
Walter was born and raised in Montréal, where his father was an accomplished musician and big-band leader at McGill during his university days. He began his musical career on drums, and from an early age played in a series of local bands – beginning with a live performance (with the group Hangman’s Knot) as a young teen, on the U.S. PBS show Dance Date in the late 1960s. Shortly after, he switched from drums to keyboards, taking piano and organ lessons from his dad and others. He soon bought a Hammond B3 organ (previously owned by the U.S. rock band Vanilla Fudge), so he could play the kind of music he admired (from the likes of the Rascals, Spencer Davis Group, Al Kooper, and the Animals). He was known around Montréal as a great organist, playing everything from rock and blues to soul to jazz.
For nearly three decades, Walter played keyboards and sang vocals in several popular Montréal bands (the Frames, Bacchus, Flying Circus, to name only a few) with one major career highlight in the recording and touring band, Cruiser. When not performing, Walter spent countless days and nights writing and recording music in his home studio.
Walter and his family moved from Montreal to Oakville, Ontario, in 2013. He leaves behind his wife Donna and daughter Ali. He will be dearly missed by his family and friends; his longtime community of musical friends, many who remain in the Montréal area; and all at SOCAN.