SOCAN announced several leadership changes, including Jean-Christian Céré as Chief Membership Officer, and Vanessa Thomas as Vice-President, Member & Industry Relations, as the non-profit music and visual arts rights and royalties company continues the renewal of its strategic vision for its more than 175,000 members.

Céré expands upon the Chief Membership Officer role that was vacated last November. Fluently bilingual, he will be based in the company’s Montréal office, and oversee a department of more than 35 full-time staff, while building a new strategy that will deliver more for songwriters, composers, music publishers and visual artists. He officially joins SOCAN on June 28, 2021.

With more than 15 years of executive experience, including as General Manager of the Society of Authors and Composers of Quebec (SPACQ) from 2003-’12, Jean-Christian Céré collaborated with SOCAN and SOCAN Foundation frequently, which will give him a running start. With a law degree specializing in copyright and a Master of Business Administration, he’s earned a reputation for his passion for creator rights, positive leadership, and innovative thinking. He was most recently General Manager at Astec Industries Inc. and, before that, President of Casavant Frères, a designer and manufacturer of musical instruments.

Vanessa Thomas moves into the new Vice-President, Member & Industry Relations role after serving as Executive Director of the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame (CSHF). With the CSHF, which is wholly owned by SOCAN and operated at arms’ length, Thomas elevated the stature of the non-profit organization with a multitude of inductions of legendary songs and songwriters in both French and English. Before joining the CSHF, she spent 15 years in California working with major broadcasters both on and off air, and ran Gavin Magazine, a well-known broadcast industry trade publication. Thomas returned to Canada as Managing Director of Nielsen Entertainment Canada, and was then promoted to Senior Vice President, North America Nielsen Music, a position she held for 12 years. She and her team of 14 worked with the music industry, performing rights organizations, and broadcasters on both sides of the border. She then opened Songza Canada’s offices, and later led business development for Rdio.

In her new role with SOCAN, Vanessa Thomas will work with the company’s team of A&R and event management professionals, expanding the development of emerging talent in music creation. She officially starts her SOCAN career on June 14, 2021.

“Jean-Christian Céré brings even more focus, professionalism, and strategic direction to our Membership team and SOCAN overall, and Vanessa Thomas’s team-building and networking abilities are renowned,” said SOCAN interim CEO Jennifer Brown. “At our last annual general meeting, we promised a sharper member-centric approach to all that we do. Jean-Christian and Vanessa deliver on that strategy and amplify our commitment to our Francophone members and stakeholders, extending partnerships and collaboration throughout Canada’s music and cultural industries.”

The company recently created a Strategic Solutions & Analytics Team, welcoming Alan Triger as its Head. The group has a mandate to develop new digital products and services for SOCAN members, licensed businesses, employees, and other stakeholders. The Strategic Solutions & Analytics Team will manage existing projects, such as the company’s new Member Portal, and deliver new solutions that address and anticipate the constantly changing needs of SOCAN’s key constituents. Triger brings with him three decades of leadership and expertise as a senior executive and business intelligence expert working in the music industry, including an accomplished 26-year tenure with Warner Music Group.

SOCAN also announced that Chief Operating Officer Jeff King will leave the company after June 4,. 2021. Following a re-organization of much of SOCAN’s operations, the decision was made to remove the COO role. Geneviève Côté will also depart SOCAN after June 4, 2021. SOCAN’s Québec affairs will be fulfilled in part by Céré.

“Thank you to Jeff King and Geneviève Côté for their service to SOCAN and their numerous contributions over the years,” Brown added. “We wish them nothing but success for the future, and no one can ever doubt their commitment to, and belief in, fair and equitable rights for music creators, visual artists, and music publishers.”

After already earning five SOCAN Awards and 10 Billboard Music Awards in 2021, The Weeknd continued his winning streak with five honours at the 50th annual JUNO Awards, where he took home the trophies for Songwriter of the Year (alongside co-writers Ahmad “Belly” Balshe and Jason “Daheala” Quenneville), presented by SOCAN Interim CEO Jennifer Brown, as well as Single (for “Blinding Lights”), Contemporary R&B Recording, Album (both for his After Hours album), and Artist Of the Year.

Concert music composer Samy Moussa won Classical Composition of the Year, for his Violin Concerto Adrano. Louis-Jean Cormier earned the award for Francophone Album of the Year (for Quand la nuit tombe), while his fellow Montrealer KAYTRANADA won in the Dance Recording of the Year (for his Bubba album, after already taking home three 2021 Grammy Awards). L’Orchestre symphonique de Montréal, conducted by Kent Nagano, featuring Andrew Wan, earned the honour for  Classical Album of the Year: Large Ensemble (for Works for Violin and Orchestra).

TOBi, JUNOs 2021


WondaGurl won as Producer of the Year, the first Black female to ever earn that honour, and one of only six female producers to do so in the history of the JUNOs. Leela Gilday earned the Indigenous Artist Or Group Of The Year Award, while Tenille Townes won Country Album of the Year (for The Lemonade Stand). Savannah Ré earned the Traditional R&B/Soul Recording of the Year, for ”Solid,” while JP Saxe was recognized as the Breakthrough Artist of the Year, and Shawn Mendes won the Fan Choice Award.

The Opening Night Awards, on June 4, featured six performances, including a striking and powerful poem and two-song medley from Rap Recording of the Year winner TOBi; a captivating three-song medley from Reggae Recording of the Year nominees Ammoye, Kirk Diamond, and this year’s winner, TÖME; a special collaboration of catchy songs from Country Album of the Year nominees Lindsay Ell and MacKenzie Porter; some guitar-and-drums prog-rock from Breakthrough Group of the Year winners, the duo Crown Lands; and a hard-rockin’ song from 2020/2021 Allan Slaight JUNO Master Class short listers MONOWHALES.

Kardinal Offishall, JullyBlack, JUNOs 2021

Kardinal Offishall, JullyBlack

The Broadcast Awards, on June 6, featured a super-high-energy performance honouring 30 years of rap music at the JUNOs, with an intro from Michie Mee, a rapid-fire narrative history from Kardinal Offishall, and songs from Maestro Fresh Wes, Kardinal himself with Jully Black, NAV, and a poetic outro from Haviah Mighty; William Prince and Serena Ryder singing a moving version of his song “The Spark”; a stylized, music-video-like performance of a two-song medley from Jessie Reyez; Humanitarian Award recipients The Tragically Hip playing with Leslie Feist in the Toronto’s Massey Hall, still under renovation; and performances from Justin Bieber, and Tate McRae with Ali Gatie. Jann Arden was inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, and talked about how music became everything to her, saying, “Music is magic, music is unbelievably special, and important to human life.”

The JUNO Songwriters’ Circle, known as “the jewel of JUNO week,” was presented by SOCAN on June 5, in between the awards nights, and featured host Jim Cuddy sharing songs and stories with Deborah Cox, Dan Hill, Carole Pope, and Leah Fay and Peter Dreimanis from July Talk.

Cuddy talked about writing “Good News” when he noticed people being kinder to each other at the outset of the pandemic, and praised CanCon regulations for allowing “Try” to become a hit song for Blue Rodeo. Deborah Cox discussed her love/hate relationship with songwriting, getting signed directly in the U.S. by legendary music-industry titan Clive Davis, and applied her spine-tingling voice to her song, “Where Do We Go From Here?” Dan Hill recalled his 19-year-old self, unrecorded, turning down the legendary Harry Belafonte for a cover of his song, “You Make Me Want to Be a Father,” because he knew it was strong enough that he had to save it for his own debut. Fay and Dreimanis talked about the need to challenge your love every day, and performed a hushed, shining rendition of “Good Enough.” Carole Pope discussed the rock musical at which she’s working away, Attitude, and played a song from it, “Viral,” that cleverly plays the meaning of the word today against its significance during the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s.

For a full list of 2021 JUNO winners and nominees, click here. To hear all the winners, click here.



SOCAN’s annual general meeting, typically held in June, will be held after June 30, 2021. The date and agenda will be confirmed soon.

SOCAN gained approval from Corporations Canada to hold its AGM later than usual.

The meeting for eligible SOCAN members will be held online with full registration and voting capabilities using the same platform successfully employed last year.

We appreciate your understanding and look forward to introducing our new board of directors, elected to a three-year term, and to reporting on the company’s 2020 Financial results and activities.