SOCAN is mourning the loss of iconic Canadian singer-songwriter Ian Tyson, who passed away on Dec. 29, 2022, at the age of 89 (while SOCAN was on hiatus).

Tyson was inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame in 1989, and into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, as half of the duo Ian & Sylvia, in 1992. Tyson became a Member of the Order of Canada in 1994, and in 2003 he received a Governor General’s Performing Arts Award. He was inducted into the Alberta Order of Excellence in 2006, and in 2019, into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame. Tyson won a JUNO Award as Best Male Country Artist in 1987.

In 2005, CBC Radio One listeners chose Tyson’s signature tune, “Four Strong Winds,” as the greatest Canadian song of all time. Tyson has been a strong influence on many artists, including Neil Young, who recorded “Four Strong Winds” for his Comes a Time album in 1978. Johnny Cash also recorded the song for American V: A Hundred Highways in 2006. Tyson himself sang “Four Strong Winds” at the opening of the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary.

Many in the Canadian music ecosystem remembered Tyson on social media. Fellow cowboy singer-songwriter Corb Lund said, on Facebook: “With a heavy heart, I learned of my old friend, Ian Tyson’s passing… Canada and the world has lost a legendary songwriter, performer, and lifelong advocate for the romance and reality of the West…”

Steve Kane, the former President of Warner Music Canada, said in a Facebook post: “Neither legend nor icon comes close to describing Ian Tyson. He is woven into the fabric of Canada. He brought our stories to the global stage. He helped keep the tradition of cowboy poetry alive…”

Charlie Angus, Member of Parliament and leader of the folk/roots combo Grievous Angels, posted on Facebook: “Ian Tyson defined Canadian folk music. He was a true original. He wrote so many incredible songs. ‘Four Strong Winds’ remains the defining Canadian song…”

Born a British Columbian in Victoria, and raised in Duncan, Tyson was a rodeo rider in Western Canada in his late teens and early twenties. He began to play guitar while recovering from an injury sustained in a bad fall in the rodeo. He hitchhiked to Toronto, and there met young singer Sylvia Fricker, with whom he formed a musical duo. As Ian & Sylvia, they were – along with Gordon Lightfoot, to whom Tyson was a mentor in Lightfoot’s early days – Canadian stars of the early-1960s folk boom that gave the world Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs, and Joan Baez.

Married in 1964, the duo made almost a dozen albums, and wrote some of Canada’s best-loved songs, including Ian’s “Four Strong Winds”, “Someday Soon,” and “Summer Wages,” as well as Sylvia’s “You Were on My Mind” — songs covered countless times, including in versions by Dylan, the aforementioned Neil Young, Judy Collins, and more. As the ‘60s gave way to the ‘70s, Ian & Sylvia evolved into country-rock pioneers. Their band, The Great Speckled Bird, rivalled the Byrds and The Flying Burrito Brothers in creating a more current form of country music, while still respecting tradition.

After hosting a national Canadian television music show from 1970 to 1975, Tyson’s marriage to Sylvia ended, and he returned home to his first love – training horses in the ranch country of southern Alberta. After three years in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, Tyson recorded the album Old Corrals & Sagebrush, consisting of cowboy songs, both traditional and new. Since the 1980s, Tyson released 15 albums on Stony Plain Records celebrating the cowboy life.

The cowboy renaissance blossomed at the inaugural Elko Cowboy Poetry Gathering in 1983, where a small coterie of cowboys and cowboy-adjacent craftsmen assembled in a small town in Northern Nevada. Tyson was invited to perform his “new Western music,” and missed only one or two gatherings in the almost 40 years since.

Tyson, a member of ASCAP for most of his life, is survived by a son, Clayton, from his first marriage, and a daughter, Adelita, from his second. Donations in his memory can be made to The Ian Tyson Legacy Fund here. SOCAN extends its sincere condolences to Tyson’s family, friends, fans, and any who’ve ever enjoyed his music, worldwide.

Classical composer/conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin has earned five nominations, and producer/songwriter Boi-1da and Drake have earned four each – the most among all SOCAN members this year – for the 65th Grammy Awards, to be hosted by Trevor Noah and broadcast Feb. 5, 2023, on CBS.

Yannick Nézet-Séguin was nominated twice as a conductor, in the Best Opera Recording category, for Aucoin: Eurydice and Blanchard: Fire Shut Up In My Bones. He was also given the nod as a conductor in the Best Choral Performance category, for Verdi: Requiem – The Met Remembers 9/11. He garnered his fourth nomination as a pianist, for soloist Renée Fleming, on Voice Of Nature – The Anthropocene, tipped for Best Classical Solo Vocal Album. And his fifth was in the Best Classical Compendium category, for his for his role as a conductor on A Concert For Ukraine.

Boi-1da (aka Matthew Samuels) was nominated for Producer of the Year, Non-Classical; earned two nods for his songwriting and producing contributions to both Beyoncé’s Renaissance and Kendrick Lamar’s Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers, both nominated for Album of the Year; and was recognized for his production work on “Churchill Downs” by Jack Harlow featuring Drake, which was nominated for Best Rap Song.

Drake earned four nominations as well: two for Best Rap Song, for his features on “Churchill Downs” by Jack Harlow, and “Wait for U” by Future (which also featured Tems); one for Best Melodic Rap Performance, also on “Wait for U”; and one for his songwriting on Beyoncé’s Renaissance, nominated for Album of the Year.

Professional songwriter Tobias Jesso Jr. is a triple nominee, honoured in the brand new category of Songwriter of the Year, and as a co-writer who contributed to songs on Adele’s 30, and Harry’s House by Harry Styles, both nominated for Album of the Year.

SOCAN member Akeel Henry is a double nominee, as a contributor to Mary J. Blige’s Good Morning Gorgeous, in the running for Album of the Year, and a co-writer/co-producer of Jazmine Sullivan’s “Hurt Me So Good,” tipped for Best R&B Song. SOCAN member Michael Holmes and Luca Mauti are also co-writer/producers of “Hurt Me So Good.”

SOCAN members with single nominations include Alisson Russell, in the Best American Roots Song category, for “Prodigal Daughter”; producer/songwriter/DJ Kaytranada in the Best Dance/Electronic Recording field, for “Intimidated,” a duet with H.E.R.; Bryan Adams, up for Best Rock Performance, for “So Happy It Hurts”; Michael Bublé, recognized in the Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album category, for Higher; Snarky Puppy (which includes SOCAN member Larnell Lewis), in the running for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album, for Empire Central; the late Glenn Gould, posthumously nominated for Best Historic Album, for The Goldberg Variations – The Complete Unreleased 1981 Studio Sessions; and Arcade Fire, for Best Alternative Music Album, for WE.

Producer/songwriter Sevn Thomas is included among the contributors to Album of the Year contender Renaissance, by Beyoncé. He also co-produced “Good Day,” a song included on Sean Paul’s Schorcha, nominated for Best Reggae Album. Schorcha, also includes co-production of “Wine Up” by Jordon Manswell, and of multiple songs by Banx & Ranx.

SOCAN members Joey and David Landreth, of the Bros. Landreth, co-wrote “Made Up Mind,” whose cover version by Bonnie Raitt was nominated for Best Americana Performance. The Bonnie Raitt full-length recording on which the song appears, Just Like That, was nominated for Best Americana Album.

In the Best Rap Album category, Ozan “OZ” Yildirim contributed to Jack Harlow’s nominated album Come Home The Kids Miss You, and DRTWRK contributed to DJ Khaled’s nominated album God Did. In the same category, Future’s nominated album I Never Liked You includes the feature from Drake (and Tems) on “Wait for U”; Jack Harlow’s nominated album Come Home The Kids Miss You also includes the feature from Drake on “Churchill Downs”; and Kendrick Lamar’s nominated album Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers includes production and songwriting from Boi-1da.

Chiiild (Yonatan Ayal and Pierre-Luc Rioux) contributed to the song “Compassion,” which appears on Lucky Daye’s Candydrip, a nominee for Best R&B Album. Ryan Bakalarcyzk and Ace G contributed to Jack Harlow’s “Churchill Downs,” nominated for Best Rap Song. And Demy & Clipz (aka Étienne Gagnon and Steve Martinez-Funes), are contributors to “La Corriente,” by Bad Bunny, on his album Un Verano Sin Ti, nominated for both Album Musica Urbana  and Album of the Year.

Ron Korb is featured on flute on Sakura by Masa Takumi, nominated for Best Global Music Album. Korb also played on Divine Tides by Stewart Copeland (The Police) and Ricky Kej, nominated for Best Immersive Audio Album. Yonatan Watts co-produced on Chris Brown’s Breezy, nominated for Best R&B Album. Andrew T contributed to “Churchill Downs,” the Jack Harlow effort nominated for Best Rap Song. Charlie Houston sang on ODESZA’s The Last Goodbye, nominated for Best Dance/Electronic Music Album. Aaron Paris and Drake contributed to the song “No Secret” by DJ Khaled, included on his LP God Did, nominated for Rap Album of the Year. CVRE has writing and production credits on “Defend” by Koffee, a song included on Gifted, which is nominated for Best Reggae Album. Ali Milner (aka WILLA) co-wrote on “Slow Song” by The Knocks and Dragonette (also SOCAN members), which is nominated for Best Remixed Recording. Martina Sorbara, of Dragonette, is also a co-writer and performer on “Slow Song.”

Raynford “Preme” Humphrey was both a producer and Songwriter on the song “No Secret,” which appears on DJ Khaled’s nominated album God Did. On the same album, Sean Leon has a songwriting credit on “Use This Gospel,” and Noel Cadastre was the recording engineer on “Staying Alive.” Rosalía’s MOTOMAMI, nominated for Best Latin Rock or Alternative Album, Adam “Ging” Feeney co-produced and co-wrote “Candy” and “La Fama,” and The Weeknd also co-produced and co-wrote the latter. François-Olivier “Bob Riddim” Boucard has a producer credit on “Neva Bow Down” by Rocky Dawuni, nominated for Best Global Music Performance. Rachael Kennedy (of L I O N C H I L D) contributed to The Kalling, by Kabaka Pyramid, nominated for Best Reggae Album, and to TRAP CAKE, VOL. 2, by Rauw Alejandro. nominated for Best Música Urbana Album.

Please note that SOCAN is currently reviewing the entire, extensive list of 2023 Grammy nominations to determine any other member nominees, and may update this article accordingly.

SOCAN congratulates our Grammy-nominated members on this huge achievement!

Ten SOCAN members were among the investments and appointments to the Order of Canada in  December of 2022.

Folk music icon  Ian Tamblyn was invested as an Officer of the Order of Canada.  For more than five decades, this gifted singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer, and playwright has celebrated the beauty of Canada’s landscape and the spirit of its people. An expedition guide and mentor with Adventure Canada and Students on Ice, he travels extensively to the world’s northernmost places and inspires many to find their voice through song.

Jazz musician Michel Cusson was invested as a Member of the Order. Whether on stage or screen, Cusson has left his mark on Canada’s music scene. He first distinguished himself as the founder and guitarist for the internationally renowned fusion group UZEB, which helped to shape the evolution of jazz in Canada. While never fully putting aside his guitar, he then brought his talents as a composer to the screen industries and to performing arts, garnering awards for his innovative soundtracks. Skillfully juxtaposing sounds and images, he imbued countless films, TV series, and performances with emotion.

Appointed as officers of the Order were:

Lise Aubut, for her contributions to the Canadian music industry as an artist and tireless advocate of the rights of creators.

Jim Corcoran, for his long-standing contributions to Francophone music in Canada, as a songwriter, composer, performer, and CBC Radio host.

Eleanor Daley, for her contributions to Canadian music and choral culture as a renowned composer and accompanist.

Bob Ezrin, for his ongoing contributions to music and entertainment production, and for his sustained advocacy of musical education, journalism and environmental justice.

Appointed as members of the Order were:

Steve Bell, for his contributions to Canadian music as a Christian folksinger, songwriter, and producer, and for his advocacy of social and community causes.

Wayne Chaulk, for his contributions to Canadian music and comedy, notably as an ambassador of Newfoundland and Labrador’s culture and heritage.

Lorraine Segato, for her contributions to the Canadian music scene and culture as a pioneer in 2SLGBTQI+ Canadian history.

Mark Sirett, for his steadfast commitment to the field of choral music as a renowned composer, conductor, and community leader.

SOCAN congratulates all of these honourees on this great achievement!