SOCAN and Pop Montréal co-presented their “Cooking Beats” workshop on Sept. 25, 2020, with special guest, Montréal’s iconic beatmaker, Shash’u. This free workshop, hosted by SOCAN A&R Representative Widney Bonfils, was presented online for the first time. The event was two-fold. First, Widney and Shash’u talked about the origin of the artist’s passion for beat-making, and then they switched to the more technical side his specific creative process.

Shash’u’s cousins, multi-talented artists in their own rights, introduced him to hip-hop culture and music, including pioneers like Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg, and A Tribe Called Quest, to name but a few. Hip-hop became a passion for him because the culture was an outlet where he could develop his talent for drawing, dancing, and beat-making. Those three creative branches are solidly anchored in Shash’u’s artistic universe. Where dance is concerned, competition is at the heart of his development, and he actually thinks that’s what’s missing in Québec’s beat-making scene.

As he puts it, “Competition breeds innovation. If the boys in New York, back in the day, kept to themselves, we wouldn’t have the hip-hop we know today. Similarly, the East Coast/West Coast rivalry played a key role in the evolution of hip-hop.” He stresses how crucial it is to have a space for healthy competition and meetings for the younger generation of beatmakers, to help stimulate creativity and allow for the sharing of knowledge.

Shash’u also shared some of the technical tips and tricks of his compositions, as well as some advice for pitching for a potential collaboration. “Besides the obvious e-mails and meetings,” he said, “I’ll often send the artist a file of sounds and beats that I think they’ll like. That lets them hear the full spectrum of styles and sounds I have to offer.”

Last year, it was Foxtrott who shared her music creation techniques and processes during this interactive workshop. The previous one, in 2017, hosted Montréal-based duo Banx & Ranx, who also shared their music-production knowledge and tips. Attendees of the 2020 Cooking Beats workshop walked away with new production techniques, and also had the opportunity to witness crucial values for social as well as musical well-being; respect, open-mindedness, and the collaborative spirit.

Amplify, a new 13-episode original television series on APTN, is showcasing Indigenous songwriters, in anthology format where each episode ends with a music video of a new song that was created, based on inspiration from another art form, which could be a book, a film, a painting, a poem, or some other medium.

Each episode features a different songwriter, and their unique inspiration for the song. Métis series creator Shane Belcourt, an award-winning actor, director, and writer, believes viewers will connect with the artists on an intimate level. He’s previously produced the feature films Red Rover and Tkaronto, and TV show Urban Native Girl.

Belcourt tapped into songwriters he believes are open, articulate, and fearless storytellers. Among the featured music creators are Tara Williamson, from Opaskwayak Cree Nation, inspired by a work of art from Anishinaabe artist Daphne Odjig; Multi-disciplinary Métis/Cree artist Cheryl L’Hirondelle, inspired by Robin Wall Kimmerer’s book Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants; and Oneida of Six Nations member Lacey Hill, inspired by Snow Snake, a traditional Haudenosaunee game.

Amplify aired its pilot and second episode Sept. 11. Shot in numerous locations throughout Ontario and Manitoba in the Spring and Summer of 2018, the program airs on APTN in English on Fridays, and in Ojibwa on Thursdays, at 7:00 p.m. ET.

William Prince won the SOCAN-sponsored Songwriter of the Year Award at the 2020 online edition of the Western Canadian Music Awards (WCMAs) on Sept. 25. He also earned an honour as the Roots Solo Artist of the Year, and the Stingray Rising Star Award for Recording of the Year (for Reliever), which was accompanied by a $2,000 prize.

There were two double-award winners as well: Snotty Nose Rez Kids garnered both the Indigenous Artist and Rap/Hip Hop Artist of the Year Award, while The Mariachi Ghost took home the prizes for both Global Artist and Visual Media Composer of the Year

Carmen Braden and Stephen Chatman tied for the Classical Composer of the Year Award. Begonia was the Breakout Artist of the Year, Jess Moskaluke was the Country Artist of the Year, and Nuela Charles was the Pop Artrist of the Year. A complete list of nominees is available here.

SOCAN congratulates all of our member nominees and winners at the 2020 WCMAs!