SOCAN presented a screen composing panel at the 21st annual Kingston Canadian Film Festival, on March 6, 2021, in Kingston, ON.

The workshop, moderated by SOCAN A&R Representative Melissa Cameron-Passley, featured Martin Macphail, member of the award-winning trio Blitz//Berlin, which has worked on films like BirdBox, The Girl on the Train, Bad Times at the El Royale, Fifty Shades of Grey, Top Gun: Maverick, and the Blade Runner 2049 prequel Nexus Dawn. Attendees were also joined by Australian-Canadian composer Michelle Osis and music producer and screen composer Terry Benn, who together scored the music for BLOODTHIRSTY, which played at the festival this year.

The panel was designed to help those looking to get started in film scoring by providing an overview of important first steps. The panelists shared their stories about how they broke into the film world as musicians. And attendees took full advantage of the many opportunities to participate and ask questions.

The 2021 JUNO Awards nominations were annunced on March 9, and The Weeknd leads the pack with six nominations, while Jessie Reyez and JP Saxe follow closely with five each. The Weeknd’s and Reyez’s nominations include one each for Artist of the Year, and the latter earned two nods in the Music Video of the Year category as well. Saxe’s nominations nominated include Single, Breakthrough Artist, and Pop Album of the Year.

Among the nominees are:

Songwriter of the Year, presented by SOCAN
The Weeknd
Jessie Reyez
JP Saxe
Alessia Cara
Alanis Morissette

Classical Composition of the Year
Alexina Louie  – Take The Dog Sled
Ana Sokolović – Commedia dell’arte
Anna Höstman – Harbour
Samy Moussa – Violin Concerto “Adrano”
Zosha Di Castri – Tachitipo

Francophone Recording of the Year
2Frères – À tous les vents
Klô Pelgag – Notre-Dame-des-Sept-Douleurs
Les Cowboys Fringants – Les antipodes
Louis-Jean Cormier – Quand la nuit tombe
Pierre Lapointe – Pour déjouer l’ennui

Indigenous Artist or Group of the Year
Burnstick – Kîyânaw
Crystal Shawanda – Church House Blues
Julian Taylor – The Ridge
Leela Gilday – North Star Calling
Terry Uyarak – Nunarjua Isulinginniani

Producer of the Year Nominees include Wondagurl, Murda Beatz, and triple-Grammy-nominee Kaytranada.

In the press conference after the announcements, a handful of nominees answered journalists’ questions. Jessie Reyez, whose five nominations resulted from the music of an album that she almost didn’t release because of the pandemic, said, “It was nerve-wracking at the time… I’m happy that we weren’t moving in fear. I’m also proud of my team, because we were walking into the unknown. We had no idea what was going to happen.”

Five-time nominee JP Saxe – whose co-write with Julia Michaels, “If the World Was Ending,” became a huge viral hit, and one of the anthems of the pandemic – said of his conversational writing style, “The only thing I’m interested in being is honest… It usually results directly from journaling, or if it’s a co-write, from a conversation.”

Budding pop superstar Tate McRae said, of her multiple nominations, “It’s a bit of a pinch-me moment… [In one case] I’m in the same category as The Weeknd, which is mind-blowing. I’m just very, very grateful.”

Asked about vulnerability in her songwriting, double-nominee Savannah Ré said, “Vulnerability is one of the pinnacles, and I think it’s imperative to go there… It’s really, really, really important.”

The 2021 JUNO Awards will take place May 16, with live performances streamed via CBC Music, and broadcast on CBC-TV, from the Budweiser Stage in Toronto – and possibly other venues across Canada, as the JUNOs try to support a live music community so damaged by the pandemic.

For a complete list of nominees, click here.

Words & Music is pleased to extend its helpful “how-to” series for our members, “The Breakdown,” into the realm of short, question-and-answer videos.

In this episode, SOCAN Editor in Chief Howard Druckman talks with grandson (aka Jordan Benjamin), who won the 2019 SOCAN Songwriting Prize for co-writing (and performing) “Blood//Water.” The song, whose hard rock and social comment is typical of grandson’s approach, was also certified Gold in the U.K., and Platinum in the U.S. and Canada. His single “Apologize” reached the Top Five on the Billboard Canadian Rock Chart , while “Dirty” was Top 10, and also reached No. 11 on the Billboard U.S. Alternative Chart. He’s toured with Smashing Pumpkins; worked with his early heroes Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park and Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine; and performed on Late Night with Seth Myers.

Our question for him this time is about standing out by finding your unique voice.