From the very beginning, Naya Ali had big ambition as an English-language, Montréal-based rap artist. Through hard work, she climbed the steps of recognition one by one, until she became the first rap artist to win the Félix for English Album of the Year at the Premier Gala de l’ADISQ on Nov. 2, 2022, at MTELUS, for Goodspeed: Elevated.

We spoke with her as she left the stage to discuss, among other things, what motivates her to create and make her place on the Québec rap scene, and the pride she derives from it.

After a 25-year career, Les Cowboys Fringants now have a total of 21 Félix Awards, including Album of the Year – Reinterpretation and Album of the Year – Popular Success, both earned this year for their work on the movie soundtrack L’Amérique pleure. The album, and the film from which it’s drawn, were important projects for them, that were completed during the pandemic, and allowed them to re-visit their repertoire with a fresh perspective.

We spoke with Marie-Annick Lépine and Jean-François Pauzé backstage at the Premier Gala de l’ADISQ on Nov. 2, 2022, to get their comments and find out how they approached this somewhat “side project” in their discography.

Composer and pianist Jean-Michel Blais has been  creating instrumental music that’s struck a chord with both the public and his peers, who showed their appreciation once again at the Premier Gala de l’ADISQ on Nov. 2, 2022, by awarding him the Instrumental Album of the Year Award for Aubades.

We spoke with him about the importance of celebrating instrumental music composers, who still too often face challenges make a living from their art. We also discussed the effect of the pandemic on our growing desire to hear instrumental music, and, above all, the fulsome confidence he has in listeners’ ability to enjoy his music in their own way, and under any circumstance.