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Montréal – The 26th annual SOCAN Montreal Awards Gala attracted a who’s who of more than 400 members of the Quebec music community to celebrate the careers, and past year’s success, of many of the greatest songwriters, composers and music publishers that it has to offer.
Hosted by singer-songwriter Dumas at the renowned Montreal venue Metropolis, the annual celebration of the accomplishments of Québec’s music creators and publishers was highlighted by live performances, with 48 awards distributed in 21 categories, including five special achievement prizes: the Cultural Impact Award, the Songwriter of the Year Award, the International Achievement Award, the Special Achievement Award and the Lifetime Achievement Award.
SOCAN’s new Cultural Impact Award was presented for the first time ever at a Montreal event, and went to a legend of Francophone music, the highly respected poet and songwriter, both at home and abroad, Gilles Vigneault. The award celebrates the major cultural contribution of a song created by a SOCAN member, in this case the immortal “Gens du pays.” Receiving “The SOCAN” – the only major music industry trophy in the world that is itself also a musical instrument – Vigneault, whose career spans 60 years and nearly as many albums, shared a moving, emotional moment, and was clearly touched by the honour.
“SOCAN’s talented members regularly make an impact in people’s memory through their unforgettable musical creations,” said SOCAN’s CEO, Eric Baptiste. “In and of itself, that’s a remarkable accomplishment. But when such a creation has an impact on the historical memory of an entire culture, to a point where the whole population, across many generations, appropriates this song and makes it a traditional celebration song for each individual in that society, this clearly has had exceptional cultural impact.”
Recognizing the massive contribution that film and television composers make to the genre and economy, no fewer than seven SOCAN Awards were presented to the most successful writers in several categories. Christian Clermont alone took home two awards. The work of film and television composers was further highlighted at the event with two special video montages.
Now an undeniable stalwart of the Québec “New Pop” scene, Alex Nevsky was presented with the prestigious Songwriter of the Year award and, as was foreshadowed by the immense success of his excellent album Himalaya mon amour, with two additional Popular Song Awards (Francophone) for “Les coloriés” and“Notre amour,” perfomed by La Voix winner Valérie Carpentier.
Donald Tarlton, founder of the influential concert promoting and management company Donald K. Donald, and cofounder of the Tacca Musique imprint, an equally influential record label that launched the careers of several major artists in Québec, was presented with the SOCAN Special Achievement Award, saluting the prodigious amount of work he has accomplished since the 1960s.
The SOCAN Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Pierre Létourneau, who was inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2011. Létourneau, without a doubt, is one of the most important songwriters in Québec; a prolific artist who, from the early 1970s to the present, has written an impressive number of hits, both for himself and for an impressive number of artists, including Nicole Martin, Renée Claude, Lucille Dumont, Marc Gélinas, Chantal Renaud, Michel Pagliaro, Nanette Workman, Boule Noire, Mario Pelchat, Chloé Ste-Marie.
Among the most popular bands in the world, and icons of the Canadian music scene, the six audacious and avant-garde songwriting members of Arcade Fire – Win Butler, Will Butler, Re?gine Chassagne, Jeremy Gara, Timothy Kingsbury and Richard Parry – were presented with the SOCAN Award for International Achievement, theInternational Song award for their song “Reflektor,” as well as two Popular Song (Anglophone) awards for “Afterlife” and “Reflektor,” each celebrating their extraordinary international career, their major impact on the international music scene, and the immense popularity of the band’s latest album.
The SOCAN trophy was created in collaboration with SABIAN of New Brunswick and New York City’s Society Awards. To mark this year’s first-ever Cultural Impact award, the five SABIAN bronze crotales that comprise The SOCAN were tuned to play the first five notes of “Gens du pays.”
Five SOCAN Classic Awards were also presented to Kevin Parent, making him the most awarded songwriter of the 2015 gala; the SOCAN Classic Award presented toMichel Rivard for his song “Le Privé” was the 15th of his career; and the two SOCAN Classic Awards presented to Luc Plamondon were the 31st and 32nd of his storied career, making him the most awarded songwriter in the history of the SOCAN Montreal Awards Gala.
Among other winners were Milk & Bone, who snagged the Breakout Award; Eman & Vlooper, who won the Urban Music Award; Kaytranada, winning the first-everElectronic Music Award; Vincent Vallières, with two Popular Song Awards (Francophone) (“Loin” and “L’amour, c’est pas pour les peureux”); Patrick Gemayel and Oliver Goldstein of Chromeo, who earned a Popular Song Award (Anglophone) as well as the Online Streaming Award for “Jealous (I Ain’t With It)”; Denis Gougeon, who earned the Jan V. Matejcek New Classical Music Award;Christine Jensen, who was presented with the Hagood Hardy Award (Jazz); and theMontreal International Jazz Festival, which was presented with the SOCAN Licensed to Play Award for superior commitment to fair, legal and ethical licensing of the festival.
Many more creators and publishers were also celebrated during the 2015 SOCAN Montreal Awards Gala, including the creators of songs with at least 25,000 plays on the radio, the winners of the most popular songs of the year as well as the creators of music for film and television.
Throughout the evening, many artists offered standout performances, including Alexandre Désilets, who sang “Romano Musumarra” and Luc Plamondon’s megahit for Celine Dion, “Je danse dans ma tête”; La Bronze, paying homage to Daniel Lavoie with a suavely rhythmic interpretation of “La Villa de Ferdinando Marcos sur la mer”; the evening’s host, Dumas, who sang Michel Rivard’s hit song “Le privé”; Les Sœurs Boulay, who moved the entire audience with the rich vocal harmonies in their rendition of “L’Amour existe encore”; Marie-Mai, who vibrantly sang Kevin Parent’s “Seigneur”; Sass Jordan who, along with Dumas, sang a medley of songs that were emblematic of Donald Tarlton’s career; Lulu Hughes who, in true style, completely re-interpreted “Laisse-moi partir,” a song written by Pierre Létourneau for Nicole Martin; Shash’U who masterfully remixed Kaytranada, Milk & Bone and Eman & Vlooper; Antoine Corriveau, who sang his emotional “Le nouveau vocabulaire”; and Karl Tremblay and Gilles Vigneault’s daughter, Jessica, who ended the evening with a moving version of “Gens du pays.”
SOCAN is a member-based organization that represents the Canadian performing rights of more than four-million Canadian and international music creators and publishers. SOCAN is proud to play a leading role in supporting the long-term success of its more than 130,000 Canadian members, and the Canadian music industry overall. SOCAN licenses more than 125,000 businesses in Canada, and distributes royalties to its members and music rights organizations around the world. SOCAN also distributes royalties to its members for the use of their music internationally in collaboration with its peer societies.