SOCAN Awards shine bright lights on Canada's Music Creators and Publishers

Stars shining backstage at the 2017 SOCAN Awards. Left to right: Ruth B, Bryan Adams, Jim Vallance, Carly Rae Jepsen. (ALL PHOTOS: Grant W. Martin Photography)
June 20, 2017

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Songwriters, composers and music publishers behind some of the biggest songs in the world gathered in Toronto last night – with a who's-who of Canada's music ecosystem– for the 2017 SOCAN Awards. The gala ceremony honoured Canada's music creators and publishers across a wide variety of genres, including Pop, Rock, Film & Television, Urban, Dance, Folk/Roots, Jazz, Country, Classical, and more.

This year, the legendary Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance were honoured, as one of the greatest songwriting teams in music, with the SOCAN Lifetime Achievement Award for more than 35 years of songwriting success and excellence.  The SOCAN Cultural Impact Award was presented to Andy Kim for the 1969 hit "Sugar, Sugar," and world-renowned singer-songwriter Ron Sexsmith charmed the audience with his rendition of the classic song.


At the gala, Ron Sexsmith (left) performed a sweet version of "Sugar, Sugar," for which Andy Kim (right) received the Cultural Achievement Award.

Also in attendance to receive SOCAN achievement awards were pop/rock superstars Hedley (National Achievement Award), Paul "Nineteen85" Jefferies (Songwriter of the Year Award for his work with international superstar Drake), and Screen Composer of the Year Keith Power, who, in front of movie-clip visuals, performed a live orchestral medley of award-winning film and TV scores.


Paul "Nineteen85" Jefferies, who's co-written the global smash Drake hits "Hotline Bling," "One Dance" and "Too Good," won the Songwriter of the Year Award.

The SOCAN Awards featured an abundance of memorable performances, starting with Derin Falana & Tay of The Remix Project.  Shaun Frank and Delaney Jane discussed the writing of The Chainsmokers' Billboard chart-topping hit "Closer" before performing the song and Jess Moskaluke gave a brilliant rendition of her JUNO Award-winning "Take Me Home" with cowriter Kelly Archer.  Ruth B delivered a stunning cover of Bryan Adams's "Heaven" and 2017 JUNO Award winners July Talk dazzled the audience with a heartfelt version of Leonard Cohen's "If It Be Your Will."


Kelly Archer (left) and Jess Moskaluke (right) won a SOCAN Country Music Award for co-writing "Take me Home" (along with Emily Shackleton/BMI, who couldn't attend the awards), and performed the song at the show.

Former International Achievement Award winner Carly Rae Jepsen was on hand to present SOCAN Classic Awards to Snow and Maestro Fresh Wes before they closed the show with a surprise, high-energy performance of their respective massive hits, "Informer" and "Let Your Backbone Slide."

SOCAN Awards for most performed songs, inclusive of broadcast and streaming, were presented to Coleman Hell and Tyler Shaw, who each won Pop Music Awards for their respective songs, "2 Heads" and "Wicked." The Strumbellas took home a Rock Award for the folk-rock smash radio hit "Spirits"; Billy Talent accepted a Rock Music Award for "Afraid of Heights"; singer-songwriter Donovan Woods received the Folk/Roots Award for his contributions in the genre; SonReal won an Urban Award for "Can I Get A Witness?"; and one of SOCAN's #ComposersWhoScore, Robert Carli, won for his work on Murdoch Mysteries. Global hits “One Dance” by Drake, Paul “Nineteen85” Jefferies, and Noah “40” Shebib, and “Starboy” by Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye, Martin “Doc” McKinney, Jason “Daheala” Quenneville, and Henry “Cirkut” Walter were each honoured with Pop Music Awards.


Donovan Woods (left) won the SOCAN Folk/Roots Award, along with his publisher Vivian Barclay (right) of Warner Chappell Music Canada.

"Canadian music creators and publishers continue to achieve great success, both domestically and internationally," said SOCAN CEO Eric Baptiste. "It is vital that we continue to recognize the achievements of our songwriters, composers, and music publishers, and we're honoured to congratulate all of tonight's SOCAN Award recipients for their outstanding accomplishments."


The four SOCAN #ComposersWhoScore of Voodoo Highway Music won two SOCAN Awards, for their work on both PAW Patrol and Daniel Tiger's Neighbourhood.

Hosting the awards was Canadian radio and television personality Arisa Cox, best known as the host of Big Brother Canada. The evening was sponsored by Gowling WLG, KPMG, Long & McQuade, Music Canada, the Ontario Media Development Corporation, and Yamaha Canada. The Unison Benevolent Fund was the official charity partner.

SOCAN will award Francophone music creators and publishers at a gala in Montréal in October.