Manitoba Music announced its board of directors for 2021-22 and celebrated the Kevin Walters Legacy Award recipients at its virtual annual general meeting on June 23.
The AGM was a chance to reflect on an extraordinarily challenging but productive year that included emergency relief, ongoing adaptation of programs and services, extensive industry advocacy, and an engagement in equity work through policy and programming. Download the Manitoba Music Annual Report for 2020-21 (PDF)
Manitoba Music is the hub of Manitoba’s vibrant music community. A member-based, not-for-profit industry association, it works with over 700 members in all facets of the music industry. Through its programs and services, Manitoba Music provides information, education, and industry development opportunities to nurture, develop, and promote the growth and sustainability of the Manitoba music industry.
“The pandemic and other global events laid bare significant inequities in our sector and beyond, and Manitoba Music was deeply engaged in addressing equity and accountability for our organization and our community. Work we had done over recent years led to the release of our Equity & Accountability Policy, which represents one step amidst ongoing work that includes training for staff and board, setting and adjusting policy, and listening to equity seeking voices.” - Manitoba Music's president, Bob Somers.
“This year, we’ve learned to lead with compassion: we know that so many in our community have suffered from the effects of the pandemic. We learned to be flexible and agile, ready to switch gears when the plan didn’t fit the new reality. We learned that virtual programming can keep us connected, create opportunities across distances, and increase accessibility. And we were reminded of the incredible healing and sustaining impact of music, as people turned to music to get them through the isolation and disruption of their lives.” - Manitoba Music’s executive director, Sean McManus.
Manitoba Music would like to thank the Government of Canada, Province of Manitoba, Western Economic Diversification Canada, FACTOR through the financial support of the Government of Canada and Canada's private radio broadcasters, Manitoba Film & Music, The SOCAN Foundation, and members of the music industry of Manitoba for supporting our programs and services.
Board of Directors
Manitoba Music thanks departing directors Cheryl Grewar and Irina Ivanov Bissonnette for their hard work, dedication, and commitment to Manitoba Music and its membership during their six-year terms. Each has left a lasting mark on the association and their perspective and guidance will be missed.
Manitoba Music welcomes Liliane Lavack of Centre culturel franco-manitobain and educator/dancer/choreographer/DJ Maribeth Tabanera to the board. They bring fresh viewpoints and invaluable expertise that will be assets to the work of the board and the association.
2021-22 Board of Directors
Bob Somers, Scatliff + Miller + Murray (President)
Chloe Chafe, Synonym Art Consultation
David Schellenberg, The Good Will Social Club
Liliane Lavack, Centre Culturel Franco-Manitobain - CCFM
Malcolm-Jamal Wilson, Malcolm-Jay
Michael Jack, City of Winnipeg
Ruth Shead, University of Manitoba
Stu Anderson, Mighty Cypress Talent
Suzanne Holatko, Deloitte LLP
Kevin Walters Legacy Awards
The board of directors announced this year's recipients of the Kevin Walters Legacy Award and Kevin Walters Memorial Songwriter Award, in honour of Kevin Walters, a long time Manitoba Music board member and music industry legend.
Recognizing an emerging professional in the music industry, the Legacy Award went to Jen Doerksen, the marketing manager at Winnipeg-based label / artist management / publishing company Birthday Cake, co-founder of videography outfit BNB Studios and its ongoing Bench Sessions artist discovery platform, and former Manitoba Music intern.
"I am honoured to be the recipient for this year's Kevin Waters Legacy Award,” says Doerksen. “I didn’t have the pleasure of getting to know Kevin directly, but through working with so many incredible, kind, hardworking individuals at Manitoba Music and throughout our music community, I feel like I get to know his heart and spirit and am so grateful to hear that I carry that forward! I would not have the years of rich experiences and beautiful friendships that I do without everyone in this community. You all truly make my life beautiful!"
Acclaimed multi-instrumentalist, R&B singer/songwriter, and producer Sebastian Gaskin is this year’s recipient of the Kevin Walters Memorial Songwriter Award for their impressive body of work, collaborations, compositions, and important work in the community.
“I am so honoured to be this year's recipient, it honestly came as a bit of a surprise to me,” says Gaskin. “I'd like to thank everybody at Manitoba Music for their continued support in my career. They have been instrumental to my success thus far by not only connecting me with the local music community, but by also continuing to provide opportunities for me to give back to a community who has given me so much. I would like to thank my team for always pushing me to work harder and become the best that I can be. This award means a lot to me, as it is easy to get lost in the hustle, so being presented with the Kevin Walters Songwriter Award has allowed me to take a moment and appreciate how far I’ve come in these past few years. Miigwetch, ekosi.”
It’s an honour to share these awards with both Jen and Sebastian, who are both longtime members of Manitoba Music and the music community. Their talent, dedication, and grace are an inspiration. The board celebrates all they have accomplished and looks forward to all that is to come.
Jen is a non-binary communications professional with a deep knowledge of videography, photography, and a serious interest in audio engineering. As the marketing manager at Birthday Cake, Jen’s role includes branding, long-term marketing strategies, digital-focused marketing and creative development.
Jen is a co-founder of BNB Studios, a videography outfit for artists and musicians, which is how they discovered and developed a passion for working directly alongside artists. BNB Studios has photographed, filmed, and run marketing campaigns for countless Manitoba artists, companies, and organizations. BNB Studios also created Bench Sessions, which is an artist discovery platform, featuring talented musicians to be seen and heard in a unique and intimate way.
Jen is a staple in the Manitoba Music scene, and has become a friend and creative conduit to many Manitoba Music members who have benefited tremendously from their talents, work ethic, and eagerness to help artists reach an audience.
They play drums for a few hobby bands in Winnipeg, and are constantly exploring ways to mix mediums and bring visual and audio art-forms together. They're also the assistant editor at Stylus Magazine, and help to design and publish local Indigenous-led publication Red Rising Magazine.
Sebastian Gaskin is a multi-instrumentalist R&B singer-songwriter based in Winnipeg, Canada, who grew up in Tataskweyak Cree Nation, or Split Lake as it’s better known. Sebastian writes and self produces music that is anything but formulaic, thanks to his eclectic musical tastes in R&B, Hip Hop, Metal,and Punk. The Winnipeg Free Press says: “...think Post Malone mixed with Frank Ocean, all swag and smooth vocals, hits of hip-hop and rap, rounded out with emotive thoughtful lyrics.”.
Following the release of his debut EP, “Contradictions”, on his own imprint, LieBoy Concepts, Sebastian made some impressive strides. He headlined a cross-Canada club tour, and made appearances at established festivals throughout the country, including Festival du voyageur, Canadian Music Week, Interstellar Rodeo, and Calgary Stampede. He has supported artists like Common, T-Pain, and has toured supporting the iconic songwriter and activist Buffy Sainte-Marie. Sebastian frequently collaborates with DJ and producer Boogey the Beat.
Sebastian Gaskin’s newest single “Snakehold” is the beginning of a new sound from this exciting young artist who is quickly finding his footing and his voice on the R&B stage.