Content courtesy of the Western Canadian Music Alliance
The Western Canadian Music Awards are thrilled to formally honour the 2021 recipients of the Heritage Award – legendary musician, author and radio/television host, Ray St. Germain – the Kevin Walters Industry Builder Award – film and music industry trailblazer, Carole Vivier – and the Western Canadian Music Hall of Fame inductees – Winnipeg rock band, The Watchmen.
The honourees are being recognized this week while BreakOut West Home Edition takes place from February 2-6. St. Germain and Vivier were celebrated earlier this week with special feature interviews on CBC Radio One’s Up To Speed with Faith Fundal, while an interview with The Watchmen can be heard today live at 4:35 p.m. CST. Tune in at CBC Radio 89.3 FM and CBC Listen, and hear all three interviews on-demand.
Each year, the Heritage Award is presented to a person who has made significant contributions to the music industry over the course of their career. The Kevin Walters Industry Builder Award is given to a person who has made a significant impact on the music industry through their mentorship, training and/or leadership. The Hall Of Fame award annually recognizes an artist/band that has made a significant impact in their career; traditionally being awarded to an artist/band from the host province.
BreakOut West: Home Edition 2.0 kicked off on February 2nd. Originally scheduled to take place in Winnipeg, MB from February 2-6, the event switched to an online format due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Attendees can continue to register for BreakOut West, to take part in the conference running until February 6th.
About Ray St. Germain
Born in 1940, Ray St. Germain grew up playing music and singing in St. Vital, a suburb of Winnipeg, Manitoba. He started out playing accordion but switched to guitar as a teenager because he thought he looked silly jumping all over the stage with an accordion. As a teenager, he performed all over Canada, travelling with Hal Lone Pine, Betty Cody and their son, jazz legend Lenny Breau. During that time, he performed on the bill with such greats as Johnny Cash, Porter Wagoner, and Johnny Horton. Since then, his music has taken him all around the world to places like Germany, Israel and Cyprus, as well as all across Canada. Throughout his career, Ray has participated in over 500 television shows, including a 13-year run of Big Sky Country. He’s done an Armed Forces tour and toured through 34 Indigenous communities. He won the Can-Pro Gold Award for the Best Variety Television Show in 1978, he’s a recipient of the Métis Order of the Sash from several Métis communities, he has won many awards from the Manitoba Academy of Country Music Arts Inc. including Top Recording Artist (1978), Entertainer of the Year (1978 and 1980), Best Male Vocalist and Best Song (1989), and he even received an Award of Excellence in 1986. Ray is well known for giving freely of his time and his talent to many charitable causes and their telethons. He has earned countless awards for his music throughout his career. In 1985, Ray received the Aboriginal Order of Canada, and in 2013 he received the Order of Manitoba and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Aboriginal Peoples’ Choice Awards. In 2010, he was inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame. Ray was also the radio host/program manager at NCI FM on The Road Show and The Métis Hour x2. Ray is an icon of the Canadian music scene, but he’s never turned his back on his Métis heritage. He’s built a legacy that continues not only to enrich the musical culture of Manitoba, but the culture of one of the province’s founding peoples, the Métis. Ray earned the honour of singing the national anthem at the Winnipeg Jets game on April 24, 2021, to officially open their WASAC night (Winnipeg Aboriginal Sport Achievement Centre night). The night is designed to celebrate Indigenous culture in Manitoba, which is why it was so fitting that Ray was involved, as yet another step on his journey, that has seen him share and promote his Métis and Indigenous culture.
About Carole Vivier
Carole Vivier is a trailblazer of the Manitoba music industry. Serving as the CEO and Film Commissioner of Manitoba Film and Music for the past 26 years, she has played a role in the success of countless artist and industry careers. Carole was inducted into the Manitoba Business Hall of Fame in 2012, and was a recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, which is awarded to Canadians who have made significant contributions to their community and country at large. In 2014, Carole was a recipient of the Order of Manitoba, the highest honour awarded for service to one’s province. In 2019, she was honoured with the creation of the Carole Vivier Scholarship for Women in Film. Since 1992, the Manitoba film and music sector has grown from an industry valued at $12 million to an estimated $270 million. A large part of this growth is related to the Manitoba Tax Credit, which Carole has been integral in policy for. She was advised that if she really wanted people to come to Manitoba, an incentive would be needed. She took this advice to heart and worked to get the attention of senior members of the provincial government. Every time an artist or film was recognized in a newspaper article, she would send it over to them. One day, someone said, “ok, you’ve got our attention.” With the help of these senior officials and industry alike, the incentive was officially introduced in 1997 to create more opportunities for the province’s talent, offering a 35% tax credit on all Manitoba labour. The Manitoba Film and Video Tax Credit Program is the most competitive tax credit in the country. In addition to her past work at Manitoba Film and Music, Carole was the co-chair of the 2014 Host Committees for both the JUNOS and BreakOut West Winnipeg. Carole is known around the world as an ambassador for Manitoba filmmakers, musicians, producers, creators and crew. Carole is a champion of independent artists in their earliest efforts, including Guy Maddin, The Weakerthans, Doc Walker, The Crash Test Dummies, Norma Bailey, Tanya Tagaq, and many others. Today, it is not uncommon, from Berlin to LA to Cannes, to meet people who have not only heard of Winnipeg, but are planning to shoot there, or know musicians there. That’s all due to Carole’s tenacity, dedication and talent.
About The Watchmen
The Watchmen (Daniel Greaves, Ken Tizzard, Joey Serlin, Sammy Kohn) are a four-piece rock and roll band from Winnipeg, Manitoba. The band was discovered by producer, Chris Wardman, while playing at Toronto's Horseshoe Tavern. Wardman offered to produce the band, and they released their debut album, McLaren Furnace Room, in 1992. The single, Cracked, garnered the band significant airplay on rock stations, but was quickly eclipsed by the anti-spousal abuse anthem, Run and Hide, which became the band's breakthrough hit. The band's second album, In The Trees, was released in 1994. The record was a major success, confirming their place in Canadian rock with the hit singles Boneyard Tree, All Uncovered and Lusitana. The album was certified Platinum in Canada after selling over 100,000 copies. Their 1996 album, Brand New Day, included singles Zoom, Incarnate and Shut Up, which provided the band with their second JUNO nomination in 1997, for North Star Rock Album of the Year. 1998's Silent Radar was the band's return to commercial success, with the hit singles Stereo, Any Day Now, Brighter Hell and Say Something. That autumn, they won a MuchMusic award for Best Use of New Technology, owing to the inclusion of innovative web- and CD-ROM-based features on the Silent Radar CD. In November 2003 the band decided to go their separate ways. However, they decided that before they did so, they would perform one last short tour across Canada as a "Thank You" to their fans. The farewell tour included nine concerts in six Canadian cities and one American city. In the fall of 2008, the "classic" lineup of Greaves, Serlin, Kohn and Tizzard announced a small reunion tour. In 2009, the band released two new songs on their website: Trampoline and Miss Monday Morning. These quickly became popular with fans during shows performed that spring and summer. The band is active with their fans through social media, sharing rare photos and even a full-length live show download from a performance in Australia. With all the excitement that still surrounds them, The Watchmen continue to sell out shows across Canada year after year.
About the Western Canadian Music Alliance / BreakOut West:
The Western Canadian Music Alliance is a pan western organization created by the Alliance Member Music Industry Associations (MIA’s) of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, The Northwest Territories, the Yukon Territory, and in partnership with Nunavut, to promote and celebrate western Canadian music. WCMA, with the financial support of each provincial and territorial government partner, FACTOR, the Government of Canada and of Canada's private radio broadcasters, WCMA annually hosts their core artist and industry development event, BreakOut West. The event is held in a different western Canadian city on a rotational basis and is the prime music industry event in western Canada. BreakOut West 2022 will be held online from February 2 – 6, followed by Calgary, AB from September 28 – October 2. The 2022 Western Canadian Music Awards and Industry Awards will be announced in October 2022.