We’re taking a look back at an exciting year of incredible local music and busy back-to-live programs...
Artists and music companies from Manitoba earned some massive recognition in 2022 with 209 award nominations and 32 wins for the JUNO Awards, Western Canadian Music Awards, Canadian Country Music Awards, Manitoba Country Music Awards, Covenant Awards, and the Canadian Folk Music Awards. Local artists launched over 110 new music releases, including albums, EPs, and singles. Local artists performed over 40 showcases for key industry players in important markets domestically and internationally.
This year, we were reminded about the importance and inspiration of making connections in person with the launch of the Sound Waves Music Meeting (SWMM). The artist-focused meetup included specialized masterclasses, interactive performance coaching, discussion groups, panels, networking, and showcases on two stages at the West End Cultural Centre. Building off of the long-running January Music Meeting and last year’s virtual Catalyst Music Meeting, SWMM featured a generous group of mentors from across Canada and beyond.
We also hosted several other professional development events and projects, including the heavy music-focused Loud Lounge with the Manitoba Loud Music Awards, grant writing incubators, the ongoing MONITOR MIX Peer Mentor Groups, the return of The Road to BreakOut West international delegates program, and a new partnership for the Songsmiths Song Camp, as well as a variety of livestreamed workshops.
Artists from Manitoba returned to the international stages as part of Manitoba Music Export, supporting local artists and music companies to access key markets across Canada, the US, and overseas. Offering new territories a glimpse at homegrown talent and creating chances for important career connections with the global industry, we were on the ground at New Colossus in New York City, SXSW in Austin, FOCUS Wales in Wrexham UK, The Great Escape in Brighton UK, a hybrid Folk Alliance International in Kansas City, NXNE and Come Together in Toronto, AmericanaFest in Nashville, Reeperbahn Festival in Hamburg plus Berlin, BreakOut West in Calgary, and M for Montreal.
The Indigenous Music Development Program presented a wide range of programming, including professional, local audience, and export market development activities. The Anishinaabeg Gaa-Wiid-Anokiiwad Chi-Gidochigewad Indigenous Music Residency put a focus on music production for Indigenous women and gender diverse people, the Nistumee Neepinee Keesikow (First Day of Summer) Concert hosted 20 performers at The Cube for National Indigenous Peoples Day, several grant writing incubators paired artists with mentors, a partnership with the Manitoba Arts Network for their Emerging Artists Program at Manitoba Showcase 2022 in Portage la Prairie, partnerships with AIRsessions, the new Smoke Signal monthly web feature highlighted Indigenous artists making headlines, and a new season of Talking Stick music videos were filmed for launch in 2023.
The BPM | Black Professionals in Music program, coordinated by business owner and artist Andrew Sannie, hosted several virtual mixers and workshops, and launched the three-part livestreamed BPM Speaker Series. Presented in partnership with Black History Manitoba in celebration of Black History Month, the series featured influential speakers sharing their career journeys and lived experience working in the music business, showing different career paths.
We celebrated International Women’s Day with the launch of three-part speaker series: GEAR UP (Gender Equity in Audio Recording and Music Production). The virtual series featured prominent women engineers and producers, aiming to create connections with aspiring women and gender diverse audio engineers and producers and established professionals alike, and build awareness of the issues in the music community through discussion of career journeys, creative and business mentorship, and lived experiences.
We produced a virtual edition of PASSPORT: Music Export Summit, an intensive professional development initiative for Canada’s music industry. Produced by Manitoba Music in partnership with Music Nova Scotia, Canada’s Music Incubator, and the National Music Centre, PASSPORT delivered intensive training sessions to prepare export-ready Canadian artists and music entrepreneurs with business skills and product development to help bring Canadian music to the world.
Connecting music fans with local live music continued to be a key focus for us in 2022, including the launch of our Manitoba Music at The Market concert series at The Forks, New Music Nights at The Good Will Social Club, Open Mic Nights at the West End Cultural Centre, and industry showcases during SWMM at The Road to BreakOut West. Our MB Live app and online listings were filled with thousands of concerts and festivals from across the province, welcoming audiences back to live in a big way. Through our MB Live partnerships, we were able to add promotional support to several Manitoba-based events including Festival du Voyageur, Future Fest, Harvest Moon Festival, IRAL Summer Jam, Manitoba Country Music Awards, Pride Winnipeg, Rainbow Trout Music Festival, Real Love Summer Fest, sākihiwē festival, TD Winnipeg International Jazz Festival, Wall-To-Wall Mural + Culture Festival, Winnipeg Folk Festival, and Winterruption.
Our Spotlight Series continues to shine a light on emerging local music makers, our new music-focused Spotify playlist added over 250 tracks, Signal Boost amplified artists and music companies making headlines every week, and the Song of the Week featured new music every week.
The Francophone Music Program returned to Montreal for a new edition of Rame à la rencontre at Coup de coeur francophone, and produced mentorship and incubator projects.
The board of directors announced this year's recipients of the Kevin Walters Legacy Award and Kevin Walters Memorial Songwriter Award. Recognizing an emerging professional in the music industry, the Legacy Award went to MJ Dandeneau, an accomplished bassist, director, producer, tour manager, and owner of her business, MJ Entertainment Canada Inc. Multi-instrumentalist, producer, and indie-pop artist Lana Winterhalt was this year’s recipient of the Kevin Walters Memorial Songwriter Award for their impressive body of work.
This year, we welcomed Rose Tobacco-Olson as Administrative Coordinator, welcomed back Shaneen Robinson-Desjarlais from mat leave, and sent a big thank you to departing coworkers Ashley Bieniarz and Jacques Richer. We were lucky to work with some smart / fun folks as summer students and work placements, including Jenna Valiquette, Nia Banilbo, and Rainah Uhl.
We would like to thank our amazing, innovative, creative, and talented members; the generous support of the Government of Canada, the Province of Manitoba, FACTOR through the financial support of the Government of Canada and Canada's private radio broadcasters, Manitoba Film & Music; our partners at Canadian Council of Music Industry Associations, BreakOut West, Sask Music, Alberta Music, Music BC, Music Nova Scotia, Music Ontario, CIMA; The Forks; our unwavering staff; our dedicated Board of Directors; the generous Indigenous Music Development Program Steering Committee; and our many community and industry partners for another incredible and productive year.