Ontario Creates Gets Two Thumbs Up From Juno Nominees
Last night, provincial agency Ontario Creates hosted a celebration to honour the Ontario nominees for the upcoming Juno Awards ceremony and their appreciation was palpable.
By Nick Krewen
With 10 days remaining until the presentation of the 48th Annual Juno Awards at London's Budweiser Gardens, provincial agency Ontario Creates hosted a soiree Thursday evening at the Live Nation Lounge to honour this province’s 104 award nominees.
Not surprisingly, the Ontario Music Fund, administered by the formerly-named Ontario Media Development Corporation, played an essential role in supporting and evolving the careers of many of the night's celebrators. Among them, Juno Award winners and nominees Exco Levi, The Trews, Walk Off The Earth, and Splash N' Boots - a fact not lost on Ontario Creates President and CEO Karen Thorne-Stone.
“Our investments through the Ontario Music Fund have a huge impact on all of the artists in this province, giving them the opportunity to shine at home and on the international stage," she told FYIMusicNews. "Tonight is all about celebrating the nominations: We have 104 Juno nominees who are artists based in Ontario, most of whom are supported through the Ontario Music Fund."
According to Allan Reid, President and CEO of CARAS, the Junos and MusiCounts, Ontario-based artists accounted for almost 60% of this year's 188 nominees.
"There’s no question that what Ontario Creates and the Government of Ontario does to support our music sector has a direct impact on the opportunity for these artists," Reid stated in a speech. "The Ontario Music Fund plays a pivotal role in our industry and also for nurturing artistic excellence. It also allows us to return to Ontario regularly, which we've done in four of the last seven years."
Indeed, some of the recipients expressed their gratitude for the existence of the Ontario Music Fund over the past five years.
Five-time Juno Award-winning reggae artist Exco Levi is one.
"As an independent artist who has never signed to a major label, I have to give big respect to Ontario Creates," he said. "They’ve always supported Mr. Levi." He added that "I’m so grateful I don’t have words to explain."
And if the Ontario Music Fund didn't exist?
"Man, it’d be rough," said Levi, shaking his head. "But for the love of music, we’d keep on pushing.”
Walk Off The Earth's Gianni Luminati also praised both Ontario Creates and the Ontario Music Fund.
"They're incredibly important," Luminati told FYIMusicNews. "As a recently independent band, we rely on the support of the Ontario government to make the things that we make. I don't think we could do it without the Ontario Music Fund. They've been really good to us and having the support of Ontario Creates; we can't thank them enough."
Ontario Creates' Thorne-Stone reiterates that the Ontario Music Fund's wide range of funding benefits everyone from artists to industry infrastructure.
“The Music Fund is fabulous in that it’s a very broad program and it does support everything from the startup artist entrepreneur right through to the multi-national companies that have Ontario artists on their labels," she explains. " The program allows companies to come in with whatever they need to work on for their business plan for that year. So it’s a very flexible program, and for the moment, it seems to be doing a good job. I think we're making a significant impact."
Revellers at the bash included artists Tyler Shaw, Andy Kim, Chelsea Stewart, D.O. Gibson, Samantha Martin, and Steve Strongman, plus industry movers and shakers Jack Ross, Mike Denney, Mike Gorman, Deane Cameron, Jackie Dean, Derek Andrews, Cameron Carpenter, Yvonne Matsell, Keely Kemp, Tony Tarleton and others.