The Black Canadian Music Awards were created to recognize and celebrate the artistic merit demonstrated by Black music creators of any genre. This year, SiriusXM Canada has doubled their support for the award, with the five selected winners each receiving a prize of $10,000 to support their career development.
“What an honour to participate in amplifying Black creatives. So many of the submissions were incredible, making this the hardest jury process to date,” said Keziah Myers, Executive Director at ADVANCE Music Canada, and chair of the jury. “I learned of writers and composers that I didn’t know about, automatically looked up their projects, and it inspired me to think of ways to amplify them within the industry and provide more vehicles for opportunity. Congratulations to the winners!” Myers was part of the SOCAN Foundation committee that created the Black Canadian Music Awards, and she has also served as a jury member for the last three years.
This year the Awards had a record number of applications from artists across Canada, spanning a multitude of genres. Winners were selected by a jury and advisory council of prominent Black artists and industry leaders. Jury members include Keziah Myers (Executive Director at Advance), Nicolas Ouellet (Radio Host at Radio-Canada), Lord Quest (Executive Creative, Black Music at SOCAN), Marika Siewert (Recording Artist) and Wayne Samuels (President and CEO at Wired Management Inc).
“We’re so proud to help bring this program to life for a third year and to double the prize money for these incredibly talented and deserving recipients,” said Michelle Mearns, VP, Programming & Operations, SiriusXM Canada. “SiriusXM is committed to supporting Black Canadian artists and I can’t wait to see what these artists create in the future.”
Adria Kain is a Toronto-based artist known for sharing raw and honest lived experiences through soulful melodies and thought-provoking lyricism. She came up through The Remix Project alongside DVSN’s Daniel Daley and Jessie Reyez. With an impressive vocal range and unique tone, the budding talent has garnered acclaim from tastemakers including Complex, Fader and CBC. Adria’s debut album, When Flowers Bloom, landed her a Polaris Prize nomination and a moving COLORS performance of her song “Only With Time“, which blew away the likes of TI, Lena Waithe, Rapsody and Joe Budden.
With a voice like “gravel on silk”, Brampton-born singer-songwriter AHI has learned to balance his instrument’s power across a colourful landscape of tightly-crafted lyrics, driving rhythms and catchy melodies, propelling him to the forefront of the contemporary Folk/Roots scene. From charting on Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon, to delivering captivating performances on CBS and NPR Tiny Desk and touring internationally with Mandy Moore and Milow for his latest studio release Prospect, AHI has quickly amassed over 60M streams worldwide. The album has earned AHI his second JUNO nomination for Contemporary Roots Album of the Year and his first-ever Polaris Prize nod, establishing him as one of Canada’s most exciting new voices.
Desarae Dee is a Toronto-based powerhouse pianist and multi-instrumentalist who has made significant waves in the Canadian music industry as an instrumental fusion artist since 2014. Known as “Toronto’s Queen of Vibes”, her passionate and meaningful sound combines a unique mixture of faith, soul, vulnerability, and divine balance. Desarae has an extensive resume that includes 21 singles and four project releases over the last eight years, regional touring, a feature on the cover of Spotify’s Fresh Finds Jazz playlist with her single “Care For You“, a feature on NPR Music’s Jazz Night On The List Spotify + Apple Music playlists with her single, “Meditation,” national and international media coverage and radio plays, and a recent Top 100 finish in the 2022 CBC Music Searchlight competition. She continues to blaze the trail in the name of instrumental music, while continuing to break barriers and forge a path for current and future Black women musicians in Canada.
Nonso Amadi is an Afro-R&B, soul singer-songwriter and producer from Nigeria. Nonso transformed into a sonic globetrotter after his move to Canada – leading him to fuse the soul and rhythm of Afrobeats with modern soft textures of R&B. With over 100 million streams to date, Nonso stands tall as a constantly evolving, textured lyricist able to translate Alte, Afro-fusion and hip-hop into his R&B-canvassed approach to storytelling, best represented on his 2019 EP Free, which features Afrobeats heavyweights Simi and Mr Eazi. Currently recording his debut album supported by Universal Music Canada, Nonso is determined to shed even more of his creative-skin.
In just a few years, rapper Zach Zoya has become a central figure in Montréal’s flourishing music scene. Raised in rural French-speaking Québec, he learned English by listening to American hip-hop, R&B and soul music. Zoya’s passion for songwriting and performance led him to pursue a career in music. In 2019, he signed with Universal Music Canada and began collaborating with some of the country’s biggest producers for his debut EP, Spectrum, which was released to critical acclaim and several award nominations. With the 2022 release of his sophomore EP No Love Is Ever Wasted, Zach has had two consecutive Top 40 radio hits, was crowned a YouTube Trending Artist on the Rise, and received three nominations at the 2022 Gala Dynastie Awards.