The SOCAN Foundation is delighted to announce Logan Staats as the recipient of this year’s TD Indigenous Songwriter Award. The acclaimed Mohawk artist from Six Nations of the Grand River (in Ontario) is being recognized for his song, “Deadman”.
The SOCAN Foundation’s TD Indigenous Songwriter Award was created to recognize and celebrate the artistic merit demonstrated by Indigenous songwriters of any genre, and this marks the fifth anniversary of the Awards. Staats will receive a cash prize of $10,000 in addition to career development opportunities and a performance opportunity in front of music industry professionals.
“My nation and my community are in every chord I play and every note I sing. They’ve saved me,” says Staats. “As I spend more and more time on Indigenous frontlines, it’s really affecting my songwriting. Most of my inspiration has come from my time at Land back lane and Wet’suwet’en. I used to keep my activism and music separate, but now they’re totally intermingled.”
Honourable Mention awards of $1,000 are also being made to Aysanabee, Ila Barker, Kaeley Jade, Uncle Joe, and Twin Flames. The winners will be using the funds to support their career development in various areas including recording new music, videography, and business management.
“Empowering Indigenous voices is essential, and we’re thankful for ongoing support from TD to celebrate Indigenous songwriters in Canada,” said Charlie Wall-Andrews, Executive Director of SOCAN Foundation. “The award is designed to celebrate merit in the craft of songwriting.”
Today at 6:00 pm ET all SOCAN Foundation TD Indigenous Songwriter Award recipients will be honoured on a special edition of “The Kim Wheeler Show” on SiriusXM’s The Indigiverse, Channel 165. Listeners will learn more about all the recipients from across Canada and hear their music.
“It’s exciting to see how many Indigenous songwriters there are. Congratulations to Logan Staats and all of the special distinction winners,” says Kim Wheeler, host of SiriusXM Indigiverse and Award jury chair. “The industry is growing, and this Award helps celebrate and create opportunities for Indigenous creators and make space for musicians who are making amazing music.”
Hundreds of applications from artists across Canada covering a wide variety of musical genres were submitted for consideration, and the TD Indigenous Songwriter Award winners were selected by a jury and advisory council of prominent Indigenous artists and industry leaders including those of First Nations, Métis and Inuit heritage. This special Award is made possible with the support of TD Bank Group. Previous recipients of the award include Leonard Sumner, Laura Niquay, Anachnid, and Jasmine Netnsa.
In 2018, Logan Staats won the musical competition The Launch, officiating the breakthrough that would lead him to Nashville and Los Angeles, and to his single “The Lucky Ones” reaching number one in Canada and winning the Indigenous Music Award for best radio single.
In the years between now and then, Staats has come home, making the intentional decision to re-root at Six Nations of the Grand River. To Staats, music is a healing salve, contemplatively composed and offered to listeners in need of comfort. Since returning home, Staats has been able to create music authentically again, reclaiming his sound through honest storytelling and unvarnished, sometimes painful reflection.
Staats has recently found a new label home with Red Music Rising and is excited to be working on his new upcoming album, which includes songs that are all written by Staats with the exception of one cover.
Counting musical icon Buffy Sainte-Marie (whom he frequently opens for) among his mentors, Staats wants to pay forward the guidance he’s received by connecting with Indigenous youth through music. He frequently leads workshops and visits local schools.