How the Federal Government Can Unlock the Enormous Potential of Canada’s Creative Industries

By: Margaret McGuffin

September 22, 2021

Canada should develop a co-ordinated national action plan to ensure the creative sector’s continued growth.

TORONTO—Throughout this election campaign, Canada’s creative industries have heard the leaders of Canada’s major parties expressing support for our world-renowned and export-heavy sector.

And for good reason.

With the right policy levers and the support of the next federal government, our music, book, magazine, screen-based media, interactive media, broadcasting, performing arts, and digital sectors can not only thrive, they can reach new heights on the global stage.

Prior to the pandemic, our creative industries collectively accounted for $53.1-billion and three per cent of GDP and directly employed more than 666,500 Canadians, with countless spinoff jobs that significantly contributed to the economy.

For these sectors to be propelled into a globally competitive force in the economic recovery, policymakers must tackle the systemic barriers holding them back from reaching their full potential.

They must face issues related to taxation, innovative business models, workforce skills and labour, diversifying exports, and ensuring opportunities for systematically underrepresented voices, including those of women, Indigenous, and racialized groups. These issues fall outside the Department of Canadian Heritage, which is the primary department overseeing our creative industries.

We need a whole-of-government approach. The most effective, cost-efficient way to accomplish this is to bring together the federal government and private sector to develop a co-ordinated national action plan to ensure the sector’s continued growth.

World-class potential

Helping the small and large businesses that make up the sector fully participate in Canada’s recovery and capitalize on key opportunities abroad will help grow exports, make Canada globally competitive, and ensure our economy is diversified.

Indeed, governments around the world are increasingly recognizing the economic might and growth opportunities within the creative sector. And Canadian creative industries are a global success story. As a key Canadian economic sector with a large international client base, the continued growth of our creative exports is crucial to Canada’s economic recovery.

Our creative industries not only support Canadian culture and identity at home and abroad but also invest in creators and communities from coast to coast to coast.

What these industries desperately need now is to work together across government to set goals and look at tangible opportunities to evolve and propel global growth. It is critical that the government works collaboratively with industry so that government decision-making reflects the realities that industry faces on the ground and addresses the industry’s challenges.

The case for a new approach

The importance of a co-ordinated federal government approach in support of the creative sector is well established. The House Finance Committee recognized the sector would be well-served by a dedicated Economic Strategy Table on Creative Industries to “ensure sector growth and global competitiveness.” This would be similar to the other federally-commissioned public-private sector tables that developed cutting-edge plans for other sectors of the economy several years ago.

In its 2020 report, Canadian Ideas: Leveraging Our Strengths, the committee recommended that the government “urgently assemble an Economic Strategy Table on Creative Industries to unlock the full innovative potential of these sectors, produce world-class content, and share its creative works both at home and abroad.”

In 2018, the Economic Strategy Table on Digital Industries also called for “the creation of a dedicated creative industries forum” in order to “fully capture the potential of Canadian creative firms.” It added: the strength of Canada’s creative industries “could become a massive competitive advantage for Canada.”

Low-cost, high-reward

The government could quickly convene a roundtable or a forum of creative industry leaders to ensure these key Canadian sectors don’t lose their unique skills, that they can drive innovative growth, and that underrepresented groups can access the same opportunities to showcase their world on the world stage.

This would be low-cost and high-reward. It would show the businesses in Canada’s creative industries that the federal government supports the sector and is committed to helping it unlock its full innovative potential both at home and abroad. It would also guarantee that all stakeholders are working together to identify opportunities, examine barriers to growth, and pinpoint needed government support and solutions.

As Canada’s creative industries prepare for the post-pandemic period, there is no better time to move ahead with this initiative. It would ensure all the right eyes are on the needs of the sector, and lead to a co-ordinated, forward-looking set of policies to help our creative industries not only bounce back, but also thrive in a post-pandemic world.

Margaret McGuffin is the chief executive officer of Music Publishers Canada. She is also the chair of the board at WorkInCulture and a member of the MusiCounts advisory board.

The Hill Times

Songwriters Association of Canada posts songwriter related news and events as a resource to members. Publishing these posts does not imply that the S.A.C. endorses the teacher, product, service, or company.


Willie Dunn

by Erik Twight

By the time he passed in 2013 at 71 years, Willie Dunn was finally getting a belated taste of a renewed interest in his music. It had been a long trip from 60’s folk singer on the Montreal scene, to a possible next-big-thing on the country scene, to a foot note in Canadian music history, to a popular “re-discovery” over the last decade. A recent presentation at the Solstice Indigenous Music Awards drew such acclaim it seems to have given Willie an extra push, just in time for the release of “Creation Never Sleeps, Creation Never Dies,” a new anthology of his music.

Willie Dunn was born August 14, 1941 in Montreal to a Mi’kmaq mother from Restigouche (Listuguj) and a British immigrant father. The family never discussed, let alone celebrated his mother’s Mi’Kmaq background. Dunn Senior had been a song writing, rail riding hobo, according to Dunn in a 1965 interview.

Dropping out of school in grade 10, Dunn enlisted and joined the Canadian armed forces on a U.N. mission in Zaire, formerly Belgian Congo (now Democratic Republic of Congo), where he received a medal. He left the military at age 22, as he said, trading his gun for a guitar. A Congolese teacher who had asked him “where are the American Indians now?” inspired Dunn to head to Listuguj, where “they recognized me right away because I looked like the people there. And I knew that I had found my kin. Later I realized that the Black teacher in the Congo – he was also my kin.”

In 1968, Dunn composed a song for Indian Magazine, a CBC radio show, to which he later used archival photos and created the famous National Film Board short, “The Ballad of Crowfoot.” As he explained in a CBC TV interview in 1970, “the only thing stronger than film as far as getting things across, is actual, direct action, whether you’re actually going out there, putting your body in a position where people have to react against it. So film is a strong thing. I don’t think it’s it’s the end-all, I think it’s the beginning. We have to inform the people. Our people.”

By this time the NFB had the so-called Indian Crew in their complement. They were volunteers for the Company of Young Canadians who received equipment and expenses from the CYC as part of the NFB’s Challenge for Change program. Dunn would lend a hand or a song to many NFB productions through the decade. He can be seen playing live in the 1972 film “The Other Side of the Ledger,” a story of the Hudson’s Bay Company told from an Indigenous point of view. Another song is in Alanis Obomsawin’s “Incident at Restigouche” documentary about Mi’kmaq fishing rights in Quebec.

Dunn developed his songs in coffee houses of the late 1960’s and even opened his own establishment, The Totem Pole. By 1970 he allegedly had a record deal, or was ducking calls from big labels, depending what one reads online. Columbia wanted to sell Willie as a new country outlaw, and there was a 1970 tour with Glen Campbell which went south, as it were. 

Maclean’s weekly magazine published a ribald feature on Willie in June of that year. The article by Jon Ruddy starts with a quick rundown of Dunn’s excesses- in order, booze, smoking, women and other trouble. Police come up on the list of Willie’s troubles too, as Willie had been locked up a few times, for political and picayune offenses alike.

Dunn was a significant force among people paying attention to Indigenous sounds, but white, mainstream Canada knew little about him. And what little they heard must have been disconcerting to many readers of a Canadian mainstream magazine in 1970 –  Dunn helped establish the Native Alliance for Red Power in Vancouver in 1967, and was a strident proponent of Indigenous rights, at a time when the federal government was contemplating one last push at mass assimilation by divesting itself of all responsibilities to First Nations, outlined in the 1969 White Paper. The Indigenous reply came in the form of The Red Paper.

Dunn remained a hard living activist, as his friend and co-worker and fellow Indigenous activist Johnny Yesno attested, calling him “a crazy bastard, a lazy bugger. I never ask him to do anything for me unless he’s hungry. I play his tapes and the audience always writes in to ask if the songs are on records. They’re not. Willie doesn’t care. There’s a guy from Columbia Records in New York that’s been trying to pin him down for three years. Most of the time you can’t even find him. He can’t stay in one place.”

One must wonder what lost songs of Willie’s might have sat in tape boxes gathering dust on CBC shelves around the country until our national broadcaster purged their tapes. The notion of artists outside the industry sending tapes of their songs and getting airplay on CBC is heart warming, but the relative paucity of recorded Indigenous music available from this era is disheartening.

According to Kevin Howes, whose work on the new Willie Dunn collection, “Creation Never Sleeps, Creation Never Dies: The Willie Dunn Anthology,” there are master tapes of some Dunn material, but others cuts on the new release were lifted from vinyl, as no tapes seem to exist. Dunn also appears on one of the two Mariposa Folk Festival live albums, performing “Heh Broker” in 1976. For a veritable troubadour who travelled and played a lot, there isn’t much live Dunn material.

The small Summus label released Dunn’s 1971 self titled debut album. This was re-recorded soon after for Quebec’s Ko’Tai label. And that would be all Canadians would hear from Dunn for many years. As Canadian record heads know, both Summus and Ko’Tai labels’ records are not easy to find, the records quickly went out of print, and popular titles are quite expensive, now. The rest of Dunn’s material comes from CBC produced transcription discs, which were pressed in small numbers for CBC affiliate stations, including a few abroad. These were never retailed, and copies of Dunn’s releases are almost impossible to find.

In Germany, where his talents were better appreciated in the 1980’s than here in Canada, Dunn toured (also playing Italy) and two albums were released on the Trikont label; first came ”The Pacific,” in 1980. This would take a few more years to see a Canadian release on Stompin’ Tom’s Boot Records label. “The Vanity of Human Wishes” was Dunn’s follow-up German album. In 2015, a DVD of a 2000 appearance in Berlin was released. In Canada, “Son of the Sun” was covered by Kashtin at the turn of the 90’s, bringing some exposure to younger fans.

Dunn never stopped making music, and busked for many years in Ottawa.

He released a CD, and one can imagine he sold cassettes like many of his fellow buskers of the 1980’s and 90’s. There are downloads available of unreleased demos and the like, released through his family. In 2005 Dunn received a Lifetime Achievement award at the Indigenous Music Awards. In June 2021, Solstice Indigenous Music Awards, Willie Dunn, was recognized posthumously as recipient of the Legacy Award.

Sadly, Willie Dunn never saw the release of the Native North America album, a collection of most Canadian Indigenous music – not powwow music, but of contemporary tunes. The collection brought more attention to the artists featured, and Dunn was among the most prominent “discoveries.” 

Luckily for those of us who didn’t know who he was when Dunn was when alive, there is a concert on Youtube, recorded not long before Willie left us, on August 5, 2013. Willie passed away in Ottawa, at the age of 71.

Here is a shorter biography and an thorough rundown of Willie Dunn’s released work, from CBC transcription discs to records to a DVD and downloads. 

Here is Willie Dunn’s NFB page.

Here is a 2013 show by Willie Dunn at the CNACA Festival. Cuts include Charlie, School Days, Louis Riel, Crazy Horse and more.

Erik Twight @VeritableInfusion, proprietor of Basil’s Books & Vinyl and Freelance Writer specializing in current affairs, history, photography, and music. He produces a weekly podcast/radio show on (89.5FM Toronto) arranged thematically and with commentary.

Songwriters Association of Canada posts songwriter related news and events as a resource to members. Publishing these posts does not imply that the S.A.C. endorses the teacher, product, service, or company.

Some Six Nations Sounds – Part 3

Written by: Erik Twight

Round Dances, Blues Dancing and Club Music – A few Six Nations selections.

Pappy John’s Band – The Bar Road Band was where Don Powless and Murry Porter Mohawks from Six Nations, and Oren Doxtater from Oneida Settlement near London, met in 1978. With a few additions to their line up they became Pappy John’s Band. They became the house band on APTN’s Buffalo Tracks. Along the way they picked up a Juno nomination and several Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards in the early 2000’s.

Here’s a song addressing the 1492 Land Back Lane protest, called “Solidarity.”

Murray Porter 

Murray Porter branched out from Pappy John’s Band to play his own music, and met some early success with his 1995 release, “1492, Who Found Who.”

Now based in Squamish Territory in North Vancouver, he won a Juno in 2012 for “Songs Lived and Life Played.” The keyboard player leads his own band, and usually plays western Canada. “Stand Up,” his latest album, is currently nominated for a Summer Solstice Indigenous Music Award for Roots Album, and Porter himself has been nominated for Recording Artist of the Year.

Derek Miller 

A guitar slinger who got to tour the country after Buffy Ste Marie hired him, Derek Miller has received accolades and awards over two decades and change.

The 46 year-old has been at it since his teens, and released his first solo album in 2002, “Music is the Medicine,” which garnered him a Juno the following year. He’s since released a few more singles, a couple of albums, and worked on fil and t.v. material including compiling the 2015 collection “Rumble.”

Here is a live staple of Miler’s, a cover of Hank Williams party classic “Jambalaya.”

Dwayne Laforme –

Dwayne Laforme has been slinging the blues on guitar for over 30 years.

Raised on both Six Nations and the Mississauga of the Credit First Nation, Laforme also grew up in a musical atmosphere. In addition to his band, Dwayne Laforme’s Boogie Blues, he also plays with others, like the Mighty Ducks Blues Band. Before that’s he’s joined forces with Dutch Mason and joined the Downchild Blues Band on stage.

Logan Staats – Trading the blues for contemporary pop, Logaan Staats was profiled on the music business reality t.v. show The Launch on CTV. That raised his profile since 20014’s Aboriginal People’s Choice Award for best new album with his band at that time, Ghost Town Orchestra.

Here is a live cut with a spare esthetic one might compare to his material from The Launch.

Tru Rez Crew-

Straight outta Ohsweken Ontario, this Six Nations rap crew have been in the business for nearly 20 years. They hit in 2004 when they won two awards at the Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards in Toronto for Best Album, and their song “I’m A Lucky One.” Some members carry the struggle onward with 6BronxZoo.


6BronxZoo is a collective of independent M.C.’s from Six Nations whose raps about land defenders and education are aimed at edifying local youth, while keeping them dancing. Some members like Jimi James, came out of Tru Rez Crew. He told Janet Rogers, for a Taddle Creek article, 6BronxZoo “riffs off the term Six Nay Zoo – when big tourist busses roll through the rez, filled with people taking pictures of us ;like we’re animals in a zoo. The Bronx part honours the roots of hip hop, where it started.” Here is a video with Jimi James, Pete Nyce, Fresh Quest and Tee Zee.

The Halluci Nation (Formerly A Tribe Called Red)-

Founding member of A Tribe Called Red Tim 2oolman Hill, a Six Nations Mohawk, found likeminded people in Ottawa to launch an Indigenous themed club night, A Tribe Called Red. Since 2007 ATCR has played across North America and managed to hit the Germany, the U.K. and Greece.

In 2014 they won two Junos, including Breakthrough Group, with more Juno nominations and an award to come in 2017 and 2018. They have also worked with many Indigenous artists, including the remix of Keith Secola’s popular “NDN Kar.”

ATCR’s music has been Powwow Step and Electric Powwow. Earlier in 2021 ATCR announced their name change to The Halluci Nation, the title of their 2016 album, itself taken from a speech by Indigenous activist John Trudell. 

Here is a video of The Halluci Nation with Saul Williams and Chippewa Travelers.

Six Nations Singers – Yeh Yen Wen Sa Gey Had Nad Tren Nute Ta (Vinyl)

This is an interesting album; it has a series of dances, beginning with a 16-minute Round Dance. There are moments of talking before songs, including an English reference to the final song, “Alligator Dance.”

The L.P. cover mentions the two instruments featured on here; the water drum and the cow horn rattle, as well as foot stomping and chair hitting. The songs are described as Iroquois social, rather than religious music. The call and response with minimal percussion is vaguely reminiscent of New Orleans’ Mardi Gras Indian music from bands like The White Eagles. The Woodland Cultural Centre is thanked as well, a reminder of the ever present Mohawk Institute.

Erik Twight @VeritableInfusion, proprietor of Basil’s Books & Vinyl and Freelance Writer specializing in current affairs, history, photography, and music. He produces a weekly podcast/radio show on (89.5FM Toronto) arranged thematically and with commentary.

Songwriters Association of Canada posts songwriter related news and events as a resource to members. Publishing these posts does not imply that the S.A.C. endorses the teacher, product, service, or company.

Some Six Nations Sounds – Part 2

Written by: Erik Twight

Most early recordings of Indigenous people were done at the behest and with sponsorship from The Smithsonian Institute, followed by folkloric and archival endeavours.

The Smithsonian Institute recorded George Buck and some of his brothers singing. The Buck family were recorded for other albums, too. There is a three l.p. set from 1969, and that material seems to have been re-released as single albums later on as Iroquois Social Dance Songs 1 through 3. The Buck brothers also appear on an album mentioned below, which features what sound like different recordings of some of the same material.

Unfortunately, recordings from the Six Nations Reserve or any other Canadian Indigenous artists outside an academic or folkloric context from this era are rare. One might wonder what people might have recorded on home equipment – shows, parties, rehearsals… but finding records or even private recordings online of Six Nations artists of the 1960’s and 1970’s isn’t easy. Given the increased interest in First Nations music and musicians in recent years, it seems highly unlikely there is some unknown CBC collection or privately pressed and sold records floating around.

Historically, the blues is integral to Six Nations’ music scene. American radio stations blasted blues shows within reach of reserve radios, but the connection goes back further.

Tuscaroran singer and activist Pura Fé incorporates Tuscarora dance songs into blues music, and maintains the blues grew from both Indigenous and African American cultures. “My Nation has been systematically disenfranchised and disregarded. Many people think we have nothing to do with the development in Southern culture. Not only were we captured and shipped off as slaves to the Caribbean, we were bred together on slave plantations. African and Indian slaves were harboured, escorted, and smuggled across the Canadian border through Indian country.”

The North Carolina Tuscarora had indeed fled north the southern Ontario and become the sixth nation to join the Iroquois Confederacy.

Red, Black and Blues: Race, Nation and Recognition for the Blues, an essay by M. Celia Cain, describes how “after 1715 a number of Tuscarora remained in Indian Woods, North Carolina and gave refuge to escaped slaves. The Tuscarora in North Carolina and southern Ontario set up networks with ‘Quakers, Moravians, and leading abolitionists and helped establish part of the Underground Railway on the Tuscarora Trails.”

(From Red, Black and Blues: Race, Nation and Recognition for the Bluez” by M.Celia Cain, essay)

With that in mind, Part 3 features  some Six Nations jams from years gone by, bringing us from traditional songs to the blues and into modern club sounds.

Erik Twight @VeritableInfusion, proprietor of Basil’s Books & Vinyl and Freelance Writer specializing in current affairs, history, photography, and music. He produces a weekly podcast/radio show on (89.5FM Toronto) arranged thematically and with commentary.

Songwriters Association of Canada posts songwriter related news and events as a resource to members. Publishing these posts does not imply that the S.A.C. endorses the teacher, product, service, or company.

Some Six Nations Sounds – Part 1

Some Six Nations background

Written by: Erik Twight

As June flies by, S.A.C. considers Indigenous Peoples Day, from a musical angle. Following the horrific discovery of 215 children’s graves at the Kamloops Residential School, it seems fitting to mention The Mohawk Institute, Canada’s oldest Residential School, located near the Six Nations’ land.

Since scientific evidence in 2011 corroborated many stories of children buried on and near the Mohawk Institute’s property, it seems a country seeking Truth and Reconciliation with Indigenous people must seek out all of the truth before we consider how best to attempt reconciliation. 

The Six Nations of the Grand River reservation is Canada’s largest, with some 46 thousand acres. This actually represents a miniscule 5% of the original promised 950 thousand acres. The British promised this to Indigenous groups who took their side in the American Revolution, which resulted in the expulsion of the English and their Indigenous allies. The Six Nations, or Iroquois Confederacy boundaries were to have extended five miles on each side of the Grand River from it’s mouth at Lake Erie to it’s source, some 275 kilometers north, at Dundalk. This is specified in the Haldimand Treaty of 1784. Within its boundaries lies the New Credit Reserve.

The Six Nations Confederacy includes the Mohawk, Cayuga, Onondaga, Oneida, Seneca and Tuscarora nations. Some members of the Lenape (formerly Delaware) tribe live there as well.

The reserve has some 26 000 members. Led by Chief Joseph Brant, they confederacy’s reserve never extended to those boundaries, and indeed the group lost pieces of their land from the outset. The English signed away the present-day American portion of the land, with the Treaty of Paris. Today, there has been an extended protest on another disputed land site, the 1492 Land Back Lane. It was also near Brantford, and The Mohawk Institute. The Mohawk Institute closed decades ago but its sordid legacy not only persists, but has returned to Canadian news with the discovery of 215 children’s bodies at the Residential School near Kamloops, British Columbia.

The reserve’s best known musical legacy is, of course, The Band’s Robbie Robertson. At the Six Nations’ inaugural Lifetime Achievement Awards, they honoured Robertson who spoke to The Spectator’s Graham Rockingham. Spending multiple summers on the reserves as a kid, Robertson recalled “it did seem to me that everybody there played music and I decided I needed to get in on this. So it wasn’t long before my uncles and cousins were showing me where to put my fingers on the neck of the guitar. That was the genesis of my whole musical career.”

Erik Twight @VeritableInfusion, proprietor of Basil’s Books & Vinyl and Freelance Writer specializing in current affairs, history, photography, and music. He produces a weekly podcast/radio show on (89.5FM Toronto) arranged thematically and with commentary.

Songwriters Association of Canada posts songwriter related news and events as a resource to members. Publishing these posts does not imply that the S.A.C. endorses the teacher, product, service, or company.

Stop Playing Politics with the Canadian Creative Sector and Bill C-10

La français â suivre​

On June 4th, 2021, The Lethbridge Herald published remarks by Lethbridge MP and Official Opposition Critic for Digital Government, Rachael Harder. Ms. Harder’s comments have rightly received widespread condemnation from the Canadian creator community. The Songwriters Association of Canada shares this outrage and demands that Ms. Harder publicly apologize in the House of Commons and specifically to the creator community.

Ms. Harder states in the article:

“That arts fund actually goes toward a very niche group of artists that are stuck in the early 1990s because they haven’t managed to be competitive on new platforms. So they are very reliant on government grants in order to continue to exist. And, quite frankly, they are producing material that Canadians just don’t want. Because, at the end of the day, if Canadians did want it then there would be a market for it. And if there was a market for it then these artists would get paid based on the market.”

If one were to follow Ms. Harder’s preposterous logic, it stands to reason that Canadians would rather not listen to Jann Arden, Corb Lund, Paul Brandt, K.D. Lang, Terri Clark, Brett Kissel, Blue Rodeo, The Tragically Hip, Drake, The Weeknd, Daniel Caesar, Metric, Feist, Broken Social Scene, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Jessie Reyez, Jully Black, Marie-Mai, Dumas, Kaytranada, or Tanya Tagaq to name only a small few. Obviously, this is hardly a “niche group”. Without exception, Canadian content regulations have fostered, promoted, and supported the incredible creative contribution that these and so many others have given towards our cultural identity as Canadians, not to mention our economy and to the world.

The article goes on with:

“The Liberals decided back in April they were going to remove that (4.1) clause,” says Harder. “When they removed that clause, they then made Canadians, their individual content they are posting online, they made that content susceptible to regulations of the bill. Which means their content will be censored. What you post on YouTube, what you post on Facebook, what you post on TikTok, will be measured according to its degree of ‘Canadianess.’ And then it will either be allowed to stand or not allowed to stand, or it will be promoted or demoted, within the network or framework of the platform on which it is posted.”

This is patently false as well as a gross mischaracterization of the spirit and intent of the legislation. Apparatuses are already in place to determine what is Canadian content. For the music sector it is the MAPL logo. For audio/visual works there is an existing CRTC definition as well. Identifying what is Canadian content simply enhances discoverability of professional Canadian content. No one individual or agency will be measuring user-generated content for its “Canadianess”. Additionally, no legal content from any territory will be blocked, demoted, or not allowed to stand – rather, content from Canadian creators will be made more discoverable, exactly like it is with traditional radio and television broadcasters currently – a regulatory framework that has served Canadian creators and audiences successfully since the 1970s; all within the parameters of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

And additionally, from the article:

“She [Ms. Harder] feels this special interest group, many of whom originate in Quebec in her opinion, are the real drivers behind Bill C10, and that’s why the Liberals, Bloc and NDP, which are all trying to gain votes in that province, are flirting with passing a bill, likely by this fall, which will certainly face a constitutional challenge as soon as it is given Royal Assent.”

That Quebec creators were the drivers behind Bill C-10 is simply false. The Songwriters Association of Canada and countless others who advocate on behalf of the creative sector have ALL worked and encouraged the government to draft legislation like C-10. In fact, the S.A.C. posted on June 7, 2021 a statement supporting Bill C-10 along with 30 other sectoral organizations from all parts of the country. Instead of “opinions” Ms. Harder should be sharing facts with the public regarding Bill C-10. Her deeply uninformed positions only serve to confuse the substantive issues at hand and threaten to further imperil the creator community – a community who has suffered profoundly from the pandemic. Considering that the entertainment industry is larger than mining, lumber and tourism combined, one would hope Ms. Harder would speak on these issues with a modicum of seriousness and informed by facts – rather than with strident electioneering.

We as small business owners and entrepreneurs share certain values – values that espouse hard work, independence, innovation, creativity, fair and accessible markets, and a regulatory framework that keeps markets competitive.  However, Ms. Harder’s position only serves to strengthen false-narratives from foreign-owned tech companies who continue to rake in fortunes, unregulated by our laws, dismissive of our parliamentreckless with our citizen’s data, and trampling creators’ copyright protections.

Considering Ms. Harder’s public derogation of the Canadian creative sector, The Songwriters Association of Canada must ask the Conservative Party of Canada for clarity. Are Ms. Harder’s views endorsed by party leadership? And if not Bill C-10, what is the CPC’s vision for a fair, transparent, and maneuverable regulatory system where Canadian creators can continue to contribute – both economically and culturally? We also ask the Liberal Government, the Bloc Québécois, and the NDP for public assurances that Big Tech’s disruptive tactics will not be prioritized over the economic and cultural sovereignty of creators, the creative sector, or Canadian citizens.

The Songwriters Association of Canada thanks you for your attention and we look forward to each of your responses.


Arun Chaturvedi
Songwriters Association of Canada

With support from:



Le 4 juin 2021, le journal The Lethbridge Herald publiait certaines remarques de Mme Rachel Harder, députée de la circonscription de Lethbridge et critique de l’opposition officielle pour le Gouvernement numérique. Comme on pouvait s’y attendre, ces propos ont suscité la condamnation généralisée de la communauté canadienne des créateurs et des créatrices. L’Association des auteurs-compositeurs canadiens (S.A.C.) partage cette indignation et exige que Mme Harder présente publiquement ses excuses à la Chambre des communes, et plus spécifiquement à la communauté des créateurs.

Mme Harder déclare dans cet article :   

« Ce financement pour les arts s’adresse effectivement à un très petit groupe de membres de la communauté artistique qui vivent encore comme dans les années 1990 parce qu’ils n’ont pas réussi à être concurrentiels sur les nouvelles plateformes. Ils comptent énormément sur les subventions gouvernementales pour continuer d’exister. Et, pour dire la vérité, ils produisent du matériel dont les Canadiens ne veulent tout simplement pas. Parce que, au bout du compte, si les Canadiens en voulaient, alors il y aurait un marché pour ce matériel. Et s’il y avait un marché pour ce matériel, ces artistes se feraient payer en fonction du marché. »  

Si on suivait jusqu’au bout la logique grotesque de Mme Harder, il faudrait alors dire que les Canadiens préféreraient ne pas écouter Jann Arden, Corb Lund, Paul Brandt, K.D. Lang, Terri Clark, Brett Kissel, Blue Rodeo, The Tragically Hip, Drake, The Weeknd, Daniel Caesar, Metric, Feist, Broken Social Scene, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Jessie Reyez, Jully Black, Marie-Mai, Dumas, Kaytranada ni Tanya Tagaq, pour ne nommer que quelques artistes. Il est clair qu’il ne s’agit pas d’un « petit groupe ». Sans aucune exception, les règlements canadiens en matière de contenu ont encouragé, défendu et soutenu les incroyables contributions créatives que ces artistes et tellement d’autres ont apportées à notre identité culturelle comme Canadiens et Canadiennes, sans mentionner notre économie et le reste du monde. 

On peut lire plus loin dans l’article : 

« Les Libéraux ont décidé en avril dernier d’éliminer cette clause (4.1) », poursuit Mme Harder. « En éliminant cette clause, ils ont alors rendu les Canadiens, les contenus individuels qu’ils affichent en ligne, ils ont rendu ce contenu sujet aux réglementations du projet de loi. Ce qui veut dire que leur contenu sera censuré. Ce que vous affichez sur YouTube, ce que vous affichez sur Facebook, ce que vous affichez sur TikTok sera évalué en fonction de son degré de ‘canadienneté’. Et alors on lui permettra ou ne lui permettra pas de rester là, ou il sera promu ou rétrogradé, et ce, à l’intérieur du réseau ou du cadre de la plateforme sur laquelle il est affiché. »

Cela est tout à fait faux, et c’est une grossière représentation de l’esprit et de l’intention de la loi. Il existe déjà des mécanismes pour déterminer ce qui constitue un contenu canadien. Pour le secteur de la musique, c’est le logo MAPL. Pour les œuvres audiovisuelles, il existe déjà une definition du CRTC également. Le fait de pouvoir identifier le contenu canadien ne fait qu’améliorer la découvrabilité du contenu professionnel canadien.  Personne ni aucune agence ne mesurera le contenu généré par les utilisateurs  pour en déterminer la « canadienneté ». Qui plus est, aucun contenu légal d’aucun territoire ne sera bloqué, déchu ou éliminé – au contraire, le contenu des créateurs canadiens sera rendu davantage découvrable, et ce, exactement comme le font déjà la radio traditionnelle et les télédiffuseurs – un cadre de réglementation qui rend d’excellents services aux créateurs et aux publics canadiens depuis les années 1970; le tout en conformité avec la Charte canadienne des droits et libertés.  
Autre passage de l’article : 

« Elle [Mme Harder] pense que ce groupe d’intérêts spéciaux, dont plusieurs membres viennent du Québec, selon elle, est la véritable force derrière le Projet de loi C10, et que c’est pourquoi les Libéraux, le Bloc et le NPD, qui essaient tous de remporter des votes dans cette province, songent à faire adopter un projet de loi, probablement d’ici l’automne, qui fera certainement l’objet d’une contestation constitutionnelle dès qu’il aura reçu la sanction royale. »

C’est une erreur manifeste que de prétendre que ce sont les créateurs québécois qui ont été la force derrière le projet de loi C-10. L’Association des auteurs-compositeurs canadiens ainsi que d’innombrables autres personnes qui ont pris la défense du secteur de la création ont TOUS aidé à encourager le gouvernement à produire un projet de loi comme le C-10. En fait, la S.A.C. a publié le 7 juin dernier, un communiqué appuyant le projet de loi C-10 avec 30 organisations du secteur culturel de partout à travers le pays. Au lieu de partager des « opinions », Mme Harder ferait mieux de partager des faits avec le public concernant le projet de loi C-10. Ses positions profondément mal informées ne servent qu’à brouiller les questions de fond qui sont en jeu et à menacer de mettre encore plus gravement en péril la communauté des créateurs – une communauté qui a profondément souffert des effets de la pandémie. Si on considère que l’industrie du divertissement est plus importante que la somme des industries minière, forestière et touristique, on pourrait s’attendre à ce que Mme Harder aborde ces enjeux avec un minimum de sérieux et en se fondant sur les faits – au lieu de donner dans la propagande électorale.

Comme propriétaires de petites entreprises ou entrepreneurs, nous partageons un certain nombre de valeurs  – des valeurs comme le travail acharné, l’indépendance, l’innovation, la créativité, l’équité et l’accessibilité des marchés ainsi que le cadre de réglementation qui permet aux marchés de demeurer concurrentiels. La position de Mme Harder ne sert malheureusement qu’à renforcer de fausses représentations créées par des entreprises de technologie d’origine étrangère qui continuent de s’enrichir sans que nos lois n’interviennent , en cas d’outrage à notre parlementimprudents avec les données de nos citoyenset qui piétinent la protection du droit d’auteur des créateurs.

Compte tenu de cette déclaration publique de Mme Harder à l’encontre du secteur créatif canadien, l’Association des auteurs-compositeurs canadiens demande au Parti conservateur du Canada d’émettre une clarification. Les idées de Mme Harder sont-elles celles de la direction du parti?  Et, s’il ne s’agit pas du projet de loi C-10, quelle est la vision du PCC à l’égard d’un système de réglementation juste, transparent et souple qui soit capable de permettre aux créateurs canadiens de continuer d’apporter leurs contributions économiques et culturelles? Nous demandons également que le gouvernement libéral, le Bloc Québécois et le NPD rassurent le public que les manœuvres perturbatrices de Big Tech ne l’emporteront pas sur la souveraineté économique et culturelle des créateurs, sur le secteur de la création et sur les citoyens et citoyennes du Canada.

L’Association des auteurs-compositeurs canadiens vous remercie de l’attention que vous porterez à cette demande et attend impatiemment votre réponse.


This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is arun-chaturvedi-signature.png

Arun Chaturvedi

Avec l’appui de:

Canadian Independent Music Association (CIMA)
Canadian Live Music Association (CLMA)
Screen Composers Guild of Canada (SCGC)

Songwriters Association of Canada posts songwriter related news and events as a resource to members.
Publishing these posts does not imply that the S.A.C. endorses the teacher, product, service, or company.

S.A.C. is a proud signatory and supporter for Bill C-10. Bill C-10 is a critical first step towards rules that are fair and effective, and reflect the modern-day media landscape. Delaying this important legislation further will only strengthen foreign digital players at the expense of our distinct Canadian voices.

It’s time to refocus on the urgent task at hand — building a sustainable, competitive, world-class broadcasting sector that continues to serve Canadians. Below is the public service announcement prepared by CAB published in the Hill Times on June 7 & 8, 2021.

Modernizing Canada’s Broadcasting Act is long overdue. The legislation has not been updated since it was introduced 30 years ago, and it has not kept up with transformative changes in technology and consumer expectations over the past three decades. 

By giving a free ride to foreign streaming services, the current law and related regulations favour global digital platforms over our own broadcasters, producers, musicians and creators, placing many of them at risk. 

Canada’s broadcasting, production and music communities are part of the cultural and economic fabric of the entire nation — in countless communities large and small. We support Canadian content made for and by Canadians. We deliver local, regional and national news and information, educational, and entertainment programming. We support community initiatives. We offer a platform for Canadian creators and businesses. And we sustain hundreds of thousands of jobs. 

Bill C-10 is a critical first step towards rules that are fair and effective, and reflect the modern-day media landscape. Delaying this important legislation further will only strengthen foreign digital players at the expense of our distinct Canadian voices. 

It’s time to refocus on the urgent task at hand — building a sustainable, competitive, world-class broadcasting sector that continues to serve Canadians. 


Hill Times

(French Version follows)

SAC. est un fier signataire et partisan de Bill C-10. Le projet de loi C-10 est un premier pas essentiel vers des règles équitables et efficaces qui reflètent le paysage médiatique moderne. Retarder davantage cette mesure législative importante ne fera que renforcer les acteurs numériques étrangers au détriment de nos voix canadiennes distinctes.

 La modernisation de la Loi sur la radiodiffusion se fait attendre depuis très longtemps. La législation n’a pas été mise à jour depuis son introduction il y a 30 ans, et n’a, depuis, pas suivi l’évolution des technologies et les attentes des consommateurs. 

En laissant le champ libre aux services de diffusion en continu étrangers, la Loi actuelle et les règlements connexes favorisent les plateformes numériques mondiales par rapport à nos propres radiodiffuseurs, télédiffuseurs, producteurs, musiciens et créateurs, ce qui expose bon nombre d’entre eux à des enjeux de viabilité très sérieuses. 

La communauté de radiodiffusion, production audiovisuelle et de musique canadienne font partie du tissu culturel et économique de toute la nation — dans d’innombrables collectivités, grandes et petites. Nous contribuons au contenu canadien fait pour et par les Canadiens. Nous produisons et diffusons de la programmation de divertissement, des émissions éducatives, de nouvelles et d’information locales, régionales et nationales. Nous appuyons les initiatives communautaires. Nous offrons une plateforme aux artistes, artisans et aux entreprises canadiennes, et nous créons des centaines de milliers d’emplois. 

Le projet de loi C-10 est un premier pas essentiel vers des règles équitables et efficaces qui reflètent le paysage médiatique moderne. Retarder davantage cette mesure législative importante ne fera que renforcer les acteurs numériques étrangers au détriment de nos voix canadiennes distinctes. 


For more information, see this Bill-C 10 FAQ document shared by CDEC.

The Songwriters Association of Canada posts songwriter related news and events as a resource to members. Publishing these posts does not imply that the S.A.C. endorses the teacher, product, service, or company.

S.A.C. Women’s History Month Series – Ruby Waters

Still in her early 20’s, Ruby Waters is a successful songwriter, seasoned live performer, and certainly eager to resume her live concerts like everyone else on either side of the stage. Earlier this year, shew played a three night stand online, for the series “Dinner and a Show” in Toronto.

Waters, born to a Slovakian father and Metis mother was raised in Shelburne, Ontario. Since joining her mother on stage at the age of 4, music was always at around by the time she started busking as a teenager. 

Like her parents, who met as touring musicians, Waters got the urge to travel, and moved west, until an acid trip in B.C. inspired her to resettle in Toronto. Here, she “released” a couple of songs in 2015 on the Youtube channel Toronto Acoustic Sessions. As an aside, there is an Adele cover in what must be one of Waters’ earliest videos, from 2011 on her YT channel.

After recording enough of her own songs to become frustrated with what she called her “e.p. cemetery,” she started to release some of them. “Sweet Sublime” was Waters’ 2018 debut, followed by “Supernatural” and “Last Cigarette” in 2019.

Waters’ songs, whether on her own or with a band, have a spare quality in their arrangements which keep the lyrics front and centre. Still, her music sounds more polished than folk songs, but as a consummate singer-songwriter, they aren’t really poppy, either. She records with Sam Willow, her producer and close friend.

With her e.p. “Almost Naked” out, and touring heavily, 2019 was a busy year. She opened for Serena Ryder’s Ontario shows, and toured with Classified. She can be heard on his song “10 Years” but she is not in the video. After another tour, this time with City and Colour, Ruby Waters headlined at a packed Horseshoe Tavern in her adopted home town in November 2019.

With touring shelved in 2020, Waters released her follow up e.p. “If It Comes Down to It” on October 16th. The single “Rabbit Hole” is about drugs and depression, but as she told CBC, “all the worst days bring the best songs.” In another interview, Waters discussed her song-writing approach saying “it always starts with a line that comes out of nowhere and I try to build on that.” While some songs have unhappy backstories, recording them once they’re written comes easy enough. Most of her last e.p. was recorded at her “old house” which Waters shared with a bunch of musicians. The single “Quantum Physics” drew almost two million streams in the months following its release, and her songs continue to gather momentum online.

Ruby Waters’ Youtube channel->

Written by: Erik Twight

Erik Twight @VeritableInfusion, proprietor of Basil’s Books & Vinyl and Freelance Writer specializing in current affairs, history, photography, and music. He produces a weekly podcast/radio show on (89.5FM Toronto) arranged thematically and with commentary.

Songwriters Association of Canada posts songwriter related news and events as a resource to members. Publishing these posts does not imply that the S.A.C. endorses the teacher, product, service, or company.

S.A.C. Black History Songwriters Series: Vancouver Soul History

Most early Canadian soul music came from Ontario. Canada’s Black population was concentrated in the country’s biggest cities, as well as parts of Nova Scotia. Of the few Canadian soul records out there, generally 45’s, most were recorded and released in Ontario. Fans might then understandably overlook some of our soulful west coast vibes, and Vancouver’s music history isn’t discussed nationally as often as Toronto’s.

Given Canada’s relatively small Black population, especially 60 years ago, a lot of 1960’s soul music here came from white bands, some of whom had Black singers. This wasn’t unique to Canada; Geno Washington in England, Jay and the Techniques from Pennsylvania, and upstate New York’s Wilmer and The Dukes all come to mind. Nonetheless, there were fairly few all-Black bands in Canada at the time, which helps explain why the first Black Canadian band to get signed to a major label wasn’t until 1975, for Crack of Dawn.  

Many Black Albertans arrived in Canada in the early and mid twentieth century, leaving Jim Crow states like Oklahoma behind for a new life on the Canadian prairies. Cities like Calgary weren’t particularly hospitable to minorities, according to Tommy Chong who grew up there and formed a band with four African Canadians, before being asked to leave town and take his band with him. Chong’s band The Shades, and the singer Jayson Hoover would, separately, find their ways to Vancouver and shake up the soul music scene over there.

While isolated from the rest of Canada, Vancouver was the last northern stop on the Pacific touring circuit. When borders were easier to cross, Vancouver was a regular stop for San Francisco bands as well as international touring bands playing the U.S. west coast.

There were multiple soul bands in town, and some had Black singers, like Soul Unlimited with singer Carl Graves, and Jamaican- Canadian Kentish Steele sang for The Shantelles.

In 1964, Jayson Hoover left Alberta on vacation to visit Vancouver, and never looked back. He teamed up with local soul players The Epics, where he met his future song-writing partner Jim Harmata 

Jayson Hoover and Barry Collins shared vocals for the band, calling themselves The Soul Brothers, until Collins left in 1965. With his actual brother Tom, Collins would soon sing for fellow Vancouver soul purveyors Mojo & Co.

The Epics are featured on the 1967 double album “Live From The Grooveyard.” It features most of the Vancouver soul players of the era, minus Bobby Taylor and the Vancouvers. Jamaican-born Kentish Steele’s smooth vocals for The Shantelles. The Carl Graves- fronted Soul Unlimited and Jayson Hoover with The Epics are all on this album, along with The Stags, Shockers, Nocturnals and Night Train Revue. While recorded in a local studio with audience noise dubbed in, it provides a glimpse of what those shows presumably sounded like. The album leaves a decent document for posterity; if only other cities’ scenes could have gotten similar projects off the ground, documenting their era.

There is some confusion regarding exactly when The Epics folded morphed into The Trials of Jayson Hoover. Some sources say the year was 1966, but The Epics perform a cover of The Parliaments’ “I Wanna Testify” on the local television show “Let’s Go,” and that George Clinton song came out mid 1967.

CBC’s “Let’s Go” was part of a multi-city music t.v. series shot from coast to coast through the work week, starting in Vancouver, then continuing through Winnipeg, Toronto, Montreal and Halifax. Quite a few notable Canadian musicians passed through during the show’s run, most notably The Guess Who.

One frustrating aspect of “Let’s Go” is the show had great international artists who were only ever interviewed (instead of playing), and their hit songs performed by local Canadians, who were only allowed to play covers of the new international hits. Regardless, “Let’s Go” put a few local soul acts on Canadian television, giving them significant exposure in the days when there only were a few channels. Jayson Hoover and Lynn Brooks sang through a Motown themed episode, while The Collins Brothers with the Mojo Co. were featured in another soul themed episode.

The Trials of Jayson Hoover opened for a few big acts passing through Vancouver, including Led Zeppelin’s 1968 Canadian debut. In December of that year they released their first single, “King Size,” written by Hoover and Jim Harmata. The song was cut in Vancouver and released on Tom Northcott’s New Syndrome label. It reached #8 on local charts.

The following year, they held down a residency in Portland Oregon, and played in western Canada.

In 1970, Hoover formed Anvil Chorus to play harder, more psychedelic music. Anvil Chorus released a string of singles in 1970, playing with a Funkadelic infused vibe. “Rhythm Is The Way” – another Hoover – Harmata collaboration- was first, and it was issued through much of Europe. For some reason Hoover at this time was credited as Jayson Henderson.

The Trials of Jayson Hoover, personnel and name, were back in action by the end of 1970. They released a few more singles, including a cover of one-time Torontonian Tobi Lark’s song “Freedom Train.” Hoover’s rendition made the local top 20.

They appeared in a March 1971 issue of RPM magazine, which mentions a Hawaiian residency, and this happened months before Hoover left the group. Interestingly, Hoover recently posted an ad for the band’s Toronto debut on his Facebook page, and they didn’t play Toronto until 1971, despite a strong local soul music scene. It serves as a reminder that cross-country touring was more daunting than some bands were ready for.

Hoover’s first solo single “Everything’s Alright” was his last for New Syndrome Records, as he signed with Mushroom Records, Vancouver’s largest home-grown label. He played as Jayson Hoover and Stuff around this time. His 1974 self titled album has a number of funk gems. “She’s My Lady” reached the Winnipeg Top 20. Hoover was back on CBC TV in 1974, on the “Music Machine” show.  

About half the songs on the album are written by Hoover with his new guitarist, Dennis Green. Clydie King and King Errison (of Incredible Bongo Band fame) are among the players. The funk songs are solid, and mixed with slow jams. The Counts’ “Ridin High” opens the l.p.    

Hoover has continued to sing over the intervening decades, and turned 75 last year. Jayson Hoover and the Groovers is but one of his more recent bands’ names. Hoover’s Facebook page mentions a documentary, to be released later in 2021.

In the next part of this tale from the old west, fellow Albertans The Shades move to Vancouver, and record one of Canada’s biggest yet least known soul hits.

While Jayson Hoover left Alberta to find success singing for Vancouver’s The Epics, The Calgary Shades left Alberta to find immense success with an American singer they’d work with in Vancouver.

The Shades were doing brisk business playing around Calgary before the mayor and chief of police summoned their guitar player, Tommy Chong, and advised him and his band to leave town. Tommy Chong had family connections to Vancouver night spots, which presumably made relocating on the coast less daunting a move.

The Shades went through a few names in their short existence, some risqué and others unprintable today. In Vancouver they worked and recorded as Little Daddy and the Bachelors.

Bobby Taylor started singing at 3 years old and his repertoire came to include many styles, including Gregorian chants. Born in 1934 and raised in Washington D.C. Taylor saw weekly Ku Klux Klan meetings at the Capitol, and decided he’d be safer fighting in Korea. Discharged in 1951, the 17-year-old war veteran went to New York City and later Ohio to sing, before finding himself in San Francisco where he met his next band. At least one account has the band meeting Taylor in Vancouver, and Tommy Chong’s recollections have proven inconsistent over the years. For instance, most accounts say Chong pushed for the band’s rude name changes after seeing Lenny Bruce in San Francisco. Chong has said in at least one interview the name “4 N-words and a C-word” was Taylor’s idea. The band actually used that name, as well as the full spelling, as well as Four Coloured Fellows and an Oriental Lad.

The cantankerous Taylor must have liked Chong’s guitar style. According to producer and author Ian Levine, Taylor once fired Jimi Hendrix because “his solos went on too long.”

Hoping to get actual bookings, Bobby Taylor seems to have had a hand in coming up with the name Bobby Taylor and the Vancouvers.

The band was playing at the Elegant Parlour in Vancouver in 1966 when Supremes Mary Wilson and Florence Ballard showed up. They got word back to their label boss Berry Gordy about this hot band (who played plenty of Motown covers in their regular set) and Bobby Taylor and the Vancouvers were signed to Motown.

The band toured with the pre-Funkadelic Parliaments and by the end of 1967 they relocated to Windsor Ontario, after getting nervous in post uprising Detroit. One song, written by Tommy Chong, became a smash hit and nudged Motown toward including more topical songs in their catalogue.

Sang by Bobby Taylor, most assumed “Does Your Mama Know About Me?” was written about Taylor dating a white girl. Through the spring of 1968 the song climbed the charts, ultimate reaching # 5 R&B and 29 on Billboard’s pop chart.

Maxine Sneed was the girl in the song; her brothers were in Chong’s band and he had married Maxine Sneed back in 1960. “Does Your Mama Know About Me?” was about Chong’s worries concerning meeting Sneed’s African Canadian mother, as an Asian Canadian guy.

While on tour in 1968, Bobby Taylor and the Vancouvers had a series of dates at the Regal Theatre in Chicago; a ten day battle of the bands. One that caught Taylor’s attention was Indiana’s Jackson 5. Taylor got them an audition for Motown and went to work for the band. The Vancouvers were redeployed to back label mate Chris Clarke, and soon two of them were fired when they were late for a show after applying for Green Cards. Wes Henderson moved on, Tommy Chong was more interested in comedy by this time and was happy to go, and drummer Floyd Sneed went to play with Three Dog Night. Taylor joined The Corporation, Motown’s new elite song-writing team, led by Gordy himself, but didn’t last there. Her recorded for a series of smaller labels after leaving Motown.

Bobby Taylor and the Vancouvers never repeated the success of “Does Your Mama Know About Me?” Still, that song is an enduring classic, and lives on as fans continue to apply it to their own experiences in relationships with a looming parental shadow.

Written by: Erik Twight

Erik Twight @VeritableInfusion, proprietor of Basil’s Books & Vinyl and Freelance Writer specializing in current affairs, history, photography, and music. He produces a weekly podcast/radio show on (89.5FM Toronto) arranged thematically and with commentary.

Songwriters Association of Canada posts songwriter related news and events as a resource to members. Publishing these posts does not imply that the S.A.C. endorses the teacher, product, service, or company.

S.A.C. Black History Songwriters Series: Gary Beals

There are some curves in life, some longer or sharper than others. Over the last 17 years, Gary Beals has taken them and put aspects of life’s winding road into his new music. Born October 25 1982, the Toronto-based Scotian-originated singer has been struggling, like other artists, with getting one’s music out there when there are no shows, no clubs and a whole lot of streaming.

Hailing from a church singing background in Cherrybrook Nova Scotia, Beals liked mellow soul like Al Green. His 2004 self titled debut was a slick, polished affair. That was recorded on the heels of Season One of Canadian Idol, when Beals was the 17-year-old runner up. Beals’ debut had solid dance ready cuts like “They Don’t Know.”

In 2009 he released a second disc, “The Rebirth Of Gary Beals,” which featured more polished r&b and dabbled in other styles like the dancehall flavour of “Jump Off.”

Beals has described the conflicts of his sexuality during interviews, and he has enjoyed the liberation of living out for some years, now. He writes and works with other writers on his songs, and has worked with produced instrumental tracks to sing on. Beals plays with multiple bands on stage when there are stages to play, and while there are no shows, he’s been promoting his new music on social media and with interviews. “Bleed My Teeth” was released last October 23, with videos trickling out. “Me For Me” has a couple of videos, one a live band performance shot last year. The “Blood Red Roses” remix has more processed sounding vocals than the original. That song was inspired by a trip to South Africa but the video was of random people dancing was shot in Toronto. 

About his adopted city, Beals told BringBackSoulMusic’s Youtube show that while “it’s happening… it could do a whole lot better here,”  citing a general lack of resources for Toronto R&B performers.

Through his career, Gary Beals has been nominated for a Juno (Best R&B / Soul) and won an East Coast Music Award among others. He will perform with Maestro Fresh Wes, Tika and Nefe, on February 25, 2021 at the S.A.C. Celebration Series Black History Month concert event hosted by Rudy Blair, Rudy Blair Entertainment: Tickets and S.A.C. Press Kit.

Concert goes live at 7PM (EST) tonight – streaming to multiple platforms!

Logging on to the Livestream tonight:
All you will need to do is enter your name and email address and create a password to access the event here. The latest versions of Chrome or Firefox guarantee the best experience. 

On YouTube:
Tune in live on S.A.C.’s YouTube Channel. 

On Twitch: 
Tune in live on S.A.C.’s Twitch Channel. 

Written by: Erik Twight

Erik Twight @VerInfusion, proprietor of Basil’s Books & Vinyl and Freelance Writer specializing in current affairs, history, photography, and music. He produces a weekly podcast/radio show on (89.5FM Toronto) arranged thematically and with commentary.

Songwriters Association of Canada posts songwriter related news and events as a resource to members. Publishing these posts does not imply that the S.A.C. endorses the teacher, product, service, or company.