By Keith Sharp
The Stars were out in force at SOCAN’s 29th Annual Awards night staged Monday at Toronto’s Sheraton Centre Hotel as two Canadian music icons, Burton Cummings and Sarah McLauchlan capped off winning major awards by performing live before an ecstatic music industry audience.
Cummings, seemingly fully recovered from a recent automobile accident in Los Angeles, was the recipient of SOCAN’s Lifetime Achievement award, presented to him by Hamilton’s iconic producer/performer Daniel Lanois. After thanking and praising Lanois himself, Cummings brought the house down with solo performances of two of his greatest hits, his solo “Break It To Them Gently” (inspired he claims by a Kojak episode!) and Guess Who standard, “Share The Land”.
Not to be outdone, McLauchlan showed her appreciation for winning SOCAN’s Global Inspiration Award by turning in a stunning vocal performance of her classic “Angel”.
And these were only two highlights of a night filled with absorbing live performances. Conductor Steph Copeland got the night off to a great start by conducting the 2018 SOCAN Awards Orchestra through three instrumental interpretations of three of last year’s top songs; “Fake Love”, “Havana” and “Stay” before setting the stage for event host, country music star, Brett Kissel to introduce himself with a rousing rendition of “Anthem”.
Kissel proved to be a congenial host and set the night’s awards tones by stating that in his opinion, Canadians may be too modest to say it, but this country is really leading the way in all forms of music achievement.
The Dear Rouge pair of Drew and Danielle McTaggart paid tribute to Our Lady Peace’s National Achievement Award by executing a rousing cover of their classic “Naveed”, Prince Edward Island’s Rose Cousins accepted her Folk/Roots award by performing “Grace”, a performance which had even veteran artist Murray McLauchlan gasping with admiration. Six Nations Reserve native Logan Staats performed a riveting cover of Spirt Of The West’s “Home For A Rest” and local rap artist Sean Leon made sure everyone in the audience knew who he is by railing against the lack of recognition for Canada’s hip/hop/rap scene while racing through the crowd as he performed his latest single “Lay Low”.
And for the most part, the majority of the stars were in attendance. Shawn Mendes was on hand to receive his Songwriter Of The Year Award, The Glorious Sons and Arkells picked up Rock Music Awards, newcomers Daniel Caesar (Breakout Artist/R&B Music Award) and Jessie Reyez (R&B Music Award) were also present along with Country Music Award winners The James Barker Band, High Valley and Gordie Sampson.
SOCAN also honored Keith Power as Screen Composer of the Year, Frank Dukes as Songwriter of The Year and inducted a whole raff of Classic Awards for songs that have achieved over 100,000 spins on domestic radio. These tracks included “Clumsy”, “Somewhere Out There”, “Innocent” and “Superman Is Dead” by Our Lady Peace, “O Siem” by Susan Aglukark, “She Ain’t Pretty” by The Northern Pikes, “My Heart Has A History” and “I Do” by Paul Brandt and “I Cry” and “Funkmobile” by Bass Is Base:
The Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada is responsible for collecting all royalty fees for all of their more than 150,000 SOCAN members.