Honey Jam – the Toronto-based non-profit organization and artist development program fostering young female artists – is celebrating a milestone year. It has been 25 years since its founder, Ebonnie Rowe, first welcomed emerging artists for the first Honey Jam concert at the now-defunct Ultrasound venue in Toronto’s Queen West neighbourhood. In the years following, hundreds have graced the venue annually, with the city gathering to support and experience powerful voices that drive tomorrow’s music scene. Today, the organization is a renowned platform known for enriching the careers of notable alumni including, Nelly Furtado, Jully Black, Melanie Fiona, SATE, Melanie Durrant, Michie Mee, LUKALA, Haviah Mighty, Jordan Alexander, and many more.
Despite a global pandemic and new event protocols, nothing is stopping Honey Jam from having a sweet celebration of their success to date.
Rowe says: "If I gave up every time I was faced with a challenge we would never be celebrating this milestone – we wouldn't have even made it one year far less 25! Getting here is a really big deal so I was determined that we would have a show somehow, some way and we're all super excited to be together in person at the legendary El Mocambo. Their slogan ‘Keeping Live Alive!’ really resonated. A Zoom version of Honey Jam is just not the same!”
Honey Jam fans will be able to enjoy a virtual concert experience livestreamed from Toronto’s iconic venue, The El Mocambo, on Thursday, Oct. 1, 2020.
“For the past 25 years, Honey Jam Canada has been doing incredible work in supporting, promoting and celebrating female artists in Canada’s thriving music industry," says Toronto Mayor John Tory. "I’ve always seen art and music and all different forms of art as a great unifier. It’s a universal language, for our city, and the world, for that matter, and I’m happy that through the work being done at Honey Jam Canada, female artists – women across our country – will feel empowered and be supported to have a voice, and to realize their own dreams. Over the years, Toronto has gained a global reputation for our world-class music scene and it’s through the work of Honey Jam Canada that we can help ensure that this reputation is one that is equitable and reflective of the diverse and inclusive city and country that we live in. I want to thank Honey Jam Canada for all the incredible work that you do to build up our community and I look forward to all the incredible talent you’re going to help produce going forward. Congratulations, once again, on an incredible milestone! Happy 25th anniversary! Have a happy one!”
“The legacy of the El Mocambo was built on emerging talent, in its newest chapter we couldn’t be more thrilled to be supporting organizations like Honey Jam who cultivate and nurture amazing performer,” says El Mocambo owner, Michael Wekerle. “We are very fortunate to have partners that understand the importance of Keeping Live Music Alive, and we can’t wait to celebrate 25 remarkable years of Honey Jam supporting artists and culture in our city!”
The gig will showcase an array of performances by alumni paying homage to songs made famous by female artists in a variety of genres. You can find the list of alumni here.
In addition, Ebonnie and Honey Jam are acknowledged as one of three finalists for the The Roy Thomson Hall Award of Recognition, a prestigious honour by Toronto Arts Foundation. The award is a $10,000 cash prize presented to an individual, ensemble or organization, to recognize creative, performing, administrative, volunteer or philanthropic contributions to Toronto's musical life. The official awards ceremony will take place on Sept. 24, 2020.
The Honey Jam 2020 season is sponsored by: TD Ready Commitment, Slaight Music, Ontario Creates, Factor, CBC Music, Music Canada, SOCAN Foundation, Canadian Musician, Wahlburgers, YAMAHA, The City of Toronto, CHFI, KISS925, Factor, The Post Office Sound, iHeart Radio Canada, Music Publishers Canada and the El Mocambo.