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SOCAN Honours Quebec's Songwriters & Publishers at Montreal Gala

A who's who of songwriters, screen composers, music publishers, and major players of the music ecosystem gathered at Montréal's La Tohu for the 29th edition of the SOCAN Montréal Awards Gala, with more than 50 awards presented during an evening celebrating Québec's creative talent.

Hosted for the first time by Pierre-Yves Lord, this year's SOCAN Awards Gala was highlighted with an all-female complement of SOCAN Classic Song creators, including Laurence Jalbert (pictured above), Francine Raymond, Marjo, Lara Fabian, Marie Carmen, and Hart Rouge, who, alongside their co-writers and publishers, received one or more of the awards.

Several SOCAN Achievement Awards were presented during the Gala, including the SOCAN Cultural Impact Award to Michel Rivard for the timeless classic "La complainte du phoque en Alaska," written in 1973 and performed by his band Beau Dommage. Grand Dame of country music Renée Martel, was deeply moved to receive the SOCAN Lifetime Achievement Award for her career, which currently spans nearly 65 years. Jim Corcoran received the SOCAN Special Achievement Award, saluting his work as an ambassador of Francophone music on CBC Radio, where he hosted the show À propos for more than 30 years. Tire le Coyote offered a noteworthy performance during which two of Corcoran's songs were interspersed with excerpts from his brilliant show.

Among other special honours handed out during the evening, Patrice Michaud received the SOCAN Songwriter of the Year Award and Jean-Olivier Bégin the SOCAN Screen Composer of the Year Award, while Arcade Fire and the Montréal-based prodigy of the Latin American music scene, Alex Castillo Vasquez, shared the SOCAN International Award. The SOCAN Publisher of the Year Award was given to Dare to Care, recognizing the success of their roster of talented songwriters, and positive influence on the Québec music scene.

"The exceptional creative talent of SOCAN's songwriter, composer, and publisher members is undisputed, and tonight we celebrate their diversity," said SOCAN CEO Eric Baptiste. "SOCAN is committed, every single day, to representing all of our members in a forward-thinking and relevant manner. We work to ensure that they are fairly and adequately compensated for their music."

This year's gala was once again highlighted by performances that were as unique as they were touching. Among those, Mara Tremblay and Éric Goulet sang and played a delightfully ethereal version of the Cultural Impact Award song, "La complainte du phoque en Alaska"; Lydia Képinski, and the duo, Saratoga, paid homage to Marjo's SOCAN Classics ("Y'a des matins" and "Tant qu'il y aura des enfants"); fast-rising singer Aiza gave an Afro-pop spin to Lara Fabian's "Leila" and "Je t'aime"; and Ludovick Bourgeois surprised everyone with his renditions of Francine Raymond's "Y'a les mots" and "Les années lumières."

The winner of the SOCAN Anglophone Popular Music Award, Bobby Bazini (for his hit "C'est la vie"), offered attendees a personal take on Laurence Jalbert's Classic, "Corridor," while Jeffrey Piton sang Marie Carmen's "Entre l'ombre et la lumière." Chances did the same for Hart Rouge's "Inconditionnel, while Annie Blanchard performed her tour mate's classic, Laurence Jalbert's 'Encore et encore.'

To close the evening, the Breakthrough Award winner Loud tore the roof off the venue when he performed '56k,' the song that earned him the 2018 Francophone SOCAN Songwriting Prize, which he spruced up with snippets of his No. 1 hit, 'Toutes les femmes savent danser.'

In the specialized music categories, jazz was honoured with the Hagood Hardy Award, going to Chet Doxas; the Jan V. Matejcek Award for new classical music was presented to James O'Callaghan; the Country Music Award went to veteran of the music scene Patrick Norman; international sensation Frédérick Durand, better known as Snails, won the Electronic Music Award; and Loud received two honours: the Urban Music Award and the Breakthrough Award, the latter of which he shared with the phenomenal Hubert Lenoir.

A total of 10 Popular Music Awards were presented throughout the evening, with prizes going to the songwriters and publishers of the most-played Francophone songs of 2017, including Patrice Michaud's 'Kamikaze,' Daniel Bélanger's 'Il y a tant à faire,' Andréanne A. Malette and Manuel Gasse's 'Fou,' Vincent Vallières's 'Badluck,' and 'Du bonheur dans les étoiles,' co-written by Marc Dupré, Nelson Minville, and John Nathaniel.

The gala also saluted the exceptional contribution to the industry, and the economy at large, by composers and music publishers for television and film. Among the evening's winners were Montréal SOCAN Awards regulara, Anthony Rozankovic, and his publishers, Cinéflix Média Inc. and ole Media Management LP, which received the Music for Television (International) award, as well as the Television Music Award, Fiction, for Mayday. Screen composers Jean-Phi Goncalves (Le tricheur), Scott Price (Gags), Sébastien Watty Langlois (Salmigondis), and Rudy Toussaint (How It's Made) all left the gala with a trophy for the second straight year. Marc Ouellette, Luc St-Pierre, and Les Éditions de Musique JB collectively received the Film Music award for Amber Alert/I Have Your Children, a film directed by Philippe Gagnon.

The contribution of SOCAN's businesses that use licensed music in Québec was celebrated with the SOCAN Licensed to Play Award, going this year to the City of Longueuil. The city was rewarded for its recognition of the role of music in its community, and for its commitment to fairly and legally compensate the music creators and publishers.

For more information, go to www.socan.com.

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Mike Raine is the Senior editor of Canadian Musician.