Celebrating Calgary's diverse talent at the YYC Music Awards
The awards celebrate local artists on Sunday at the Grey Eagle Event Centre
Stephanie Hutchinson, president and program director of the YYC Music Awards, looks forward to seeing the diverse performers of Calgary come together to celebrate each other. // Submitted
Shining a spotlight on local artists, the YYC Music Awards celebrates and recognizes the city’s diverse and talented musicians on Sept. 24 at the Grey Eagle Event Centre. With almost 30 categories this year, it will be an unforgettable night celebrating Calgarian talent and will feature live performances by some nominees. We spoke with Stephanie Hutchinson, president and program director of the YYC Music Awards, to learn more about this year’s event and nominees.
What can Calgarians expect at the YYC Music Awards in September and what are you personally looking forward to at the event?
This year, I’m proud that we’ve created two new categories meant to celebrate an even wider berth in the city – Music Educator/Ensemble Director of the Year, and Community Ensemble of the Year. There are so many teachers and grassroots organizations that contribute to the cultural fabric of Calgary, largely behind the scenes, and we wanted to provide a platform to celebrate these champions. We choose a new batch of performers from our nominee pool, and so it’s fresh and exciting each year. I love the diversity of genres and cultures we’ll have on stage this year, it’ll be quite the treat to see these incredible and varied performers.
What makes the YYC Music Awards special and unique?
The YYC Music Awards really is the largest celebration of many genres of music in our community. Everyone is welcome! We celebrate the diversity of Calgary musicians, and it’s a unique opportunity for musicians, to hear and interact with other genres and backgrounds. The music community rallies behind it, get excited to be a part of it, and celebrates others’ successes together.
Tell us about the process of choosing the nominees each year.
We have a committee of anonymous jurors, much like the JUNO Awards do, that we ask to volunteer their time and subject matter expertise. These are musicians, managers, publicists, publishers, presenters and more, from all across Canada. So, we are an excellent discovery tool for Calgary artists to new mentors and influencers in the music industry across Canada. There are so many excellent submissions of music each year, so the jurors certainly have their work cut out for them! Songwriter and Music Video of the Year categories are the hardest to judge, with a substantial amount of entries – and this is great, as it shows the sheer volume of music being created here on an annual basis.
Tell us about the 2023 nominees and some of the standouts in this year’s categories.
What really stands out to me this year, is the number of first-time nominees and new names we are seeing. It’s not an ‘old boys club’. We have some artists nominated and winners for other national awards like the WCMAs, CCMAs, Folk Music Awards and JUNO Awards, and we are proud to showcase these incredible musicians making it big outside of our city. It’s always special to see past winners of the Prophets of Music Emerging Artist Award go on to create more music and be nominated for genre and artist categories, like ZENON and Fin McDowell this year. When we see artists nominated in multiple categories, that means their music really resonates, as different jury pools are deeming them excellent – artists like Jennie Harluk, The Royal Foundry, Kyle McKearney, and more.