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Canada's CIMA Awards Honor eOne Music's Chris Taylor, Pandyamonium's Sandy Pandya & More

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David Leyes
Gowling WLG’s Susan Abramovitch presented  eOne Music/Last Gang Records’ Chris Taylor with the Entrepreneur Award.

Justin Time Records' Jim West, Indie 88's Dave Bookman and Six Shooter Records were also celebrated.

More than 200 members of the Canadian music industry applauded the lifetime career achievements of four recipients at the fourth annual Canadian Independent Music Association (CIMA) Celebration and Awards Gala Monday night (June 11) at the Phoenix Concert Theatre in Toronto.

Selected by CIMA, eOne Music/Last Gang Records' Chris Taylor received the Entrepreneur Award, Justin Time Records' Jim West received the Builder Award, Pandyamonium's Sandy Pandya received the Brian Chater Industry Award and Indie 88's Dave Bookman received the Unsung Hero Award.  

CIMA is the not-for-profit national trade association representing the English-language, Canadian-owned sector of the music industry.

As well, at the end of the night a Marketing Award was presented to Six Shooter Records for Whitehorse's Panther in the Dollhouse, which beat out marketing plans by Arts & Crafts for Broken Social Scene's album Hug of Thunder and Cadence Music for HeadstonesLittle Army

"You might have noticed from those videos that the other nominees talked about the specifics of their marketing plan and we talked about our party for Whitehorse," the label's Emily Smart joked. And when Six Shooter founder Shauna de Cartier took the mic, she called Smart "the most brilliant person working in marketing today."

The seated dinner opened with a performance from Slaight Music act Ryan Langdon and gave ample time to each of the honorees, who also got to pick the performers for their own award segment: Taylor chose LIGHTS, West picked Taurey Butler; Pandya chose her son Sam Cash, Hayden and Serena Ryder, and Bookman recruited former Lowest of the Low member Stephen Stanley.

With the event handing out just five awards in 2.5 hours, speeches were all quite long. One clocked in at 20 minutes, but below are some highlights.

Chris Taylor -- Entrepreneur Award

The former reggae-pop singer with the '90s Virgin-EMI band One, Taylor went on to become one of the leading music lawyers in Canada (via his law firm now known as Taylor Oballa Murray Leyland), shopping deals for Nelly Furtado, Three Days Grace, Sum 41 and Billy Talent. When he couldn't get Metric signed, he started Last Gang Entertainment with $35,000 (and approval from his wife) and partnered with industry legend Donald Tarlton. "I haven't made an acceptance speech since we won Canadian reggae band of the year in 1994," he quipped. He thanked his partners, staff, colleagues, "fellow entrepreneurs" and family, as well as eOne's Darren Throop, to whom he sold Last Gang and accepted the position of global president of music at eOne. "Entrepreneurs who support artists despite all the odds, despite the data and despite what Wall Street or Bay Street is telling us," he said, "our music industry has survived the blatant reviews by tech companies for the past 15 years and we're still here because we love music and we wouldn't want to be anywhere else."

Sandy Pandya -- the Brian Chater Industry Award

The longest, funniest and most heart-warming speech of the night was courtesy of Pandya who came to Canada from Kenya with assurance from her mom that Canada gave people stuff for free. She founded Pandyamonium Management in 1996 and went on to manage Hawksley Workman, Serena Ryder, Jully Black, Dear Rouge, Madison Violet and The Weeknd collaborator Doc McKinney. In her 20-minute speech, Pandya skipped from story to story, some in more depth than others. These included going to Neil Young's ranch (Bowie was in the rec room), miraculously landing a sweeter deal with EMI Music Publishing when she and long-time management partner William "Skinny" Tenn took a meeting with the intent of blowing them off, the dress code for women when she worked at RCA and kicking the shit out of Skinny's convertible in retaliation for a pen thrown at her face. But the most awesome stories? Getting a live cow on a flatbed truck to promote The Waltons album, Lik My Trakter, and sticking to her guns on the phone with a promoter over a $5,000 show fee when she was literally giving birth. 

Jim West -- the Builder Award

West started the jazz and blues label Justin Time 35 years ago, recording Oliver Jones, Ranee Lee and The Montreal Jubilation Choir -- three acts still on the label today and with whom he still works. Other acts he's worked with over the decades include Oscar Peterson, Diana Krall and David Clayton-Thomas. He kept his speech relatively short, thanking Donald Tarlton and Justin Time's Nancy Marley, who has been at the label for 32 years, as well as the folks at Nettwerk Records.  "It's funny how things are cyclical in our business too," he concluded. "I remember my wife Janine and I, over 34, 35 years ago, we used to pick records from the warehouse and box them up and pack them up at night and ship them out the next day. And oddly enough I do the same thing today from the basement of my house." 

Dave Bookman -- the Unsung Hero Award

Bookman, better known as Bookie, is a long-time radio jockey and host who was at influential radio station CFNY/The Edge 102.1 for 20 years before going to upstart station Indie88 for his "next adventure." He also, by Collective Concerts/Horseshoe owner Jeff "JC" Cohen's estimations, books the longest running series in Toronto with the free Nu Music Night each Tuesday at the Horseshoe.  A passionate music lover and enthusiastic interviewer, he answered some questions he said he gets "all the time." His fave interview? Elvis Costello. Nicest people in the world? Dave Grohl and Noel Gallagher. The worst interview? Johnny Rotten ("he's just a mean prick"). 

He concluded the night with these words: "If you're watching live music or however you do it, just take a second to look at [the musician's] face and the odds are there will be a big smile on it, and all of these things converge to allow me to get up every day and go to do something I love with people I adore and doing something worthwhile. And tonight's been worthwhile. I'd like to thank all the other award winners. And, of course, to CIMA for providing the spirit that keeps us all going and we can all walk out of here with our heads feeling a little bit higher and our hearts a little more filled with the good stuff. It's going to be a good day tomorrow and the day after and the day after that."