Awards

Strumbellas, Justin Bieber, Alessia Cara Top Canadian Radio Music Awards

Jeremy Drury of The Strumbellas and artist manager Joanne Setterington during the 2017 Canadian Music Awards.
Grant W Martin/CMW

Jeremy Drury of The Strumbellas and artist manager Joanne Setterington during the 2017 Canadian Music Awards.

“Spirits” hitmakers The Strumbellas topped double winners Justin Bieber, Alessia Cara and Ruth B by one at Canadian Music Week’s 20th annual Canadian Radio Music Awards (CRMA) on Wednesday (Apr. 19), billed as "barometer of buzz in Canadian music."

The ticketed luncheon, held at Toronto’s Sheraton Centre Hotel, is part of its two-day panel-packed “Radio Interactive - international radio summit” April 19-20.

Sponsored by Bell Media, along with Radio Starmaker Fund and Foundation Assisting Canadian Talent on Recordings (FACTOR), Nielsen and SOCAN, the awards were attended by dozens of industry players — among them tables assigned for Rogers Broadcasting, Sony Music, Ticketmaster, Feldman Agency and Bell Media Radio, Newcap Radio and Nielsen.

Artist manager Joanne Setterington and her act the Strumbellas were on hand to accept their three wins:  FACTOR Breakthrough Artist and Best New Broup or Solo Artist in both the mainstream rock and modern rock categories. “Thank you very much. We flew in from Australia yesterday so you’re getting a bit of the B team today,” said drummer Jeremy Drury, alluding to the fact that his bandmates were absent (“It’s not true. He’s a solo artist," Setterington quipped). 

“It’s really fun or neat to travel around the world and tell people about the support from FACTOR; they’re always extremely envious and jealous and it sinks in how much that support really has meant to us, how much we’ve been able to take this thing on a global level," Drury added. "So thank you so much for the support and than you everybody who makes sure we can continue doing what we’re doing.”

Settington also thanked Six Shooter Records, which released the Strumbellas’ album Hope in Canada (it’s on Glassnote Records everywhere else), as well as distributor Universal Music Canada, booker Paquin Artists Agency and radio stations across the country. “It really does start with FACTOR,” she said of the money they received to make the album and tour support “and every initiative that the band has done.”

She noted “Spirits” went to radio two years ago last July.

At last year’s CRMAs, the Strumbellas won the Heatseeker award. At the time, Hope, their third album in Canada, had only just come out on Glassnote in the U.S.; they signed with Six Shooter in 2013.

On Tuesday evening (Apr. 18), Setterington and the Strumbellas were given the Banner Year Award at the Music Managers Forum Canada’s annual Honour Roll, and last month the band scored a Juno Award for single of the year for “Spirits,” beating out smashes by Cara, Drake, Shawn Mendes and The Weeknd.

Cara, who last year won a Canadian Radio Music Award for Best New Group or Solo Artist in the CHR category for her smash “Here,” this year won for Mainstream AC for the same song. She also nabbed Fan Choice. Ruth B took home awards for Hot AC and CHR for her song “Lost Boy.” Bieber was awarded SOCAN song of the year for “Love Yourself” and the Charttopper award. 

The CRMA nominees included artists who hit the Canadian charts for the first time and who achieved top airplay in different formats based on radio “spins,” as recorded by Nielsen Broadcast Data Systems (BDS) in 2016. Votes were cast by program directors, music directors, and on-air personalities to determine the winners. The only public vote is for fans choice awards, which is voted online at cmw.net.

The complete list of 2017 Canadian Radio Music Awards Winners: 

BEST NEW GROUP OR SOLO ARTIST: HOT AC Ruth B – “Lost Boy” 

BEST NEW GROUP OR SOLO ARTIST: MAINSTREAM AC Alessia Cara – “Here” 

BEST NEW GROUP OR SOLO ARTIST: CHR Ruth B – “Lost Boy” 

BEST NEW GROUP OR SOLO ARTIST: DANCE/URBAN/RHYTHMIC Neon Dreams – “Marching Bands”

BEST NEW GROUP OR SOLO ARTIST: MAINSTREAM ROCK The Strumbellas – “Spirits” 

BEST NEW GROUP OR SOLO ARTIST: MODERN ROCK The Strumbellas – “Spirits” 

BEST NEW GROUP OR SOLO ARTIST: COUNTRY James Barker Band – “Lawn Chair Lazy”

SOCAN SONG OF THE YEAR “Love Yourself” - Justin Bieber 

CHARTTOPPER AWARD Justin Bieber 

FANS’ CHOICE Alessia Cara 

FACTOR BREAKTHROUGH ARTIST  The Strumbellas