Ralph James, co-founder of The Agency Group and long-time booking agent for Nickelback, will be inducted into the Canadian Music Industry Hall of Fame March 21 during Canadian Music Week's Canadian Music & Broadcast Industry Awards gala in Toronto; and music business reporter Larry LeBlanc, who was the Canadian bureau chief of Billboard for 17 years, will receive the Walt Grealis Special Achievement Awards at the Juno Gala Dinner & Awards April 20 in Regina, Saskatchewan.
"I'm proud to be honoured with the 2013 Walt Grealis Special Achievement Award," Toronto's LeBlanc said in a statement issued by The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) which presents the Junos, "Walt Grealis gave me my start as a music industry journalist at RPM Music Weekly in the '60s. From those roots of Canadian music being a cottage enterprise, I've witnessed our domestic music industry being able to develop global superstars. I'm appreciative to have been along for the journey."
LeBlanc has covered Canadian music for 50 years. He was Canadian editor of Record World from 1970 until 1980, before co-founding the Canadian music trade The Record from 1981, which folded in 1991. LeBlanc was then Canadian bureau chief of Billboard magazine from 1991 until 2007. He is currently a senior writer for American entertainment trade CelebrityAccess, for which he profiles members of the music industry in his In The Hot Seat series.
"Throughout his career, Larry has been instrumental in raising awareness of the Canadian music scene and Canadian artists," said CARAS president/CEO Melanie Berry said in a statement. "His keen ear for great music and his passion for journalism have helped cultivate this country's thriving music industry."
Toronto-based James, who began his music career as the original bassist in the gold-and-platinum-selling Winnipeg rock band Harlequin from 1975 until 1987 - who were inducted into Western Canadian Music Association Hall of Fame in 2006 - began his career off-stage in the music industry as an agent at Hungry I Agency, The Agency, and S.L. Feldman & Associates before co-founding The Agency Group Canada. His clients include Nickelback, Billy Talent, Three Days Grace and Marianas Trench.
The induction won't be James' first time being recognized by his peers. He is five-time Canadian Booking Agent of the Year (Canadian Music Industry Awards), Industry Builder (WCMA's), and a two-time nominee for Pollstar's Bobby Brooks Agent of the Year. The Agency Group has also won Agency of the Year at the CMIA's an unprecedented eight times.
"Ralph is one of those few agents who not only understands the road, but has actually lived it," CMW president Neill Dixon said in a press statement. "It's not uncommon to find him on the road today with one of his acts - not for the fame, but for the love of the music and the belief in the band. He's a true music fan and has been an unwavering force in the industry for years. It's time we brought him from behind the stage onto the stage and give him his due respects."