Magic!, whose song “Rude” exploded in Canada long before its album was even finished, was the big winner at the 2015 the 18th annual Canadian Radio Music Awards, a ticketed industry event held at lunchtime during Canadian Music Week in Toronto on Friday. The Toronto-raised boys who formed the band in their adopted home of Los Angeles, won three trophies and also performed.
The grand ballroom at Sheraton Centre hotel had many empty tables, perhaps because of the early start time (hundreds of bands and artists are playing all over the city, with the last slot at 3 a.m.) or because of so many panels, keynotes and summits — not to mention business meetings — going on.
“Hideway” hitmaker Kiesza performed early on but had already left when it was announced she’d won Best New Group or Solo Artist: CHR over fellow nominees Shawn Mendes, Magic!, Chromeo and Adventure Club.
Magic! also scheduled to play, weren’t on hand to accept their first win, for SOCAN Song of the Year, but arrived for the subsequent two: Best New Group Or Solo Artist: AC and Fans Choice. All decked out in matching floral velvet blazers, frontman Nasri Atweh said, “We’ve been around the world because of the one song. It started out of Canada. Shane Cartner [label president] and the Sony Canada team — Warren [Copnick], you kicked butt getting this all over the radio.
“To all the radio programmers and everybody, thank you so much. You know, I’ve worked with a lot of artists, written a lot of songs. We’ve written a lot of songs. But we work really hard on songs. We don’t take it lightly. It’s catchy because we work hard on it and we care about music and the quality of pop music that we’re putting out and we hope to do the same for a long time. We hope that we’ll be with you when we’re old and gray, wearing the same jackets. “And we’ll be onstage in a second rockin’ the house,” he added. Dear Rouge, Andee, Virginia to Vegas and Jess Moskaluke also played.
Sponsored by Bell Media, the Canadian Radio Music Awards celebrated first-time charted artists and recognized the artists that had the most-played songs on Canadian radio in the past year.
Nominees included artists who hit the Canadian charts for the first time and achieved top airplay in different formats based on radio “spins,” as recorded by Nielsen Broadcast Data Systems (BDS) in 2014. Votes cast by program directors, music directors, and on-air personalities determined the winners. Fans’ Choice Award was voted on by the public at the web site cmw.net.
Other winners were Death From Above 1979, for Best New Group or Solo Artist: Rock with the song “Trainwreck,” — even though the duo’s critically-claimed debut was back in 2004 — and Jesse Moskaluke for Best New Group or Solo Artist: Country with her single, “Cheap Wine & Cigarettes.”
When Magic! returned to the stage to accept their third award, Atweh said, “You don’t really want another speech from me — because I don’t want to do another one because they suck; I suck at speeches.
“Thank you. These days there are so many different ways to find fans, but we were just happy to find them through our songs and not through some sort of gimmick or something that isn’t real. So we appreciate that the fans are loving us for who we are naturally and the music that we make and we hope that it continues that way. I’m not attracted to any of the Kardashians. So we’re going to leave it there,” he said to laughs. “So thank you guys for working hard and getting the music out to the fans. Our fans are fantastic, especially Canadian fans. They have so much energy and they love new music.”
Three additional non-voting awards were also presented: The FACTOR Breakthrough Award, for top airplay for new FACTOR-supported artists, went to Virginia to Vegas whose hit is “We Are Stars” with Alyssa Reid; the Sennheiser Chart Topper Award for top overall airplay was awarded to multi-platinum pop-rock band Hedley, and the Heatseeker award was presented to teenager Francesco Yates, managed by Chris Smith, Nelly Furtado‘s former manager, who has a soul-pop hit with “Better Be Loved.”
Roundhouse Radio CEO Don Shafer who was awarded the Allan Waters Broadcast Lifetime Achievement Award as part of the Canadian Music and Broadcast Industry Awards (held Thursday) received his tribute at these awards instead, since the room would be filled with his radio colleagues and friends.
Introduced and honoured by broadcasting exec Rob Braide, who called him “a true radio man” who started his career in 1969 at Montreal’s CHOM, the tribute video included nods from Sam Feldman, Jim Waters, Denise Donlon, Terry David Mulligan and Pierre Morissette. Shafer then took the stage to accept the honour. He is now trying to change up radio in Vancouver with a new mostly talk/some music station, Roundhouse, focusing on the city.
“I’ve always loved radio and the magic that comes from that little box and especially the people who make all media, so you guys are very very special and the work you do is incredibly important,” said Shafer, after an emotional start to his speech about his family. “Gifted storytellers, artists and creative people from all disciplines will always find a way to be heard — as will journalists, who are committed to witnessing the world we live in. This makes for great programming that can help affect positive and social change, on air, online and in print. I believe that the companies that encourage innovation and allow creative teams to do what they do best will be most successful.”