When The Tragically Hip played its final show in August 2016, after frontman Gord Downie was diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the beloved Canadian band “an essential part of what we are and who we are as a country.”
Downie, who died Oct. 17, 2017, at age 53, will be honored posthumously with the Allan Slaight Humanitarian Spirit Award at the Canadian Music and Broadcast Industry Awards on May 9.
Downie is being recognized for his lifelong humanitarian work, including such causes as War Child, Lake Ontario Waterkeeper, Almost Home, Camp Trillium, Joe Chithalen Musical Lending Library and — after his diagnosis — the Sunnybrook Brain Cancer Research Fund. Perhaps most significantly, in 2016 he set up the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund to help promote reconciliation between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous peoples in Canada.
“Gord Downie was an inspiration to all Canadians, and his life’s work represented the embodiment of all that the Allan Slaight Humanitarian Spirit Award celebrates,” says Gary Slaight, president/CEO of Slaight Communications and the Slaight Family Foundation, whose father is the award’s namesake. “His legacy continues to resonate through his music and lyrics and, most importantly, through the growth and enterprise of the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund.”
The Canadian Music and Broadcast Industry Awards, part of Canadian Music Week, also will welcome several inductees into its hall of fame, including Michael McCarty of Canadian performing rights organization SOCAN and Steve Herman of Live Nation.
McCarty is chief membership and business development officer at SOCAN and former president of EMI Music Publishing Canada. He also oversees the SOCAN Awards and the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame. SOCAN represents writers including Drake, The Weeknd, Shawn Mendes and Alessia Cara. While at EMI he signed Sum 41, Billy Talent, Three Days Grace, Alexisonfire and others. He also co-signed Nelly Furtado to EMI in the United States.
Herman, senior vp touring at Live Nation, is based in Los Angeles, where he has been involved in recent global tours by Backstreet Boys, Guns N’ Roses, Nickelback and OneRepublic. Herman previously was North American CEO of The Agency Group, which United Talent Agency acquired in 2015, and also was founding president of Clear Channel Canada. Earlier, he was a co-founder of Core Audience Entertainment/SFX with fellow Canadian executive Michael Rapino, who is now president/CEO of Live Nation.