Music

In Canada: Avril Lavigne Appointed to Order of Canada

One of Canada’s biggest stars is getting one of the country’s highest honours. Pop-rock star Avril Lavigne has been named to the Order of Canada, a civilian honour that recognizes outstanding achievements and contributions to the country. Lavigne was announced by Governor General Mary Simon yesterday, amongst a list of 83 new appointees that includes scientists, economists, poets and activists.

Lavigne’s appointment highlights her impressive commercial and artistic achievements, as well as her charity work. “With over 50 million albums sold worldwide, she paved the way for female-driven punk-rock music and continues to do so today,” the notice reads, going on to mention her support of individuals living with disabilities and serious illnesses through the Avril Lavigne Foundation.

The Order of Canada appointment comes as Lavigne is celebrating her successes with Greatest Hits, a new compilation released June 21 featuring platinum singles like “Complicated” and “Sk8er Boi” as well as her Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 “Girlfriend.” Lavigne is one of Canada’s best selling artists.

The Canadian icon is also taking her hits on the road with a major tour, which kicked off in Vancouver in May and begins its second leg in Toronto on Aug. 12 with a sold-out Scotiabank Arena show.

Beyond the charts, Lavigne helped pave the way for a punk-inspired vision of girlhood in the early 2000s, when most female pop stars were embracing a more traditionally feminine image. Lavigne’s brash attitude and white tank top and tie combo cemented her as an icon for a generation of Canadian kids.

Lavigne wasn’t the only musician recognized by the Order of Canada this week. Montreal singer-songwriter Daniel Lavoie was named an Officer of the Order, as were percussionist Beverley Johnston and conductor Kent Nagano. -Rosie Long Decter

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Mustafa’s ‘Name Of God’ Named Best Canadian Music Video of the Year, Winning 2024 Prism Prize

Mustafa has become the first two-time winner of the Prism Prize, the award that celebrates the best in Canadian music videos. He has won the 2024 Grand Prize for video of the year for “Name of God.” 

Mustafa, also known as Mustafa Ahmed and Mustafa The Poet, also took home the award in 2022 for “Ali.” Both of his winning videos are self-directed. Mustafa’s win comes with a $20,000 prize, the largest monetary award for music videos worldwide.

Mustafa released “Name of God” last year days after penning a letter to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urging him to speak for Palestine. The song and video touch on violence and grief as well as the power of community and tradition.

Mustafa isn’t this year’s only winner. Nemahsis has won the fan-voted Audience Award, winning “i wanna be your right hand.” That $2,500 prize goes to both artist Nemahsis and directors Norman Wong and Amy Gardner. The video takes the Palestinian-Canadian artist in a choreographed dance through a restaurant kitchen and into a showstopping empty-room dining hall performance.

Mustafa and Nemahsis beat out a strong shortlist of videos, including clips from The Beaches, Feist, Snotty Nose Rez Kids and more. See the whole list here and check out the four other special award winners here. -Kerry Doole

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k.d. lang To Be Inducted Into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame in 2024

k.d. lang will be inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame in 2024 by the Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA). The induction will take place at Country Music Week 2024 in Edmonton, Alberta, September 11–14 leading to the CCMA Awards.

“I am beyond thrilled, and frankly pleasantly surprised to be honored in this way,” says lang, who was born in Edmonton. “My love for the prairies, the people and our culture underscore every ounce of my inspiration. Not without its complexities, I might add. Such is life. I am so stoked to be coming to Edmonton to bask in this celebration… with deepest gratitude.”

Emerging in the 1980s as part of a then-burgeoning “cowpunk” scene, lang has had one of the most powerful and beautiful voices in country music and beyond. A queer icon and activist in many spheres, she’s expanded the boundary of the genre and pioneered within and beyond it.

“Today, we are excited to announce the incomparable k.d. Lang as our 2024 Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame Artist inductee,” says Amy Jeninga, president of CCMA. “A true Canadian icon and trailblazer in country music and beyond, k.d. embraced the genre with unparalleled passion, and her extraordinary talents have left an indelible mark on the cultural landscape of our nation. We proudly honour her incredible legacy and outstanding contributions, and can’t wait to celebrate her induction in Edmonton this September.”

The Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame is housed at Studio Bell, home of the National Music Centre, in Calgary. A new exhibition celebrating new and historic inductees will open September 11, 2024, with more details still to be announced. -Richard Trapunski

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Country Label MDM Recordings Inks Global Deal With Warner Music Canada’s ADA CANADA

Country music is big business in Canada right now, and one of the nation’s major labels has made a new deal to reflect that.

ADA CANADA, the independent label and artist services arm of Warner Music Canada, has announced a new exclusive global distribution deal with MDM Recordings. Founded by Canadian music industry veteran Mike Denney in 2008, MDM Recordings describes itself as “a full service independent label and management company specializing in country music.”

MDM has an impressive track record, especially with up-and-coming country acts. Its roster has included such notable Canadian country musicians as Chad Brownlee, Tyler Joe Miller, Bobby Wills and Don Amero, and music released on the label has earned over 450 million global streams, and more than 500,000 physical units sold. Artists currently on the MDM roster include Jess Moskaluke (a platinum-selling artist and Juno and CCMA Award winner), Charlie Major, Amero, and The Redhill Valleys, alongside promising newcomers Savannah Jade and Josh Stumpf.

MDM Recordings has twice been awarded record label of the year at the Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA) Awards. Mike Denney has been honoured with the record company person of the year title three times and has overseen seven CCMA Award wins for their artists.

“MDM Recordings has always been about fostering incredible talent and sharing their music with the world,” says Denney. “This partnership with ADA Canada marks an exciting new chapter for us. We are thrilled to leverage ADA’s extensive global network to bring our artists’ music to an even broader audience.”

Greg Morris, VP of ADA Canada, says: “Mike Denney had a vision 16 years ago to create MDM Recordings, and he has done incredible work building it into what it is today. It has an excellent track record of discovering and developing country artists, and has regularly been recognized as one of the best country labels in Canada. I’m proud that Mike has entrusted ADA Canada to support and grow his business, and am excited to work with him and his team to grow his artists’ success, and help them connect with their fans around the world.” -Kerry Doole

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