Rolling Out the Red Carpet: A YYC Music Award's Recap

All Photos provided by J. Dirom Photography

The 4th annual YYC Music awards just took place this past Sunday, September 22nd, at the Palace Theater. The air was buzzing with excitement as Calgary’s finest filled the theater in hopes of winning an award or were there supporting those who had been nominated for one. The musicians of the city took the night off to come together and celebrate the wide breath of talent that can be found in every corner of their hometown. The excited hum of conversation filled the room as new friends and old caught up with one another and made their predictions about how the night might unfold.

Contemporary Inspirational Recording of the Year Winners, Zaire Ink & Afuhmbom

Contemporary Inspirational Recording of the Year Winners, Zaire Ink & Afuhmbom

The YYCMA’s are dedicated to celebrating and giving recognition to the music that comes out of Calagry and the dedicated individuals who continue to make up the diverse soundscape of the city. Veterans and beginners alike were nominated for one or more of the 21 different award categories such as female or male artist of the year, group of the year, or industry person of the year. A music award show wouldn’t be complete without a little bit of the thing that was being celebrated that night and saw performances from nominees Miesha & The Spanks, Nice Horse, Sheldon Zandboer, Punch Drunk Cabaret, Zaire Ink & Afuhmbom, as well as the house band School of Rock Calgary. Poke the Bear wrapped up the night with a stellar performance that attendees won’t soon forget

Miesha & The Spanks alongside T. Buckley and their collective awards

Miesha & The Spanks alongside T. Buckley and their collective awards

The highlights of the night include Miesha & The Spanks and T.Buckley both winning three awards each. Miesha Louie received the award for Female Artist of The Year and the band collectively won Rock Recording of The Year as well as Single of The Year. T. Buckley was awarded Male Artist of The year as well as Folk Recording of The Year and Songwriter of The Year. Both sets of artists were incredibly thrilled and honoured to be recognized for their work here in Calgary.

It’s nice to come home and have your peers acknowledge the work you do. This makes all the miles driving and the sleepless nights worth it.
— Sean Hamilton, Miesha & The Spanks
Zackariah and The Prophets Memorial Award winner Marcus Trummer

Zackariah and The Prophets Memorial Award winner Marcus Trummer

Alternative Recording of the Year award winners, Shuffalo

Alternative Recording of the Year award winners, Shuffalo

Some other highlights of the night go to Marcus Trummer winning The Zackariah and The Prophets Memorial Award which came with two days of studio recording time. There was also the big win for the band Shuffalo with their song Heart Attack as they took Alternative Recording of The Year which was presented by X92.9. This year was the first year that the YYCMA’s had a People’s Choice category. The winners of this award, Taken by Sanity with their song Sleepwalker, were voted upon by the people and that somehow makes it extra special in my opinion. It wasn’t just musicians who were celebrated on this night, Cindy McLeod received the award for Industry Person of the Year a category that strives to recognize the people who help to make the Calgary music scene the special thing that it is.

It feels great to be credited for the work we put in, we feel like we’ve been working hard. It’s a wonderful thing to be able to play music with our friends, then to be rewarded for it, it’s a beautiful thing.
— Brayden Bell, Shuffalo
Music Video of the Year award winners Punch Drunk Cabaret

Music Video of the Year award winners Punch Drunk Cabaret

Like most good award shows the YYCMA’s had a wide variety of musical acts that took the stage to perform in between the award categories. From the country twang infused rock music delivered by ladies of Nice Horse to the otherworldly jazz jam session delivered by Sheldon Zandboer there was a diverse musical line up that contained something for everyone. My personal favourite performance of the night was the eclectic sounds of Punch Drunk Cabaret who also received the award for Music Video of the Year. The up beat trio entertained the crowd with their high energy performance and acrobatic stage presence that left them smiling and wanting more..

What I think is really cool about this is we don’t know every artist here, this is outside of our community. You sometimes forget that there’s this whole other local industry going on. I think it’s so cool to get that recognition so that we all learn about each other and it just makes our own community grow.
— Miesha Louie, Miesha & The Spanks

I am incredibly happy that there is an event like the YYCMA’s celebrating music excellence and recognizing the vast amount of diverse musical talent that this city produces. People don’t make art for the awards and I would bet you that none of the artists nominated had glory in mind while they were writing their songs. It is always nice to be recognized for your hard work however, and the YYCMA’s do just that for Calgary’s music community. A big thank you to Leanne Harrison (Program Director), Shannon Ambrose (Public Relations & Media Director), Sarah Fiedler (Artist Liaison), Erin Hall (Sponsorships & Fundraising), Stephanie Hutchinson (Adjudication Director), and all of the volunteers, presenters, and sponsors who make this event possible year after year. It truly is something special

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If you would like to nominate a local musician for the 2020 YYC Music awards or be involved in the event in any way visit yycmusicawards.com