Manitoba artists win 14 awards at 2021 Western Canadian Music Awards


Manitoba musicians and members of the industry won awards in more than a dozen categories at this year’s Western Canadian Music Awards.

The annual awards ceremony was broadcast live Friday night at the West End Cultural Center, but a few performers learned they won live on CBC Radio One in Manitoba that afternoon.

Alexa Dirks, better known as the Pop Powerhouse Begonia, was a double winner this year, taking home the recording of the year and pop artist of the year award. Last year, she won the Artist of the Year award.

Dirks says not being able to tour during the COVID-19 pandemic has been a challenge, but it has allowed him to focus on his mental health, reassess his expectations and get creative.

“This kind of happened when it all changed for me and I decided to work on a new album instead of waiting until when to start touring again,” she said in an interview on CBC. Up to speed program on Friday.

“I just wanted to try to be compassionate with myself about all of this and not try to be too harsh and say to myself, ‘I have to get back on the road ASAP! “It was like I could take my time and come back when I felt safe and well.”

Indie rock duo Mise en Scène were performing at CBC Manitoba studios in Winnipeg on Friday afternoon when they learned they had won rock artist of the year at the Western Canadian Music Awards. (Janice Moeller / CBC)

Indie rock duo Staging, known to friends as Stefanie Johnson and Jodi Dunlop, were named Rock Artist of the Year.

Johnson says there is something special about being a musician in Manitoba.

“When it’s dark at 4pm you have to do something and you have to dig deep and figure out what you are going to do,” she said.

“For us, it’s about hiding, writing songs and thinking. We’re lucky to come from such an amazing community of artists and musicians.”

Singer-songwriter William Prince was named Roots Artist of the Year at the Western Canadian Music Awards on Friday. (William Prince / Facebook)

Grant Davidson, best known to local music fans as Slow leaves, was named songwriter of the year.

Davidson released his latest album, titled Holiday, during the containment of COVID-19, which was reflected in the tone of the songs.

“It was born out of a feeling of isolation and a kind of uncertainty about the future, especially in my case when it comes to music and where it would go,” he said.

Other Manitoba artists who have won awards include:

  • Pop / R & B / soul artist Kelly bado won the Francophone Artist of the Year and Global Artist of the Year awards.
  • Multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter and producer Sebastien gaskin won the R&B Artist of the Year award.
  • Juno Award-winning singer-songwriter Guillaume Prince won the Roots Artist of the Year award for the second year in a row.
  • Metal-hardcore Doom band Vagina Witchcraft, who was on the long list for the Polaris Music Prize, won the Metal and Hard Artist of the Year award.
  • Roberta landreth, who is known among other things for designing album covers and group posters, won the award for excellence in visual design.

The complete list of winners is available at the BreakOut West website.

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