Multi-talented singer-songwriter Mustafa, and alt pop sensation Ariane Roy have been announced as winners of the 2021 Slaight Music Emerging Songwriter Award, presented by the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame. Established in 2017, the Slaight Music Emerging Songwriter Award celebrates the current achievements and bright future of Canadian songwriters in their early career. In addition to receiving a cash prize and access to songwriting camps, the winners will attend the SOCAN Awards in Toronto in the spring of 2022.
“Songwriting and composing are the lifeblood of the Canadian music industry; therefore, it is vital that we support, foster, and inspire the next generation of creators – and more importantly, shine a spotlight on the depth and diversity of talented songwriters within our communities,” said Nicholas Fedor, Director, Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame. “Congratulations to Mustafa and Ariane Roy; we’re so excited to be a part of your music trajectory and continued success (as well as more great music) to come. Thank you to Slaight Music, and to all the fans who voted online to show their support for this year’s finalists.”
After losing several friends to gun violence, Toronto-based poet and singer-songwriter Mustafa coped with the losses through his interpretation of folk music. His debut single “Stay Alive” is dedicated to those who he has lost to gun violence and captures the resiliency of Toronto’s Regent Park.
“I am humbled that my attempt at seeing the hood; a world within a world in this country, can be celebrated. I want kids in poor neighbourhoods across this country to retell the stories of their intersections so their accounts can be marked in time, hopefully moments like this can continue to encourage them.” – Mustafa
Mustafa began his artistic journey in the seventh grade, when he performed an original piece “A Single Rose” at Nelson Mandela Park Public School. Since then, he produced a documentary titled “Remember Me, Toronto” about the hip hop culture in Canada, and has written for notable artists such as The Weeknd, Shawn Mendes, Justin Bieber and the Jonas Brothers. Mustafa has been listed as an Artist to Watch in 2021 by i-D, British Vogue, and Complex Magazine among others. His debut album “When Smoke Rises” was released in May 2021 and was shortlisted for the 2021 Polaris Music Prize.
Ariane Roy is a singer-songwriter from Quebec City who became interested in writing a few years ago before creating her solo project. She released her first song, Adèle, in May 2019 before launching her EP “AVALANCHE” (n.f.) in March 2020, which was nominated in the pop EP of the year category at GAMIQ (Gala de l’alternative musicale indépendante de Québec). In October 2020, the finalist of the Francouvertes 2020 unveiled “Ta main”, a song that put her in the finals of the Prix de la chanson SOCAN 2021. “Je me réveille”, recently launched, announces her first album, to be released in 2022.
“I am so happy to receive this honour and to be in the company of artists I admire, and who inspire me so much.” – Ariane Roy
The 2021 Slaight Music Emerging Songwriter contest consisted of 40 outstanding candidates, nominated by one of the two organized juries – one Anglophone and one Francophone – each comprised of 13 esteemed music-industry experts. One Anglophone and one Francophone winner are determined by each jury after two rounds of voting.
Past winners of the Slaight Music Emerging Songwriter Award include Lowell (Anglophone), Les Louanges (Francophone), Jessie Reyez (Anglophone) and Charlotte Cardin (Francophone). For more information on the prize.