The Hamilton Music Awards were once again one of my highlights of the year. It was a huge year for the HMAs because it was the 10th one – a big landmark! It’s a wonderful time to celebrate all of the amazing talent we have in this city. Between the festival showcases, the opening night party, Rising Star Search, the big conference, closing night party, and the Awards themselves, it’s a jam-packed few days.
Making this year’s HMAs even more exciting, I’m proud to say that I was nominated! I Heart Hamilton was up for Website/Online Publication of the Year, and I was nominated for Media Person of the Year. It was an absolute honour and I was truly surprised and touched when the nominations were announced. I was among some amazing company.
The HMAs kicked off with an Opening Night party at The Baltimore House for the second year in a row. It was an evening to mingle with some industry folk, performers, and nominees. The place was buzzing! There is always an exciting energy about the HMAs.
We were treated to a performance by The Jimmy Stahl Big Band which saw about 17 musicians set up. That would be impressive anywhere, but even more so in Baltimore’s small space. They were super entertaining and hearing that style of music was a neat change. It especially suited Baltimore’s vintage vibe.
Before and after the live music, local artists were played over the speakers. I was happy to see that I Heart Hamilton’s Playlists were put to good use – Baltimore’s co-owner Grant Winestock played a few of my selections. I’m just going to call that my first foray into DJing. I hit The Casbah for a showcase the following night, but made it an early one, with the first round of awards the next day.
At the Industry Awards, my dapper dates for the evening were Baltimore House co-owners Grant Winestock and Jimmy Skembaris who were up for Live Club of the Year. We had our official photo taken, but it doesn’t appear to have made the cut. No matter – when in doubt, take a selfie!
I think I was even more excited for the Industry Awards (not just because I was nominated!) and I felt that way last year too. It’s so great to see the hard-working behind-the-scenes folk being recognized. Through my time with the blog I’ve had the opportunity to meet producers, writers, retailers, venue owers, directors, label representatives, and I feel invested in all aspects of the music industry because of this.
A few personal highlights were: Dr. Disc’s second win in a row for Music Retailer, 93.3 CFMU for Radio Station of the Year, Jason Rule for Music Director (Radio) of the Year, Supercrawl for Musical Event of the Year, and a bunch of wins for This Ain’t Hollywood and Lou Molinaro (who always gives great speeches, recognizing the other nominees and everyone who contributes to this scene).
When it came to my categories, I was pleased for Southern Souls‘ win for Website/Online Publication of the Year. I’m such a fan of Mitch Fillion’s work and it was awesome to be in that category alongside Southern Souls, Cut From Steel, Hellbound, and Urban Hero Magazine. Ric Taylor took home the trophy for Media Person of the Year, and I can’t say enough how cool it was for me to be in that category with Ric, Lou Molinaro, Jamie Tennant, and Graham Rockingham. All do such fantastic work and I’ve had the pleasure of working with most of them. It was surreal to see my name up on the screen!
After the show, it was back to The Baltimore House for a showcase. There were so many stellar bills happening across various downtown venues, but I really wanted to catch Dawn and Marra’s performance. As always, they were so great, and I really like hearing them with the added drummer and bassist – Nicholas and Andrew.
The following evening was round two at McIntyre Performing Arts Centre for the Music Awards. It was nice to kick back and enjoy the show. Like last year, the hosts were Alan Cross and Shelley Marshall, a fun duo.
Some of my winner highlights: Dawn and Marra’s Teaspoons and Tablespoons for Folk/Traditional Recording, Jessy Lanza’s Pull My Hair Back for Electronic Recording, Cowlick’s Night Vision for Adult Alternative Recording, and Lee Reed & John P’s Written Large for Rap/Hip Hop Recording. But there are so many!
Another highlight was the mothers of Monster Truck, who we can dub Momster Truck, accepting awards on behalf of the band, which included the big one, Record of the Year. Very sweet!
I love learning about new artists through the HMAs, like performer (and winner for Ethnic/World Recording) Yiannis Kapoulas. Holy smokes! What a talent. It’s also a privilege to get to see the inductees for Lifetime Achievement. Harrison Kennedy, Boris Brott, and Lyman Potts were honoured this year.
The festivities concluded with an after party at This Ain’t Hollywood, like last year. Food from Bronzie’s was on hand and plenty of drinks. Everyone let loose and it was fun way to end the weekend.
Cheers to the HMA’s on it’s 10th year – I look forward to many more to come!