Music•Musique NB (MNB) will celebrate an unusual year in the New Brunswick music industry, during the Prix MNB Awards Show, live streamed on October 22, 2020. Nineteen awards will be presented to artists and industry professionals who have made their mark on the provincial music scene.
Jamie Comeau & the Crooked Teeth, Jessica Rhaye & the Ramshackle Parade, Joey Robin Haché, Kill Chicago, Little You Little Me, and Menoncle Jason have garnered nods in five categories, including the Fans' Choice/Choix du public, determined 100% by the public vote. Following closely are Les Hay Babies, Les Hôtesses d'Hilaire, and M3D14 (pronounced "media"), with four nominations each.
The Prix MNB Awards were overhauled last year, in an effort to recognize the variety of music being created in New Brunswick as well as the diversification in how artists and industry professionals practice their craft and earn a living. Categories such Recording of the Year and Enregistrement de l'année now have up to ten nominees (previously five), allowing for a better representation of the current music scene.
The Award Show kicks off Festival (506), a four-day online event which showcases incredible homegrown New Brunswick music, October 22-25. The Prix MNB Awards Show will be streamed live and free to watch.
The past few years has seen Music•Musique NB's team ramp up efforts to ensure the percentage of Prix MNB Awards nominees and showcasing artists accurately reflects the NB music community. Recent initiatives include an annual "Women+ and the Music Industry" session, a Women in the NB Music Industry Facebook group, working with an Indigenous Outreach Coordinator (in partnership with Arts NB), and continuing education for both staff and board members on topics such as respectful workplaces in the arts, anti-oppressive communications, and LGBTQ+ allyship.
"Starting in 2017, we've been collecting informal statistics related to the number of women+ and BIPOC [black, indigenous and people of color] candidates," says Jean Surette, Executive Director of MNB. "Informal, because we are relying on our members to self-identify, meaning we are working with approximate numbers." This year, women+ and BIPOC candidates represent 37% and 9% of the total nominations respectively (2019: 38% // 8%)
"We are disappointed by the continued low rates of BIPOC representation in our award nominations and disappointed in our own organization's ineffectiveness in engaging the diverse music community in NB," says Penelope Stevens, President of MNB. "We know artists in the BIPOC community continue to create art that's important - now more than ever - to be heard around the world. We urgently need to listen to and celebrate these voices," continues Stevens.
As a next step, Music•Musique NB will be seeking feedback from the NB BIPOC community, with an online survey to be published next week.
It's time to vote
Music•Musique NB is looking to the public to help them choose the winners.
Music and industry categories are open for public and member voting. Voting begins online at noon on Tuesday, September 22, and ends on Thursday, October 15 at noon.