Western Canadian Music Awards Announces Winners of Heritage Award and Music Hall Of Fame

the Western Canadian Music Awards are delighted to officially honor the 2021 winners of the Heritage Awards – legendary musician, author and radio/television host, Ray Saint Germain – the Kevin Walters Industry Builder Award – pioneer in the film and music industry, Carole Vivier – and the Western Canadian Music Hall of Fame inductees – rock band from Winnipeg, The Watchers.

Winners are being recognized this week as BreakOut West Home Edition runs February 2-6. St. Germain and Vivier were celebrated earlier this week with special interviews on CBC Radio One’s Up to speed with Faith Fundal, while an interview with The Watchmen can be heard live today at 4:35 p.m. CST. Tune into CBC Radio 89.3 FM and CBC Listen, and listen to all three interviews on demand here.

Each year, the Heritage Award is given to an individual who has made a significant contribution to the music industry during their career. The Kevin Walters Industry Builder Award is given to an individual who has made a significant impact on the music industry through mentorship, training and/or leadership. The Hall Of Fame award recognizes an artist/band each year who has had a significant impact on their career; traditionally awarded to an artist/music group from the host province.

See the full list of winners for the 2021 Western Canadian Music Awards, in both Artistic and Industry categories.

BreakOut West: Home Edition 2.0 launched on February 2n/a. Originally scheduled for Winnipeg, MB, February 2-6, the event moved to an online format due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Participants can continue to register for BreakOut West hereto participate in the conference until February 6and.

Born in 1940, Ray St. Germain grew up playing music and singing in St. Vital, a suburb of Winnipeg, Manitoba. He started out playing the accordion but switched to guitar as a teenager because he thought he looked silly jumping around on stage with an accordion. As a teenager, he performed across Canada, traveling with Hal Lone Pine, Betty Cody and their son, jazz legend Lenny Breau. During this time he played with greats like Johnny Cash, Porter Wagoner and Johnny Horton. Since then, his music has taken him all over the world, to places like Germany, Israel and Cyprus, as well as all over Canada. Throughout his career, Ray has appeared on over 500 television shows, including a 13-year-old Big Sky Country series. He toured the Armed Forces and visited 34 Indigenous communities. He won the Can-Pro Gold Award for Best Variety Television Show in 1978, he is a recipient of the Métis Order of the Sash from several Métis communities, he has won numerous awards from the Manitoba Academy of Country Music Arts Inc., including Top Recording Artist (1978), Artist of the Year (1978 and 1980), Best Male Vocalist and Best Song (1989), and he even received a Lifetime Achievement Award in 1986. Ray is well known for giving generously of his time and talent to many charitable causes and their telethons. He has won countless awards for his music throughout his career. In 1985 Ray received the Order of Native Peoples of Canada, and in 2013 he received the Order of Manitoba and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Aboriginal Peoples’ Choice Awards. In 2010 he was inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame. Ray was also a radio host/program manager at NCI FM on The Road Show and The Métis Hour x2. Ray is an icon of the Canadian music scene, but he never gave up on his Métis heritage. He built a legacy that continues to enrich not only Manitoba’s musical culture, but also the culture of one of the province’s founding peoples, the Métis. Ray had the honor of singing the national anthem at the Winnipeg Jets game on April 24, 2021, to officially open their WASAC night (Winnipeg Aboriginal Sport Achievement Center night). The evening is designed to celebrate Indigenous culture in Manitoba, which is why it was so fitting for Ray to be involved, as another leg of his journey, which has seen him share and promote his Métis and Indigenous culture.

Carole Vivier is a pioneer in Manitoba’s music industry. Executive Director and Film Commissioner of Manitoba Music and Film for 26 years, she has played a role in the success of countless artist and industry careers. Carole was inducted into the Manitoba Business Hall of Fame in 2012 and was a recipient of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, which is awarded to Canadians who have made a significant contribution to their community and country as a whole. In 2014, Carole was awarded the Order of Manitoba, the highest honor given for service to her province. In 2019, she was honored with the creation of the Carole Vivier Fellowship for Women in Film. Since 1992, Manitoba’s film and music sector has grown from an industry valued at $12 million to approximately $270 million. Much of this growth is related to the Manitoba tax credit, for which Carole has been an integral part of the policy. She was told that if she really wanted people to come to Manitoba, an incentive would be needed. She took that advice to heart and worked hard to get the attention of senior provincial government officials. Whenever an artist or film was recognized in a newspaper article, she sent it to them. Someone once said, “ok, you have our attention.” With the help of these senior officials and industry, the incentive was officially introduced in 1997 to create more opportunities for talent in the province, providing a 35% tax credit on all labor Manitoba workforce. Manitoba’s Film and Video Tax Credit program is the most competitive tax credit in the country. In addition to her past work at Manitoba Film and Music, Carole served as Co-Chair of the 2014 Host Committees for the JUNOS and BreakOut West Winnipeg. Carole is known around the world as an ambassador for Manitoba filmmakers, musicians, producers, creators and crews. Carole is a champion of independent artists in their early endeavors including Guy Maddin, The Weakerthans, Doc Walker, The Crash Test Dummies, Norma Bailey, Tanya Tagaq and many more. Today, it’s not uncommon, from Berlin to Los Angeles to Cannes, to meet people who have not only heard of Winnipeg, but are considering filming there or who know musicians there. All thanks to Carole’s tenacity, dedication and talent.

The Watchmen (Daniel Greaves, Ken Tizzard, Joey Serlin, Sammy Kohn) is a four-piece rock and roll band from Winnipeg, Manitoba. The band was discovered by producer, Chris Wardman, while playing at the Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto. Wardman offered to produce the band, and they released their debut album, McLaren Furnace Room, in 1992. The single, Rift, earned the group major play on rock stations, but was quickly eclipsed by the anti-domestic violence anthem, Run and hide, which became the band’s breakthrough hit. The band’s second album, In The Trees, was released in 1994. The record was a big hit, cementing their place in Canadian rock with the hit singles Boneyard Tree, all discovered and Lusitana. The album was certified Platinum in Canada after selling over 100,000 copies. Their 1996 album Brand New Day included singles Zoom, Incarnate and Shut your mouth, which earned the band their second JUNO nomination in 1997, for North Star Rock Album of the Year. 1998’s Silent Radar was the group’s return to commercial success, with the hit singles Stereo, any day now, A brighter hell and Say something. That fall, they won a MuchMusic Award for Best Use of New Technology, thanks to the inclusion of innovative web-based and CD-ROM features on the Silent Radar CD. In November 2003, the band decided to split up. However, they decided that before doing so, they would do one last short tour across Canada as a “thank you” to their fans. The farewell tour included nine concerts in six Canadian cities and one American city. In the fall of 2008, the “classic” lineup of Greaves, Serlin, Kohn and Tizzard announced a small reunion tour. In 2009, the band released two new songs on their website: Trampoline and miss monday morning. These have quickly become popular with fans during shows presented this spring and summer. The band are active with their fans via social media, sharing rare photos and even a full upload of a live broadcast from a performance in Australia. With all the excitement still surrounding them, The Watchmen continue to sell out across Canada year after year.

Comments are closed.