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The 2022 BCMA winners. Photo provided.

Ottawa’s Maurice Moore among Laureates of the 2022 Black Canadian Music Awards

By Jasmine van Schouwen on April 21, 2022




The SOCAN Foundation has announced the five recipients of the second annual SiriusXM Black Canadian Music Awards (BMCAs).

The 2022 BCMA winners. Photo provided.

The BCMAs were founded in 2021 to recognize and celebrate the artistic merit demonstrated by Black Canadian music creators who are bringing fresh sounds to the music industry. The 2022 award recipients, Falana, IDMAN, Jon VinylShopé, and Ottawa-born Maurice Moore, were selected from hundreds of applicants by a jury and advisory council made up of prominent Black artists and industry leaders. Each laureate was awarded $5,000 to support their career development.

Keziah Myers, Executive Director of ADVANCE Music Canada, co-founded the BCMAs in an effort to highlight and promote Black music creators. She says the idea of creating the awards came shortly after the death of George Floyd, an African American man who was murdered by police during an arrest in Minneapolis on May 25, 2020.

“It was definitely a catalyst year,” says Myers. “Musicians started to notice the lack of Black recognition within the music industry, especially in Canada. When we look at racialized and non-racialized creators and artists, there is a very obvious difference, in that one group has the opportunities that lead to the ability to make a living in the music industry. Without that opportunity, [racialized] artists are not actually able to reach their full potential.”

When we look at racialized and non-racialized creators and artists, there is a very obvious difference, in that one group has the opportunities that lead to the ability to make a living in the music industry.

Myers says the Canadian music industry’s failure to recognize and promote Black artists has a significant cultural cost. Since they lack the support needed to grow their audience in Canada, Black artists are forced to leave the country to find fame elsewhere. According to Myers, this is especially the case for Black artists whose musical genres are predominantly associated with white artists and audiences. “When a Black rock artist wants to showcase their work, that is not seen in the same light, it is not promoted in the same way,” says Myers. “That means they don’t necessarily have radio play, which results in less royalties, which means they don’t have the numbers for tours.”

Through the BCMAs and her work at ADVANCE Music Canada, Myers hopes to see more Black artists and professionals in leadership positions in the Canadian music industry. “There is a direct correlation between the lens at a label’s boardroom table and the artists and creators that are signed to the label,” she says. “Awards like the BCMAs highlight Black artists and industry music professionals. They signal to the entire industry that they need to get behind these Black creators, because they are going to be the next big thing.”

And the rising stars highlighted by this year’s BCMAs are, without a doubt, “the next big thing.” Among the five 2022 laureates is Ottawa-born vocalist, songwriter, and producer Maurice Moore. Since releasing his first single in 2015, Moore has been making his mark, releasing viral singles and mixtapes and writing songs for some of the biggest names in the music industry, from H.E.R., Justine Skye, and Zara Larsson, all the way to K-pop royalty EXO and NCT dream. Moore’s smooth vocal tones, powerful and introspective storytelling, and careful production combine to create a warm, familiar, but undeniably modern sound.

Maurice Moore. Photo provided.

“It’s pretty amazing to be recognized like this,” says Moore, who spoke to Apt613 from his Los Angeles home. “It feels like I’m being seen, I’m being heard. I have so much that I want to say and so much that I want to offer to the world with my music. I’m really excited for everything that’s coming next.”

Like many Black Canadian artists, Moore felt he needed to leave Ottawa to pursue his music career. “Ever since I was a little kid, everyone was saying ‘Man, we got to get out of here.’ We always knew that we couldn’t stay there forever. There weren’t enough opportunities for us to really grow and get to know ourselves.”

Moore believes initiatives like the BCMAs can help build Black artists’ trust in the Canadian music industry’s ability to help them reach their full potential. “Awards like this let us know that we have support in Canada. And we do. Canada has been very supportive of my career when it comes to grants and funding opportunities.”

But Moore also emphasizes that pursuing opportunities abroad does not necessarily mean leaving Canada behind: “I think it’s cool if artists go to the States and try to get their name buzzing out there because you know, at the end of the day, we’re still representing home. I really wave the flag of Ottawa everywhere I go. I never say I’m from Toronto or Montreal to sound cooler. I have to represent where I’m from.”

Leading by example, Moore has kept Ottawa in his heart and his sound. His music is deeply rooted in the genre-defying style that he sees as the signature of Ottawa’s musical landscape. “It’s so obvious that I’m from Ottawa when you listen to a Maurice Moore album,” he says with a chuckle. “People from Ottawa just mix things and start new genres. They’ll mix dancehall with a ballad. They’re so embracing of different styles and different mindsets of music. It’s one of the beautiful things about Ottawa that I’ve always appreciated.”

Applications for the 2023 BCMAs are open now until October 15, 2022. To be considered, apply by completing their online form here.