Fri. Jul 19th, 2024

In Canada: Allison Russell Named Billboard Canada Women in Music Breakthrough Artist of the Year

In Canada: Allison Russell Named Billboard Canada Women in Music Breakthrough Artist of the Year

It was a special Juneteenth for Allison Russell.

Not only did she serve as the special Toronto opener for Sarah McLachlan on the Canadian icon’s Fumbling Towards Ecstasy 30th-anniversary tour, but she earned another big honor: Billboard Canada Women In Music Breakthrough Artist of the Year. 

“It’s an honor to be acknowledged for the work that I’m doing and that we’re all doing together,” said the singer-songwriter when she was presented with the award in an interview with iHeartRadio Pure Country host Shannon Ella on Wednesday (June 19).


“There’s still such an imbalance in our industry, and it’s [an important moment] to be here speaking with you on Juneteenth [the holiday commemorating the end of slavery in America], which is a significant date because I’m not just a woman, I’m a queer Black woman,” she says.

Born and raised in Montreal but living and working in Nashville, Allison Russell has been an advocate for LGBTQ+ rights and a vital voice for the representation of Black women in country, roots and Americana music. As her platform has gotten bigger, she’s used it to benefit her whole community. 

And it has gotten much bigger. This year, Russell won her first Grammy for best American roots performance for her song “Eve Was Black” and performed at the ceremony, playing clarinet and singing with none other than Joni Mitchell. She also made her Billboard Hot 100 debut with “Wildflower and Barley,” a duet with Hozier, who she’s also been touring with. 

On those big stages, she’s usually playing with The Rainbow Coalition Band — a talented ensemble of Black and POC, queer and historically marginalized musicians.

“I make a point of playing with all women and gender-diverse folks on stage,” Russell says. “I do that because there is such an imbalance. It’s still a remarkable, unusual thing. No one says it’s so crazy that it’s just a bunch of dudes up there.”

More winners will be announced over the summer, culminating with the Billboard Canada Women In Music celebration on September 7. – Richard Trapunski

Read more from the interview at

Music Publishers Canada Names 2024 Women in the Studio National Accelerator Class

There’s a gender imbalance behind the scenes in Canadian music, and Music Publishers Canada (MPC)’s Women in the Studio National Accelerator aims to address it.

Recently released statistics have confirmed the major gender gap that exists in multiple facets of the Canadian music industry, and this is especially glaring in the field of music production.

The Women In The Studio program fosters professional growth and advancement of talented producer-songwriters from across Canada. MPC has announced all six participants for this year’s program: Alysha Brilla from Toronto, Cat Hiltz from Vancouver, Charmie from Toronto, Jinting (Jinting Zhao) from Edmonton, JoJo Worthington from Montreal and Samantha Selci from Toronto.

Now in its sixth year, the program offers participants a series of curated workshops, skills training and networking opportunities with music industry leaders. The goal is to equip them with skills and connections crucial for their advancement in the music industry.

The accelerator will run virtually from June to December and include creative collaborations and an in-person residency week in Toronto in August. It focuses on topics including technical skills, financial literacy, music business skills and branding. Participants have also committed to exploring volunteer opportunities within their own communities.

Music Publishers Canada CEO Margaret McGuffin said in a statement that “with the help of our program partners and industry network, we are looking forward to breaking down some of the barriers that exist for this group of talented producers and give them the support they need to enter the next phase of their careers.” – Kerry Doole

Country Singer Bayker Blankenship Debuts on Billboard Canadian Hot 100 With ‘Maxed Out’

A new country artist is making his mark on the Billboard Canadian Hot 100 this week.

Bayker Blankenship of Livingston, Tenn., has landed on the chart for the first time with “Maxed Out,” a melancholy tune about being down on your luck and low on available credit. With a relaxed pace and a touch of grit in Blankenship’s voice, the song strikes a poignant tone.

The song has been gaining steam online, appearing on Spotify’s Viral 50 USA playlist as well as charting on Billboard‘s Hot Country Songs and Hot Rock & Alternative Songs charts, though it hasn’t hit the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 yet. But that doesn’t mean it won’t soon — another viral artist, Lay Bankz, hit the Canadian Hot 100 earlier this year before she landed on its U.S. counterpart.

The song is only Blankenship’s second single, following 2021’s “Can’t Get Enough,” but the singer has built an impressive following online. He boasts nearly half a million followers on TikTok, where he posts his song clips as well as covers of songs by country stars like Zach Bryan and Dylan Gossett. Blankenship, who is releasing with Santa Anna Label Group, could join their ranks soon if he can keep up the momentum.

Meanwhile, breakout country singer Shaboozey‘s “A Bar Song (Tipsy)” retakes the top spot on the Canadian Hot 100 this week. The Beyoncé collaborator has hit No. 1 in Canada, which he has yet to do on the American Hot 100. – Rosie Long Decter

By Michael

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