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The Juno Awards Adds New Category, Focusing On Representation And Accessibility

Since adding the category “Underground Dance Single of the year” in 2021, recognition of the underground dance roots in marginalized communities continues to rise for the Canadian Juno awards.


This new category focuses on subgenres including techno, underground house, dubstep and bass, organic house, electro classic, Detroit/modern, soul, funk, disco and Afro-house, according to an article written by the Canadian Press.


“It’s important to create awareness around because the more people hear about it then people will want to submit their music - because now we’re available to have every kind of artist possible in electronic music to submit their work,” said Joanne Hill also known as artist Sydney Blu, electronic producer, and Underground Dance Music Advisory Committee Co-Chair for the Juno's.


Joanne explained during a phone interview of how this category came to be at the Juno awards.


Hill said in 2018 she got together with a group of well-known, acclaimed underground dance artists and entertainment lawyers.


Sydney Blu, courtesy of Facebook.Photo of Sydney Blu, courtesy of Facebook.


The group then organized a campaign for this important musical category with a proposal to CARAS and Allen Reid, President of the Juno’s, gathering 200 plus letters.


Part of the goal was and is to recognize underrepresented underground artists and genres, opposed to the commercialized genres and pop singles that are commonly nominated throughout the Juno's previous award shows.


“It was interesting because all that was submitted, nominated, and won over the years had been really commercial dance type records,” Hill said.


“And that's really difficult to put that kind of music upside by side with an underground record as you know, because there's totally different qualities between the two records,” she said.


This year’s winner for the Underground Dance Single is Greg Gow, a techno electronic music DJ, creative, and Toronto musical legend. Gow’s smashing single called, “I Knew Techo,” deservingly won for the award.


“The last week of January someone reached out from the promotions department and said would you like to come to the nominees meeting for the Juno artists, I said yes and so I went, and then I was nominated – I was happy to be there,” said Gow.


Greg Gow, courtesy of Greg Gow's media kitPhoto of Greg Gow, courtesy of Greg Gow's media kit.



Gow also said during an interview that because he primarily does techno, he’s appreciative that the Juno’s recognized even more underground areas of electronic music, such as techno.


“This is a super new category and it’s great to see that the Junos have recognized Canadian electronic artists,” said Gow.


The Canadian Juno’s also announced two categories, contemporary indigenous artist and indigenous traditional artist, this year according to an article written by the Canadian Press.


“In regards to the specific category like indigenous, it's important and it made sense because you've got indigenous traditional music and then you've got Indigenous artists making music - and then same with hip hop categories as well,” Joanne Hill said.


Hill also said during a phone interview that the Juno’s are putting forth more effort for representation and accessibility in Canadian music.


She also said TD bank partnered with the Juno’s and provided funding to help artists who are BIPOC, LGBTQ, disabled, or from an underrepresented community to cover the costs of a category submission to the Juno nominations.


This provides more accessibility for underrepresented artists in Canada to be recognized for their musical talents, skills, and hard work.


The appreciation for all musical award shows is shared globally. However, the Canadian underground dance music scene's genres and subgenres are deservingly recognized for artists' talent and creativity. Canadian music will remain this way only getting better, with help from the Juno awards.


For more information about the Underground Dance Single of the year category, check out the Juno’s website at https://junoawards.ca/blog/underground-dance-is-getting-the-recognition-it-deserves/


Check out Sydney Blu's smash hit's on Youtube and Soundcloud. Check out Greg Gow's "I Knew Techno" and other smash hit's on Youtube and Soundcloud. 


Edited by Kavya Venkateshwaran


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